Exploring University Students' Achievement, Motivation, and Receptivity of Flipped Learning in an Engineering Mathematics Course

Exploring University Students' Achievement, Motivation, and Receptivity of Flipped Learning in an Engineering Mathematics Course

Chih-Feng Chien (Chung Yuan Christian University, Taoyuan City, Taiwan) and Lin-Han Chiang Hsieh (Chung Yuan Christian University, Taoyuan City, Taiwan)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/IJOPCD.2018100102

Abstract

This article is aimed at exploring students' learning achievement, motivation, and receptivity towards the flipped classroom in a university engineering mathematics course with a quasi-experimental design. Moreover, the study compared a half-semester flipped classroom and a traditional classroom whereby the experimental class reverted to the traditional format after the midterm for assessing students' receptivity towards two learning environments. Four assessments, two surveys, repeated semi-structured interviews, and two sets of open-ended questions were collected. The findings revealed that student learning achievement and motivation were improved according to assessment scores by the application of the flipped classroom. However, student's receptivity towards flipping varied because of the large amount of time and effort spent on the course. Students in the experimental group also showed insignificant differences after returning to a traditional classroom. The study suggests that blended flipped and traditional programs are scheduled together to increase student receptivity.
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Introduction

The concept of student-centered learning has been emphasized over the past decade where students actively engaged in assigned tasks and collaborative learning, and been responsible for their own learning (Kim, Kim, Khera, & Getman, 2014). However, a teacher may face a number of challenges such as a variety of student background knowledge (Settlage & Wheatley, 2005), compressing course content due to limited class time (Yin & Qi, 2012), exam-oriented culture stemming from the university application process (Kirkpatrick & Zang, 2011), and students’ low tolerance for standard lecturing (Roehling, Kooi, Dykema, Quisenberry, & Vandlen, 2011). No matter the type of creative teaching strategy used, students’ achievement and motivation will be diminished when encountering high-stakes testing (Amrein & Berliner, 2003). This phenomenon also occurs in Taiwan due to its testing pressure, lack of educational resources and support, limited teaching time.

A flipped classroom is a strategy attempting to address the above-mentioned challenges by allowing students to repeatedly view technology-supported video lectures at home (Makarem, 2015; Moran & Milsom, 2015), and allocating more time for students to engage in student-centered active learning (Mason, Shuman, & Cook, 2013; Herreid & Schiller, 2013). Although an increasing number of studies about flipped classrooms have been published in recent years, the majority of studies describe the positive effects a flipped classroom has brought for students and teachers. However, the related literature is not comprehensive because some issues are rarely addressed. First, few studies discuss the disadvantages and challenges of flipped classrooms, such as technical issues and teaching materials modification (Roehl, Reddy, & Shannon, 2013). Second, according to our literature search, we could not locate any studies focusing on student receptivity towards different classroom settings in engineering mathematics courses. Third, there is limited discussion of how the flipped classroom can be implemented in engineering courses in higher education (Kerr, 2015).

The research rationale of our study is to apply a flipped-classroom strategy in a university-level engineering mathematics class. The purposes of the study are to address the aforementioned limitations by providing a quasi-experimental design with mixed-methods data collection and analyses. The study applies the FLIPPED model Chen, Wang, Kinshuk, and Chen (2014) developed to address the issues for a flipped engineering classroom in the college level because the theoretical framework was tailored to meet the higher education context.

In the study, three variables were investigated:

  • 1.

    Achievement: The formative and summative exams students performed in the engineering mathematics course;

  • 2.

    Motivation: Students’ intrinsic values, self-efficacy, cognitive strategy use, and self-regulation towards taking the engineering mathematics course;

  • 3.

    Receptivity: Students’ attitudes and behaviors towards taking the engineering mathematics course. According to Ajuwon, Sarraj, Griffin-Shirley, Lechtenberger, and Zhou (2015), the emotional expressions are considered as receptivity, such as enthusiasm, interests, acceptance, and feeling.

Based on the research rationale, the research questions are as follows:

  • 1.

    Did students in a university-level flipped engineering math course perform better than those in a traditional lecturing setting with respect to learning achievement and motivation?

  • 2.

    What are the challenges for flipped engineering learning at the university level?

  • 3.

    What is students’ level of receptivity for an engineering mathematics course that begins as a flipped classroom and then returns to a traditional classroom?

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