Reengineering an engineering course: How flipped classrooms afford transformative teaching, learning, and workplace competency

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Funding year: 
2014
Duration:
2 years
Organisation: 
University of Waikato
Sector: 
Post school sector
Project start date: 
January 2015
Project end date: 
March 2017
Principal investigator(s): 
Dr. Mira Peter and Dr Elaine Khoo
Research team members: 
Professor Jonathan Scott, Associate Professor Howell Round, Professor Bronwen Cowie
Research partners: 
Researcher/Practioner partners: Professor Jonathan Scott, Associate Professor Howell Round

Project description

The researchers collaborated with lecturers teaching a mandatory first-year electronic engineering class to develop a flipped classroom model of teaching and learning and to explore how this approach can enhance student learning of conceptually difficult, threshold concepts and non-technical skills needed for real life work.

Aims

The flipped classroom is a student-centered educational approach in which lecturer-student contact time is devoted to student problem-solving and addressing students’ misconceptions, thus changing the traditional role of the lecturer and fostering more active student learning. The project aimed to: (1) examine how a flipped classroom model of teaching impacts on lecturers’ teaching of threshold concepts, (2) explore the value of the flipped model and its associated strategies for student learning, and (3) examine if and how student learning in a flipped classroom can support the development of workplace competencies.

Why is this research important?

Successful engineering graduates need to have a flexible understanding of engineering principles and practices and to be able to collaborate, communicate well, and work in contexts that can be risky and uncertain. It is crucial that tertiary educators develop curricula that enable students to develop these capacities and enhance student employability to ensure their contribution to New Zealand’s economic competitiveness and societal wellbeing. The research expectation was that a TC-based flipped class pedagogical approach would enhance students’ learning of TCs and development of non-technical skills necessary for engineering graduates now and in the future.

Key Findings

In our study student learning was supported by lecturers’ purpose-made and supplementary online videos, in-class mini-lectures, collaborative problem-solving tasks, online tutorials, continuous assessment, ‘drop-in’ tutorials, help from the lecturers and course demonstrators during in-class sessions, and the course Moodle forum for question and answer sessions. All of these resources together contributed to students’ learning and raised their achievement. Although no direct impact was seen on students’ workplace competency development, students saw the value of becoming aware of the value of non-technical skills (e.g., communication and teamwork) in their learning and becoming an engineer.

Implications for practice

Curriculum: To develop good educational materials lecturers need to re-examine the course and select what and how to present when developing materials and pedagogy tailored to their students’ needs. Progressive changes are an efficient way to develop the content and the format of the flipped course. Ensuring coherence, and making explicit connections between the course elements are important for student engagement, learning, and satisfaction. Flipped class combined with continuous assessment is an effective model to re-envision teaching and learning at the tertiary level.
Pedagogy: Flipping the class changes lecturers’ roles to that of a facilitator of learning. Including a variety of learning supports is essential to meet students’ various learning needs. To create short, educationally good quality videos they need to be based on the principles of effective cognitive models of learning and although expensive facilities and equipment are not required time and practice are important.
Student learning: Students’ changing role from passive to active learners is essential. For the success of the flipped class, especially for first-year students, getting student buy-in, motivating students’ timely video watching, and providing additional support for Q&A session is needed.
Institutional support: Institutions need to recognise and support lecturers efforts to develop and enhance their flipped teaching practice.

Our partners

  

From Left: Elaine Khoo; Jonathan Scott,  Mira Peter, Howell Round

Contact Details

Mira Peter
Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educational Research
Te Kura Toi Tangata Faculty of Education, The University of Waikato
Private Bag 3105, Hamilton, 3240.   Email: mpeter@waikato.ac.nz

