Effects of alternative course design and instructional methods in the engineering classroom

Lindy Hamilton Mayled, Lydia Ross, Casey Jane Ankeny, Jay Oswald

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This work-in-progress paper reports on the effects of alternative course design and instructional methods in the engineering classroom. The primary method of delivery in undergraduate engineering classrooms remains the traditional lecture format, or teacher-centered instruction, despite evidence that active learning, or student-centered teaching practices, are significantly more effective. Catalyzed by the overwhelming research support for more active learning methods and the promise for creating these opportunities through alternative course models, there has been a more recent shift towards experimentation in delivery and course structure, including strategies such as flipping course content. Flipped course design allows instructors to maintain delivery of critical theoretical and background information by presenting this material to the students outside of formal classroom time, thus preserving time in-class for more active learning and problem-based activities. The flipped learning course design continues to gain popularity in engineering education; however, large-scale quantitative statistical analysis of student outcomes and achievement in courses taught simultaneously through alternative course designs remains limited. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of these varied instructional methods by investigating the student achievement outcomes of engineering students enrolled in the same course taught through three different instructional models. The study also aims to assess more specific flipped course design components (video lectures) on student outcomes as well as to evaluate the data through the context of the Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) and Constructivist theoretical models. Beginning in the fall of 2018, a 200-level mechanical/aerospace course, Statics, was taught by three different faculty members at a large university in the Southwest. Each of these sections were taught in different ways: (a) traditional lecture format, (b) flipped style classroom, and (c) mixed version, which utilized videos created for the flipped classroom as supplemental material but delivered course content primarily through lecture style. Student-level data were collected for all three of the Statics sections of interest in this study. Data were analyzed to determine if students enrolled in flipped or mixed sections experienced improved achievement outcomes greater than their traditional-lecture peers. Initial data showed that the mixed course design had the greatest impact on student achievement as measured by grade distribution, DEW rates, and student performance on class assignments, quizzes, and exams. The flipped and mixed courses were associated with greater improvement for DEW rates, in comparison to the traditional lecture course. Additional data analysis may provide further insight into how specific flipped delivery components, such as video lectures, impact student achievement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 15 2019
Event126th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Charged Up for the Next 125 Years, ASEE 2019 - Tampa, United States
Duration: Jun 15 2019Jun 19 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


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