Dr. Paul Nissenson

California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

Dr. Paul Nissenson

Dr. Nissenson is part of an interdisciplinary team that investigated the use of a flipped classroom pedagogy to lower the D/F/W rate in a bottleneck upper division mechanical engineering course (ME 311: Fluid Mechanics I). During a two-year study, the team gathered data while they developed and implemented various technologies and teaching strategies, culminating in a flipped classroom experience. In the flipped version of the course, students watched video tutorials prior to each meeting and class time was used for review, active learning group activities, and assessment. Outside of class students completed reading assignments and homework problems in the McGraw-Hill Connect platform. The use of Connect resulted in a cost savings for students – prior to the redesign, the cost of the course textbook at the university bookstore was approximately $200, while the cost of Connect was approximately $100 for three-year access.

Historically, ME 311 was taught in a traditional lecture manner and had a D/F/W rate of 34%; implementing a flipped version of ME 311 resulted in D/F/W rates being slashed to 11%. In addition to improved academic performance, students in the flipped sections reported greater gains in confidence, satisfaction, and feeling supported. Focus groups revealed students in the flipped sections felt more engaged and liked the flexibility, pacing, interaction with peers, ability to access resources, and they overwhelmingly enjoyed the course more than students in the traditional lecture sections. The assessment of student outcomes was conducted by co-awardees Dr. Faye Wachs (Sociology, Cal Poly Pomona) and Dr. Juliana Fuqua (Psychology, Cal Poly Pomona), who oversaw a team of undergraduate research assistants as they gathered and analyzed data. A complete description of the methodology and results were published in two peer-reviewed papers at the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) conference [1, 2], and results have been disseminated at various other conferences and workshops.

This project is part of a larger effort by Dr. Nissenson to promote the use of technology and innovative teaching strategies among faculty at Cal Poly Pomona and beyond. Dr. Nissenson was a Proven Lead with the California State University (CSU) Course Redesign with Technology Program during 2016-2018 where he mentored faculty across the CSU in their course redesign efforts. He currently is the Chair of the Pacific Southwest Section of the American Society of Engineering Education, which is the largest engineering education society in the United States, and is helping start the Engineering Faculty Advancement Initiative at Cal Poly Pomona which will provide professional development opportunities to new faculty members. Dr. Nissenson has also taken the lead in creating and managing his department's YouTube channel (CPPMechEngTutorials) and the video tutorial website, ME Online (www.cpp.edu/meonline). Dr. Nissenson has recorded, edited and/or organized video content to support student success, including the video tutorials used in the ME 311 course redesign. These video tutorials [3], along with a complete lecture series that Dr. Nissenson helped produce [4], are available to the public for free as an open education resource on ME Online. At the time of writing, the videos have been viewed over one million times by people world-wide.


Nissenson et al. (2017). "Impact of an Online Learning Environment on Student Performance and Perceptions in a Fluid Mechanics Course." 2017 ASEE Annual Conference.

Wachs et al. (2018). "Successfully flipping a fluid mechanics course using video tutorials and active learning strategies:  Implementation and Assessment." 2018 ASEE Annual Conference. 

Playlist of 45 fluid mechanics video tutorials used in the flipped version of ME 311.

Playlist of complete fluid mechanics lecture series.