The European Higher Education Area (EHEA) entails important changes in the teaching-learning model in the university context; it specifically requires a deep revision of the roles of teachers and students. In this sense, the so-called flipped classroom model (FCM) presents many advantages compared to the traditional model of classes focused on the transfer of information from teacher to student: it allows to implement some active methodologies that otherwise would not be possible due to time constraints, ICT (Information and Communication technologies) are naturally integrated into the learning process, the student plays a leading role in classroom sessions, increasing his degree of motivation and satisfaction and certain transverse competencies can be implemented and evaluated in the classroom.

The FCM is being implemented in some of the best Education Centers in the world, such as the Shireland Collegiate Academy (England), the Harvard University or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA). The Polytechnic University of Valencia (Spain) is pioneer for its implementation in complete courses of various degrees, with a good reception by the students.

The authors want to join this initiative with a pilot experience of FCM application in the context of Thermal Engineering at the University of Zaragoza (UZ, Spain). Specifically, the present paper gathers the preliminary results in the subject of Technical Thermodynamics of second course of the Degree in Industrial Technologies Engineering during the first semester of the 2016-2017 course within a teaching innovation project with the objective of improving the exploitation of the attendance classes.

To this objective, different types of methodologies and resources have been selected and developed for in-class and home activities. Firstly, a combination of lecturer’s notes, educational videos and training questionnaires was implemented in the Moodle platform of UZ for home preparation of the subject. Finally, the attendance classes have been redesigned, reducing the theoretical explanations by the lecturer and promoting the student participation and the practical learning. The problem-based learning has been considered the more suited active methodology for the academic level and the technical nature of the subject.

With the aim of evaluating the success degree of the pilot experience, different application forms and questionnaires have been designed and fulfilled by the lecturer or by the students, as appropriate. Mainly, they consist of observation cards to register the main events of each session and different questionnaires to know the opinion of students and to quantify the degree of satisfaction. Additionally, the improvement in learning results is quantified by the comparison of grades reached in different tests in the present course with those obtained in previous academic courses.

The opinion poll shows that the traditional model is followed almost in all of the subjects, while just the 27% of students considers that their use of attendance classes is high or very high. The main demand from students (about 85%) is the increase of time devoted to the resolution of problems. After the implementation of FCM in a chapter of the subject, 51% of them consider that the learning level was high or very high, and an augmentation in 1.6 points was obtained in the test grade with respect to previous course, meaning a substantial improving in satisfaction degree and learning level.