Can Flipped Classrooms Transform STEM Courses?

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The US Department of Education has awarded multi-million dollar "First in the World" grants to 18 colleges and universities that are innovating to solve critical challenges with access, recruitment, retention, and student success. At AI, we have interviewed each of the recipients to learn more about the projects these institutions are pursuing, how their approaches are unique, and what other colleges and universities can learn from these new efforts.

This is the second year of the First in the World grants. You can read our interviews with the 24 institutions that received 2014 grants here.

by Lisa Cook, Academic Impressions

Active learning strategies like flipped classrooms have attracted a lot of attention in recent years, but how well do they really work? Researchers at San José State University intend to find out. With the help of a $3 million First in the World grant, Laura Sullivan-Green, co-project director and associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, will measure the effect of the flipped classroom model on the academic performance of freshmen and sophomore STEM majors, along with provost and project co-director Andy Feinstein; Brian Jersky, dean of the College of Science at California Polytechnic University, Pomona; and Jianyu “Jane” Dong, professor of electrical engineering at California State University, Los Angeles.

Their first goal will be to change what the classroom looks like by implementing the model into a number of STEM gateway courses at the three California State University institutions, Sullivan-Green explains. We talked to her to learn more about the project and how they hope it will facilitate a culture of transformative pedagogical change among STEM faculty.

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