Keywords

Flipped instruction, precalculus, undergraduate mathematics teaching, student identity, student-faculty connection

Abstract

Students who arrive at college intending to major in a STEM discipline are often required to complete a college-level precalculus course, despite evidence that these courses are not always successful in preparing students for calculus. The implementation of evidence-based teaching strategies, such as the flipped classroom, provides an avenue for improving the effectiveness of precalculus. This quasi-experimental study explores the effect of a flipped precalculus classroom on students' degree of connection with their instructor and other students, together with their sense of motivation and enjoyment of mathematics, which we treat as an indicator of a developing STEM identity. Validated survey inventories are used to investigate differences in these affective outcomes between three sections of precalculus, two taught using flipped instruction and a control section in which the instructor delivers traditional lectures. The flipped students report significantly greater interactions with their instructor and peers, but indicate that they feel less connected with their instructor. Attitudes towards mathematics are found to decrease slightly through the semester in both instructional approaches.

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Student-Faculty Connection and STEM identity in the Flipped Classroom

Students who arrive at college intending to major in a STEM discipline are often required to complete a college-level precalculus course, despite evidence that these courses are not always successful in preparing students for calculus. The implementation of evidence-based teaching strategies, such as the flipped classroom, provides an avenue for improving the effectiveness of precalculus. This quasi-experimental study explores the effect of a flipped precalculus classroom on students' degree of connection with their instructor and other students, together with their sense of motivation and enjoyment of mathematics, which we treat as an indicator of a developing STEM identity. Validated survey inventories are used to investigate differences in these affective outcomes between three sections of precalculus, two taught using flipped instruction and a control section in which the instructor delivers traditional lectures. The flipped students report significantly greater interactions with their instructor and peers, but indicate that they feel less connected with their instructor. Attitudes towards mathematics are found to decrease slightly through the semester in both instructional approaches.