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Flipped STEM classes earn $350,000 NSF grant “Interdisciplinary learning is focus of collaboration between CSET and CEHD

by Rachel James-Terry

The National Science Foundation has awarded a $350,000 grant for “Investigating the Effect of Active Flipped Learning in STEM Education” to the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) and the College of Science, Engineering and Technology.

According to flippedlearning.org, the “flipped” educational approach can be simply defined as “school work at home and homework at school.” Dr. Lin Li, professor of engineering and principal investigator for the grant, feels the novel teaching style “gives students more responsibility in the learning process.”

Li will be heading the project with Jianjun Yun, professor in the university’s CEHD and co-principal investigator; Dr. Frashad Amini, engineering professor, and Dr. Tor Kwembe, chair of the math department.

Li explains that in a traditional classroom students typically sit and listen to a lecture from their teachers and then go home and apply what they have learned during the execution of their homework. In the “flipped learning” project, JSU students will access their professor’s lectures online and listen to their lesson before attending class. Instructors meet with students at their regularly scheduled period to answer any questions that stem from the online lecture, which allows educators more time to address any challenges students may encounter with processing the lesson.

According to Dr. Richard Alό, dean of the College of Science, Engineering and Technology, there will be five phases of the process:

First phase: Faculty will be trained to understand the components of the flip classroom; faculty will record their lectures and upload them to Blackboard — JSU’s online teaching tool.

Second phase: The flip and traditional learning method will be applied to one predetermined lecture class. Students will be surveyed and samples collected once completed.

Third phase: Based on student and instructor feedback, methods are adjusted to make the process more efficient.

Fourth phase: Apply revised methods to four classes (Calculus I and III; Physics I and Mechanical Engineering I), totaling approximately 360 STEM students.

Fifth phase: Review results, write reports and make recommendations.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for both education and CSET students. It shows the hard work and team efforts of all involved for the betterment of students and JSU as a learning community,” said Dr. Daniel Watkins, dean of the College of Education and Human Development.

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