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Flipping Engineering Courses: A School Wide Initiative

Clark, Renee M. and Besterfield-Sacre, Mary and Budny, Daniel and Bursic., Karen M. and Clark, William W. and Norman, Bryan A. and Parker, Robert S. and Patzer, John F. and Slaughter, William S. (2016) Flipping Engineering Courses: A School Wide Initiative. Advances in Engineering Education, 5 (3). pp. 1-39. ISSN EISSN-1941-1766

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In the 2013-2014 school year, we implemented the "flipped classroom" as part of an initiative to drive active learning, student engagement and enhanced learning in our school. The flipped courses consisted of freshman through senior engineering classes in introductory programming, statics/mechanics, mechanical design, bio-thermodynamics, facilities layout/material handling, and chemical engineering dynamics and modeling. In the flipped classroom, students watch video lectures beforehand to obtain the foundational knowledge and then demonstrate skills during class. Our study set out to address the following research questions: (1) Does the flipped classroom promote student engagement during class, and does it positively impact the classroom environment? (2) Is the flipped classroom associated with increased student achievement and learning of content? and (3) What strengths, benefits, and drawbacks do students perceive with the flipped classroom? To address these, we used a mixed methods approach, including environment and evaluation surveys, instructor interviews, exam and homework results, video access data, and structured classroom observation. Based on our use of the College and University Classroom Environment Inventory (CUCEI), we found evidence that flipped instruction can positively impact the classroom environment. We also used a behavioral observation protocol--the Teaching Dimensions Observation Protocol (TDOP)--to assess student engagement and involvement during class. We compared our results to a national TDOP study of 58 lecture-based STEM classrooms, formally demonstrating the advantages of our flipped classrooms. Behaviors such as student discussion and questions and problem solving were significantly higher in our flipped classrooms (p< 0.0001). Our pre-flip versus flip exam and homework results were mixed from a statistical improvement standpoint. However, based on instructor interviews we noted enhanced higher-order skills such as problem solving and deeper engagement and proficiency in some courses and with some students. Unfortunately, we encountered challenges with our freshman and seniors. The great majority of freshmen did not use the videos for first-time instruction. The seniors expressed resistance to and dissatisfaction with this instructional change. Both freshmen and seniors rated their classroom environments statistically lower than the sophomores and juniors did. We uncovered other instances in the literature of these challenges. Nonetheless, we believe that flipped instruction is a valuable approach for promoting engagement and learning. We discuss lessons learned, including the need to educate students about the expectations of the flipped classroom.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Clark, Renee
Bursic., Karen M.kbursic@pitt.edu0000-0003-1438-9072
Clark, William
Norman, Bryan
Parker, Robert
Patzer, John
Slaughter, William
Date: 2016
Journal or Publication Title: Advances in Engineering Education
Volume: 5
Number: 3
Publisher: American Society for Engineering Education
Page Range: pp. 1-39
Schools and Programs: Swanson School of Engineering > Civil and Environmental Engineering
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Engineering Education, Technology Uses in Education, Educational Technology, Homework, Video Technology, Learner Engagement, Classroom Environment, Academic Achievement, Teaching Methods, Student Attitudes, Mixed Methods Research, Surveys, Interviews, Tests, Observation, STEM Education, Lecture Method, Comparative Analysis, Teacher Attitudes, Blended Learning, Classroom Observation Techniques
ISSN: EISSN-1941-1766
Official URL:
Article Type: Research Article
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2021 14:00
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2021 14:00


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