Flip-teaching engineering optimization, electromagnetic product design, and nondestructive evaluation in a semester's course



Teaching practical design to students requires first a numerical course such as on finite elements and then a course on optimization. However, because of curricular constraints, it is very difficult to get students to take two courses. This paper describes a new semester's course at Michigan State University that accomplishes this through flip teaching to tackle the challenges of time. It is the flip teaching that made it possible to cover two large courses as one. The traditional order of (a) delivering theory (b) programming ancillary tools (mesh generators, solvers), and (c) programming and solving design problems, is flipped. Pre-constructed meshes described by design parameters and ancillary programs (solvers, mesh generators, and equipotential plotters) are given to students. They familiarize themselves with these at home so that class discussion is focused on the tough concepts inherent to finite element optimization. Further to manage time, students do the massive homework in teams of two and in the last 3 weeks, each student master's one optimization method working closely with the instructor in face-to-face sessions. Flip teaching was praised by all students. The final assignment with a realistic design problem (using a method specific to each student) involved a seminar where students presented their results and taught their specific method to the others. A survey proved the learning accomplished. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Comput Appl Eng Educ 23:374–382, 2015; View this article online at wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/cae; DOI 10.1002/cae.21607