Applications and outcomes of a flipped classroom in an engineering setting continue to be limited despite recognized advantages including positive gains in problem-solving skills, conceptual understanding, student retention, and student satisfaction. This paper focuses on the implementation of a flipped classroom for an undergraduate biomedical engineering introductory biomechanics course. To flip the classroom, content videos were created by teaching assistants (TAs) to provide a fist exposure to content material. Students were asked to watch videos prior to coming to class while in-class time was dedicated to practice and feedback via problem solving. With content disseminated in videos, valuable in-class time was spent utilizing team-based learning to solve problems in small groups of two to four based on self-selected seating arrangements.
A unique aspect of this course was the amount of input, participation, and leadership provided by a team of four graduate student TAs. With the guidance of an experienced faculty member, TAs recorded video lectures, prepared and led in-class and lab-based sessions, and created online homework assessments that could be automatically graded by the online course management system.
Successful implementation of a flipped classroom model was achieved and although challenges were encountered, the success of the course was based on course evaluations, student and teaching assistant feedback, and improvements in biomechanics related knowledge as assessed by concept inventory assessments. Knowledge acquisition over the course of the semester was demonstrated by a 38% gain score demonstrating increased knowledge using the Biomechanics Concept Inventory Version 3.
Although students reported mixed feedback for instructors and the course as a whole, primarily positive feedback was provided for the evaluation of the TAs participation in this course. Increased participation from TAs provided benefits including: improved participation and communication from students, appropriate integration of course content in regards to prerequisite knowledge and subsequent course follow-up, and efficient use of technology and online course management. In addition, TAs benefited immensely from added responsibilities including increasing their in-depth knowledge in the field of biomechanics and improving their teaching skills applicable to their future careers.
The purpose of this paper was to discuss the effectiveness of a flipped course model for both undergraduate students and graduate student instructors. The results may serve as a guide to encourage engineering educators to implement a flipped classroom for the benefit of all, including undergraduate students, graduate students, and the instructor of record.
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