Implementing and Assessing a Flipped Classroom Model for First-Year Engineering Design

BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT

Faculty at Rice University are creating instructional resources to support teaching first-year engineering design using a flipped classroom model. This implementation of flipped pedagogy is unusual because content-driven, lecture courses are usually targeted for flipping, not project-based design courses that already incorporate an abundance of active learning. However, during the first five semesters in which first-year engineering design was offered at Rice, almost 30% of class time conformed to the traditional lecture model. In fall 2014 a partially flipped model that placed greater emphasis on higher levels of Bloom’s taxonomy during class time was introduced to facilitate student development in design topics. To achieve this goal, lecture time was replaced with in-class exercises that require students to analyze and evaluate design situations or problems, many of which were carefully crafted to expose common pitfalls that occur during the design process.

To date, the team has produced flipped classroom resources for ten modules of the engineering design process and professional skills: design criteria, user-defined scales, pairwise comparison charts, brainstorming, decomposition, morphological charts, Pugh screening matrix, Pugh scoring matrix, Gantt charts, and presenting a design proposal. Each module includes three components: topical videos, summative quizzes, and in-class exercises.

Work is ongoing to examine the impact of using a flipped classroom model in this first-year engineering design course. Two assessment methods have been deployed, and a third one is underway. One assessment method uses a pre- and post-course assignment to measure students’ application of the design process. A second method focuses on student exam scores. A direct comparison of student learning in the partially flipped model versus the lecture model shows no statistically significant differences, which is consistent with some implementations reported in the literature.

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Ann Saterbak

Ann Saterbak

Tracy Volz

Tracy Volz

Matthew Wettergreen

Matthew Wettergreen

 

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