Assessing the effectiveness of a flipped classroom in foundation engineering
About the project
The ‘flipped classroom’ is an innovative approach to teaching that encourages students to engage with the course content before coming to class. Despite the significant distinction from traditional lecture-based teaching, the flipped classroom method has shown positive outcomes in tertiary education settings.
This study aimed to investigate student experience and ongoing success after a flipped classroom approach to learning dynamics in an undergraduate engineering programme. The study determined that students were generally positive about the approach. Students’ perceptions were divided into two categories - perceptions of teaching and perceptions of learning.
In addition to student perceptions, the analysis assessed the ongoing academic performance of students from a flipped classroom in a follow-on course. The findings indicated that the performance of students who undertook the foundational class using a flipped teaching approach achieved similar academic outcomes in the follow-on course to those that undertook the foundational class using traditional methods. While ongoing academic performance is a very important metric for assessing educational success of foundational classes, the student impression and experience is also critically important to consider during the design of educational policy.
Recommendations for teaching and learning
Recommendations for lecturers
Quality materials development and provision – high quality videos must be produced on time for students to remain engaged in the course.
Lecturer attitude – a positive lecturer approach to students’ potential to learn is essential.
Student preparation – students need to be well prepared for the flipped approach. Most students have never experienced similar teaching approaches in the past. It should not be assumed that students have the maturity to effectively manage their time for effective self-paced learning.
Recommendations for students
Student preparedness - students themselves need to be prepared for the flipped classroom. Students in this study recognised the considerable difference to other approaches, and the need to adapt.
Receptivity to approach – students’ receptiveness to the alternative strategy and active engagement with peers and lecturer is critical to efficient learning in the flipped classroom. Students recognised the benefit of interacting with the lecturer and peers in the workshop and in some cases, while engaging with the videos.
Time management – flipped classroom students must develop time management strategies and be self-disciplined to ensure materials are engaged with in a timely manner.
Impacts of research
Impact on learners – the qualitative analysis of this research indicated that the application of the flipped classroom had significant benefit in terms of student experience. However, the quantitative analysis showed that the approach had little ongoing effect on the academic performance of the students. The overall outcomes have shown that there is benefit in the flipped approach. The approach will continue to be used in this class. Recommendations from the study have led to small scale uptake of the approach in other engineering classes at the University of Canterbury, in particular for small modules within courses.
Impact on the teacher – the lecturer of the flipped classroom has a more in-depth understanding of pedagogy as a result of facilitating the flipped classroom. Ultimately, it has provided an ongoing resource for teaching and learning that becomes increasingly efficient in terms of lecturer effort for each iteration of the class. The critical analysis of the approach used will lead to improvements in the facilitation of the course. In particular, the lecturer is more empowered to provide the students with detailed recommendations for successful engagement with the methodology.
- Dr Paul Docherty (team leader)
- Dr Wendy Fox-Turnbull
- Ms Pinelopi Zaka
- Ako Aotearoa $9,550 (excl. GST)
- University of Canterbury $10,438 (excl. GST)
Project commenced: Mid 2016
Project completed: Mid 2017
Docherty, P.D., Fox-Turnbull, W. H. & Zaka, P. (2017). Assessing the effectiveness of a flipped classroom in foundational engineering dynamics – report. Wellington: Ako Aotearoa National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence.
Docherty, P.D., Fox-Turnbull, W.H. & Zaka, P. (2017). Development of a flipped classroom approach for teaching foundational engineering dynamics. Technology Education New Zealand (TENZ) conference and the 12th biannual International Conference on Technology Education (ICTE) 2017 Christchurch, New Zealand. (8-11 October).
Docherty, P., Fox-Turnbull, W. & Zaka, P. (2016). Assessing the effectiveness of a flipped classroom in foundation engineering. Presentation at Ako Aotearoa Southern Hub Projects Colloquium IV, Christchurch. (14 November).
Docherty, P.D., Zaka, P. & Fox-Turnbull, W.H.(2016). Instructor impressions of a flipped classroom environment for foundational engineering dynamics. Distance Education Association of New Zealand (DEANZ) conference Hamilton, New Zealand. (17-20 April).
Outputs in review
Docherty, P.D., Zaka, P. & Fox-Turnbull, W.H (2017). A quantitative analysis of the short-term and mid-term benefit of a flipped classroom for foundational engineering dynamics. IEEE Trans. Educ.(In review).
Fox-Turnbull, W.H., Docherty, P.D.& Zaka, P.A.(2017). Engineering Students' Views of a Flipped Classroom Approach to Learning. Journal of Technology, Pedagogy and Education. (In review).
Zaka, P.A., Fox-Turnbull, W.H, & Docherty, P.D.(2017). Student perspectives of independent and collaborative learning in a flipped foundational engineering course. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology. (In review)
|This report from this project is published under the Creative Commons 3.0 New Zealand Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike Licence (BY-NC-SA). Under this licence you are free to copy, distribute, display and perform the work as well as to remix, tweak, and build upon this work noncommercially, as long as you credit the author/s and license your new creations under the identical terms.|