L. Descalço, P. Carvalho

University of Aveiro (PORTUGAL)
We have been using a combination of computer systems in Calculus for some years. The system MEGUA on Sagemath for authoring parameterized contents, system SIACUA for helping autonomous learning with the parameterized contents created, with Bayesian feedback and finally PmatE, a computer system used in Portuguese national competitions, for doing the assessment.

Although this combined use of the systems accomplishes one of our goals, to motivate study during the whole semester instead of only before the main tests, it doesn’t seem to be enough to convince students to work before the classes in an inverted learning environment. Students tend to use the systems only before the assessment tests.

In the academic year 2018/2019, we have confirmed this thesis. Although our effort to provide to students the best possible conditions for working before the classes, they correspond to this motivation only it this work is assessed in the beginning of the class. Hence, giving the materials and assuming they work is, at least in our context, an ineffective approach.

We compare two topics in flipped learning in a course with 99 students of Industrial Management Engineering (IME): a topic where assessment took place in the beginning of the class with another one for which there was no assessment in the beginning of the class.

Moreover, we compare the performance of these students in IME with others of a similar sample, from other engineering courses, on the same topic in flipped learning. The first ones knew they would be evaluated by a mini-test and the later knew that they would not be subject to evaluation.

Our main conclusion is that, at least in our context, it is not safe to assume students work seriously before classes in flipped learning. In the absence of intrinsic motivation, using assessment in the beginning of the class is the best approach to convince students to do the previous work. Also, in some simple topics, providing appropriate learning materials, including short videos, this approach can improve learning outcomes.

The data we use include, computer systems usage data, student’s marks and interviews of IME students with the best final marks in the Calculus course.