Adaptive learning improves the flipped classroom

A two-year exploratory study conducted at the University of South Florida, and evaluated and assessed by the University of Pittsburgh, studied the effect of using adaptive lessons in improving pre-class learning in a flipped classroom.

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This material is based upon work supported partially by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number 1609637. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Fulbright Specialist Diary: Day 5

Day 5 – Thursday, July 12, 2018

The day started early as I facilitated a workshop on flipped learning.

Workshop Title: Flipped Learning

Workshop Description: With computers, being affordable, smartphones becoming ubiquitous and internet available at low cost, flipped learning is becoming more popular as pedagogy. Flipped classrooms take the transmission of content from the classroom to home and the assimilation of the content at home to the classroom. In this workshop, we will discuss the differences between traditional, blended and flipped learning, the tools and techniques used to teach a flipped classroom, the challenges and opportunities of teaching a flipped classroom, and the evidence or lack thereof of the effectiveness of flipped classrooms in higher education. The presenter has taught partially- and fully-flipped and blended classes, and will present the personal lessons learned in the process. The audience will be then be engaged in a discussion on how they would teach a flipped class.


Photo: Participants of the flipped learning workshop.  Taking them through Bloom’s taxonomy without the pyramid and hierarchy. 

UTP is ahead of its times by having CeTAL, a center of excellence for teaching and learning on its campus.  They have a building of their own with several meeting rooms around a circular lobby.  The meeting rooms are set up in a workshop style with tables that are round.  The facilitator can be anywhere in the room and TV displays are set up on all sides.  The layout of the room was impressive and not found in most universities including my own.  There were about 20 participants and they asked highly categorical questions.  They also contributed to the discussion through several reflection exercises and introduced me to tools that I was not aware of – webclicker, etc.


Photo: CeTAL – the center of excellence of teaching and learning at UTP, Malaysia

The workshop was followed by lunch sponsored by CeTAL UTP.  I talked to several faculty members at the table and they shared how they are using evidence-based practices in the classroom including active learning, flipped classrooms, and metacognition.  I found out that UTP has a part of its annual faculty evaluation index dedicated to the use of evidence-based techniques in teaching courses.  The faculty member has to demonstrate that they have used these techniques through self-reporting and evidence. New faculty members are observed in the classroom so that they can be provided with feedback and suggestions for improving their teaching techniques.

In the afternoon, I concluded the short course on composite materials.  Using only the whiteboard to explain the macromechanics of composite materials resulted in several interactive discussions on the use of principal stresses, the transformation of stresses and use of failure theories.  At the end of the class, we took a group photograph where they are demonstrating cross-ply laminates (plies at zero and ninety-degree angles).

IMG_4035.JPGPhoto: Composites short-course graduate student participants pose for a picture at UTP, Malaysia. The hands depict a cross-ply laminate. 


This material is based upon work supported by the Fulbright Specialist Grant and the products of the National Science Foundation Grants# 0126793, 0341468, 0717624,  0836981, 0836916, 0836805, 1322586, 1609637.  Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation or the Fulbright Program.

A Grant to Study Flipped (Inverted) Classrooms

I will be leading a 4-institution team (USF, AAMU, ASU and Univ of Pitt) to improve and assess student learning in an inverted STEM classroom setting.  This is a 3-year study funded by National Science Foundation, and we will compare a hybrid classroom to the flipped classroom for a course in Numerical Methods.

Summary: Numerical methods are taught by many engineering disciplines throughout the nation and therefore more engaging and effective teaching of these methods could result in better prepared engineering graduates. When teaching numerical methods it is critical to cover not only theoretical concepts required for algorithm development and selection but also the precise language of computer programming required for algorithm implementation. This project is evaluating the efficacy of using an inverted classroom methodology to teach these diverse concepts.

Results from this project will include on-line materials that encourage and support use of active in-class pedagogical methods and assessments of these materials and methods. These results will inform the education community regarding the efficacy of teaching numerical methods using an Inverted classroom methodology. The materials will be readily available to engineering departments nationally and assessment results will help faculty better understand what aspects of numerical methods can be taught using an inverted methodology and also will give them the resources needed to teach in similar ways.

Multiple universities with diverse student populations are implementing the methods and materials of this project. Assessment and evaluation is performed by another university not affiliated with the implementers; therefore, evaluation is independent of the instructors. Evaluation of student performance is partially being assessed using a numerical methods concept inventory which is being developed by the program.

Successful results in this research could transform the way engineering programs teach numerical methods nationally.


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