Flipped classroom in engineering education: the views of the main stakeholders
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Flipped classroom is a blended learning approach that is increasingly gaining popularity in university education in the recent years. This paper discusses the use of the flipped classroom approach in the context of a graduate course in petroleum engineering by investigating the views of two main participants: the students and the university educators. The student views were investigated via a survey and a reference group discussion. The survey was asking students about: 1) the effectiveness of the flipped classroom, 2) the appropriateness of the learning methods and the learning activities, 3) their effort (plus their open-ended comments). The reference group was focusing on broader issues of course evaluation. The investigation of the university tutors’ views involved feedback from: a) a small group of university educators via lesson observation, and b) the teaching assistant, and the professor that was responsible for the course before introducing the flipped classroom to it via interviews. The student survey indicated mixed signals, since slightly less than half of the class think that the flipped classroom is generally more effective than the traditional model, whereas about 70% think that problem solving in class helps them better understand the theory and around 80% think the applied learning methods and activities helped achieving the learning outcomes of the course. The feedback from the observation resulted in action that was taken by the course responsible to encourage students to ask questions and get engaged in group work. The interview with the teaching assistant revealed (among others) instructional techniques to activate the students and encourage communication of ideas among them. Finally, the views of the previous course responsible gave some insight as to why flipped classroom would be an appropriate approach for this particular course. The contribution of the paper touches upon the fact that it adds to the dialogue of the educational community concerning the views of the students (which is a controversial topic) and the views of the university tutors (where there is a lack of research).