PhD Oral Exam - Carol Sparkes, Educational Technology
When studying for a doctoral degree (PhD), candidates submit a thesis that provides a critical review of the current state of knowledge of the thesis subject as well as the student’s own contributions to the subject. The distinguishing criterion of doctoral graduate research is a significant and original contribution to knowledge.
Once accepted, the candidate presents the thesis orally. This oral exam is open to the public.
In an attempt to understand what makes blended learning (BL) more effective than traditional Classroom Instruction (CI), this research looked more closely at the Flipped Classroom (FC) model of BL. The FC takes a relatively consistent approach to course design by flipping what is traditionally done in the classroom (i.e., lecture) with what is traditionally done as homework (i.e., application).
Numerous studies have been conducted comparing FC with the CI on student achievement in higher education without conclusive results. To synthesize the literature, this dissertation implemented a systematic review and meta-analysis to measure the average effect size and the direction of the impact and to determine the conditions under which students learn more effectively. To ensure a transparent process the potential for bias in each step of a meta-analysis was acknowledged and addressed.
Through a systematic review of the literature from 2000 to 2017, 114 studies were included and 125 effect sizes were calculated. Using meta-analysis these effect sizes created a weighted mean effect-size of +0.30, which was statistically significant at p < 0.05 and educationally significant.
Study features were analyzed to determine if there were any attributes that made a difference but none, including quizzes and the effect on STEM courses as seen in BL meta-analyses, were found to be significant. No publication bias was found, no outliers were found from the sensitivity analysis, and there was no significant difference between the effects from quasi-experimental and experimental designs.
While the FC significantly outperformed CI it was not to a greater extent than general BL outperformed CI. Future research is encouraged between FC treatments, instead of between FC and CI, in order to provide more nuance suggestions about how to improve instructional design in future courses.