Designing and Evaluating a Flipped Signals and Systems Course
Paper in proceedings, 2015
Traditional lectures have long been criticised for making students passive listeners instead of active participants. In spite of many strong arguments in favour of active learning most engineering courses are still based on lectures that only contain few elements of active learning. In flipped classroom teaching, traditional lectures are replaced by a combination of 1) on-line videos to be watched at home before the class and 2) classes dedicated almost entirely to active learning. A key advantage with the flipped classroom is that students can engage with the material at their own pace prior to the class such that class time can be dedicated to higher-level cognitive learning. However, even though the flipped classroom has received considerable attention over the past decade there are relatively few studies evaluating this pedagogical method in engineering education.
In this case study, we report on the implementation and evaluation of the flipped classroom approach in a master's course on sensor fusion and nonlinear filtering at Chalmers. The course design was inspired by the 5E model (Bybee et al., 2006) in that we used the videos for engagement, exploration and explanation whereas the classroom sessions focused on elaboration and evaluation. The students’ perceptions of the flipped classroom approach were probed through a survey containing both closed and open-ended questions. The vast majority of the students were either positive or very positive to the flipped classroom approach. For instance, 74% of the students strongly agreed with the statement that flipped classroom teaching leads to improved learning, 96 % stated that they preferred video lectures with quizzes to live lectures, and 87 % found the practice sessions useful. As the course contained both traditional lectures and flipped classes, we could compare how the two methods affected students’ learning.
From a teacher’s perspective, flipping the classroom was both extremely rewarding and very demanding. Flipping the lectures required a significant amount of work, but when the material was developed, teaching was more stimulating and less demanding than in a traditional course. Although it was challenging to design the problems for the practice sessions, these sessions were the most exciting and rewarding parts of the course.
collaborative problem solving
flipped classroom teaching