Date of Award:

2013

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Engineering and Technology Education

Advisor/Chair:

Gilberto E. Urroz

Abstract

Recent advances in technology and ideology have unlocked entirely new directions for education research. Mounting pressure from increasing tuition costs and free, online course offerings are opening discussion and catalyzing change in the physical classroom. The flipped classroom is at the center of this discussion. The flipped classroom is a new pedagogical method, which employs asynchronous video lectures, practice problems as homework, and active, group-based problem-solving activities in the classroom. It represents a unique combination of learning theories once thought to be incompatible—active, problem-based learning activities founded upon constructivist schema and instructional lectures derived from direct instruction methods founded upon behaviorist principles. The primary reason for examining this teaching method is that it holds the promise of delivering the best from both worlds. A controlled study of a sophomore-level numerical methods course was conducted using video lectures and model-eliciting activities (MEAs) in one section (treatment) and traditional group lecture-based teaching in the other (comparison). This study compared knowledge-based outcomes on two dimensions: conceptual understanding and conventional problem-solving ability. Homework and unit exams were used to assess conventional problem-solving ability, while quizzes and a conceptual test were used to measure conceptual understanding. There was no difference between sections on conceptual under- standing as measured by quizzes and concept test scores. The difference between average exam scores was also not significant. However, homework scores were significantly lower by 15.5 percentage points (out of 100), which was equivalent to an effect size of 0.70. This difference appears to be due to the fact that students in the MEA/video lecture section had a higher workload than students in the comparison section and consequently neglected to do some of the homework because it was not heavily weighted in the final course grade. A comparison of student evaluations across the sections of this course revealed that perceptions were significantly lower for the MEA/video lecture section on 3 items (out of 18). Based on student feedback, it is recommended that future implementations ensure tighter integration between MEAs and other required course assignments. This could involve using a higher number of shorter MEAs and more focus on the early introduction of MEAs to students.