Push or Pull Students into Blended Education A Case Study at Delft University of Technology

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Blended education, or “flipping the classroom” is rapidly becoming a mainstream form of teaching within universities. Within Engineering Education, it is popular as it allows more time in-class to focus on hands on activities such as demonstrations and solving complex problems. This paper discusses the effort conducted to restructure, according to the blended learning principles, the “Propulsion and Power” course of the Aerospace Engineering Bachelor degree programme at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft). The redesigned course was supported by a dedicated online & blended education unit within the university, and is characterized by a very peculiar structure due to the different approach chosen by the two involved lecturers. The first lecturer decided to “pull” the students, by proposing a number of additional videos available in the World Wide Web as a support and complement to the material taught in class. Conversely, the second lecturer opted for a “push” approach, selfrecording theory videos to be watched by the students at home and devoting the in-class hours to exercises and applications of the theory. This format resulted in a clear improvement of the average exam grades and pass rates. The student feedback showed enthusiasm about the new blended course, with only a very small minority still preferring the previous, more traditional approach. Although there seems to be a slight preference of students towards the “push” strategy, the “pull” approach has also been widely appreciated. However, the objective to reattract students to the contact hours in class was only partially achieved, since just a slight improvement in the number of attending students was observed. This paper clearly shows that the efforts to implement a blended teaching strategy has great benefits for both students and staff alike. Keywords:
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1911-1921
JournalInternational Journal of Engineering Education
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • blended learning
  • online education
  • student engagement
  • electronic assessment
  • aerospace engineering


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