Discipline-Based Education Research Group


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Presentation & Abstract for DBER Group Discussion on 2016-04-07


Copyright © 2016 Jeyamkondan Subbiah


This study analyzed the role of the evidence-based instructional practice of Just-in-time (JIT) teaching integrated with the flipped classroom in an undergraduate biological systems engineering course. In the present paper we provide a detailed overview of the course design, development, and implementation of JIT in a flipped approach to instruction by communicating the technologies used, pedagogy employed to integrate online and in-class activities, and the collaboration between the instructional design support and instructor. Based on the results, we provide recommendations for engineering faculty that want to explore the flipped approach to teaching, examples for online learning activities and how to integrate them with clicker in-class active learning activities to increase student engagement and success rates. The flipped classroom is a form of blended learning where the lecture is moved outside the classroom with the help of technology and learning activities occur inside the classroom. Thus, in-class time can be devoted to active learning through exercises, projects, and discussions that engage students in higher-order cognitive skills.

The flipped classroom has been successfully incorporated into various STEM classrooms (Gannod et al. 2008; Moravec et al. 2010; Talbert 2012). In fact, recently, engineers with an educational research interest have taken notice of the recently popularized, theoretically grounded, concept of flipping the classroom and have been successfully implementing it in their courses (Bishop and Verleger 2013; Bland 2006; Nelson 2015; Toto 2009). However, as the research on flipped instruction in engineering gains momentum, it is essential to understand how specific instructional strategies effect students’ learning and perceptions. In this study, we took a close look at the JIT strategy using iClickers to better understand its use and effects on students’ learning and perceptions of the course.

The instructional challenges that we sought out to address were a.) the diverse group of students (Agricultural Engineering and Biological Systems Engineering Biological Systems Engineering) needed different paces of learning, b) both groups of students had different interests in course modules of the course, c.) to increase student engagement, students were typically reluctant to speak in the classroom, and d.) class time was short did not allow for high levels of student engagement.

In terms of the flipped element, students began each week watching online annotated video lectures created by the instructor on a surface pro computer and hosted on the university’s learning management system Blackboard followed by an online quiz. Then, the instructor would review students’ performance and begin each class with the questions that students struggled with the most using iClickers. In terms of the JIT element, the instructor would then adapt his instruction to include a brief summary, overview, or peer-to- peer instruction to enhance students’ understanding of the concepts presented in the online lectures.

The results of this study demonstrated the success in combining JIT and the Flipped approach. More specifically, this approach allowed for more classroom time to solve real-world problems through active student engagement in discussions. Just-in-time teaching allowed the instructor to spend dedicated time on unclear and important concept where students needed help the most. Finally, Peer-instruction enhanced student engagement in the class. A t-test analysis comparing students’ performance on the online quizzes and the in-class iClicker questions demonstrated students’ increased performance post peer discussions and instructor dedicated time on topics.

The presentation slides are by Tareq Daher, Jiajia Chen, David Jones, as well as Jeyam Subbiah.