טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
M.Sc Thesis
M.Sc StudentRizowy Brian Isaac
SubjectAffective Aspects of a Flipped Classroom: Mathematics
for Computer Science Undergraduate Students at
MIT
DepartmentDepartment of Education in Science and Technology
Supervisor Professor Yehudit Dori
Full Thesis textFull thesis text - English Version


Abstract

Studies implementing active learning environments, conducted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), have demonstrated student gains in the cognitive and affective domains. The research questions for this study were: (A) What were the students’ perceptions of studying in a flipped classroom (FC) setting for a mandatory, undergraduate Mathematics for Computer Science; (B) what were the students’ affective perceptions of engaging in an optional project-based learning (PBL) activity in addition to participating in FC; and (C) are the affective responses reported in writing by the students also seen through observations of FC? During the Fall 2013 semester, approximately 200 students participated in the FC learning environment for a Mathematics for Computer Science (CS) course for all incoming Computer Science majors at MIT. In the Fall 2013 semester, an additional, optional PBL activity included 72 students. In the Spring 2014 and 2016 semesters, about 100 students participated in each of the FC Mathematics for CS course. This study uses an equivalent materials quasi-experimental design containing qualitative and quantitative research tools: an end-of-semester survey which contained Likert-style questions and an open question regarding the students’ experiences in the course; an additional end-of-project online questionnaire for the PBL students; and structured observations during the Spring 2016 FC. Responses to the open-ended question were analyzed by an affective rubric. Each open-ended statement was analyzed qualitatively for recurring affective themes across four categories: Evaluation methods, personal instructional materials, motivational orientation, and teamwork. The structured observations allowed the researchers to see if the written affective responses received from students over the three semesters were also independently observable. Students in both the FC and FC? conditions during the Fall 2013 semester perceived reviewing team problem solutions and solving problem sets as most helpful, followed by availability of staff outside class, thereafter watching lecture videos and forum, with the least being reading lecture slides. While the FC and PBL students perceived the helpfulness of staff availability outside class and the online forum as being equally helpful, the FC only students perceived staff availability outside class as more helpful. The FC and PBL students were better able to predict their self-perceived learning outcomes than the FC only students. The observations conducted in Spring 2016 semester supported the findings seen in the students’ written replies to the open-ended survey questions -- mainly, elements of teamwork and group interactions while solving problems. In some groups, learning assistants (LAs) supported the group when they were called upon for assistance, while in other groups the LAs were more proactive, helping the group solve problems. Additionally, it was seen that when group members respected each other, the productivity of the group increased, and showed more positive affect towards working in teams.  This study may contribute to the body of knowledge relating to active learning modes and their influence on affective aspects of undergraduate students who study STEM courses in higher education. It may also contribute to the development and application of quality FCs with emphasis on teamwork for other STEM subjects and courses.