Publications from the project

  • 2018 National FLANZ Award Award winner for best practice in e-learning, distance, open and flexible learning in New Zealand from the Flexible Learning Association NZ (FLANZ). See https://www.waikato.ac.nz/wmier/news-events/professor-jonathan-scott-and... and https://hail.to/flexiblelearningNZ/publication/KG6dKQ1/article/UDJY6Gz)
  • Khoo, E., Peter, M., Scott, J. & Round, H. (2018). Flipped classroom learning in a first-year undergraduate engineering course. In Proceedings of EdMedia: World Conference on Educational Media and Technology 2018 (pp. 1255-1260). Waynesville, NC: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).
  • Khoo, E., & Peter, M. (2017, November).Flipped teaching and flexible learning in an undergraduate engineering course. Paper presented at the New Zealand Association of Research in Education (NZARE2017), Hamilton, New Zealand.
  • Peter, M., Khoo, E., Scott, J., & Round, H. (2016). Learning threshold concepts in an undergraduate engineering flipped classroom. In N. Wright (Ed.), DEANZ 2016 proceedings: There and back again: Charting flexible pathways in open, mobile and distance education (pp.111–115). Hamilton: University of Waikato.
  • Scott, J., Khoo, E., Peter, M., & Howell, R. (2016, December). Flipped classroom learning in a large introductory undergraduate engineering course. In Proceedings of the 27th Australasian Association for Engineering Education (AAEE) conference Coffs Harbour, NSW, Australia.
  • Khoo, E., Peter, M., & Cowie, B. (2015). Re-engineering an engineering course: How flipped classrooms afford transformative teaching, learning, and workplace competency. Journal of Research in STEM Education, 1(1), 71–76. Retrieved from http://j-stem.net/wpcontent/uploads/2015/10/6_NZ.pdf
  • Khoo, E., Peter, M., & Scott, J. (2015). I could replay the videos: Evaluating the effectiveness of instructional videos in a threshold concept-based flipped classroom in electronic engineering. In A. Oo, A. Patel, T. Hilditch, & S. Chandran (Eds.), The proceedings of the 26th annual conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education (AAEE2015) (pp. 422–431). Melbourne, VA: Deakin University.
  • Khoo, E., Scott, J., Peter, M., & Round, H. (2015). Evaluating flipped classrooms with respect to threshold concepts learning in undergraduate engineering. In Frontiers in Education (FIE2015): Launching a new vision in engineering education (pp. 738–741). Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers (IEEE), Piscataway, NJ.USA.

 

Presentations and workshops from the project

  • Khoo, E., & Scott, J. (2018). The flipped classroom. In Professional Development Workshops for the Lecturers from Hebei University of Science and Technology (HEBUST)University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand.
  • Khoo, E., & Peter, M. (2017, October). What happens when lecturers flip an engineering class? Paper presented at Faculty of Education Colloquium Day: New ideas, new theories, new faces, Hamilton, New Zealand.
  • Khoo, E., & Peter, M. (2017, November). Flipped/blended classrooms. Paper presented at Faculty of Education Professional Learning Day: Enhancing online learning and teaching: Sharing problems, pedagogies and practices, Hamilton, New Zealand.
  • Khoo, E., & Peter, M. (2017, November). Case Study: How we flipped an engineering classroom. Invited presentation at Digital Campus and Blended Learning Innovation: The New Era of Teaching and Learning conference, Auckland, New Zealand
  • Gilliver, C. (2016, February). Lights, camera, action: Flipping classes in electronics engineering education. Poster presented at the Summer Research Scholarship end function, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand.
  • Khoo, E. G. L., & Peter, M. (2016, November 14). Flipping an engineering class. Teaching Network workshop on Flipped Teaching and Flexible Learning by Centre for Tertiary Teaching and Learning, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand.
  • Peter, M., & Khoo, E. (2016, August 16). The flipped classroom. Workshop presentation to academic visitors from Zhejiang University City College (ZUCC). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand.
  • Peter, M., Khoo, E., & Scott, J. (2015, August 11). The flipped classroom. Invited workshop presentation for a staff exchange programme with Zhejiang University City College (ZUCC) and Hebei University of Science and Technology (HEBUST), University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand.
  • Peter, M., Khoo, E., Scott, J., & Round, H. (2015, September 8–11). Reengineering an engineering course: How flipped classrooms afford transformative teaching, learning, and workplace competency. ECER2015 Education and Transition conference, Budapest, Hungary.
  • Peter, M., Khoo, E., Scott, J., Round, H., & Cowie, B. (2015, June 18). Reengineering an engineering course: How flipped classrooms afford transformative teaching, learning and workplace competency. Presented at the Digital Learning symposium, conference/workshop held in Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from http://www.waikato.ac.nz/wmier/news-events/digital-literacy-symposium
  • Peter, M., Khoo, E., Scott, J., Round, H., & Cowie, B. (2015, August 31–September 1). Reengineering an engineering course: How flipped classrooms afford transformative teaching, learning, and workplace competency. National Project Fund and Teaching & Learning Research Initiative Projects in Progress Colloquium V. Te Raukura—Te Wharewaka o Pàneke Function Centre, Wellington, New Zealand.
  • Scott, J. (2016, February). Recording video with a lightboard. Presentation at WCELfest16, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Available at http://coursecast.its.waikato.ac.nz/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=e001f57...
  • Scott, J., Gilliver, C., Peter, M., & Khoo, E. (2015, February 12). Easy over: A 3-week mid-semester trial flipping a practical paper. Presented at WCELfest2015, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Available at http://coursecast.its.waikato.ac.nz/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=f4e5f31...
  • Scott, J., Peter, M., & Khoo, E. (2015, May 20). Swapping is the new flipping: Preliminary impressions using video lectures in a large, hands-on class with threshold concept emphasis. Presented at TEMS ED Research Centre Fall Seminar Series, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand.