Problem based learning in the online environment - successfully using student diversity and e-education

Brodie, Lyn (2006) Problem based learning in the online environment - successfully using student diversity and e-education. In: 2006 Annual Conference on Internet Research 7.0: (IR 7.0): Internet Convergences, 27-30 Sept 2006, Brisbane, Qld, Australia.

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Problem Based Learning (PBL) is a well known and well used teaching methodology. Most current literature points to McMaster University in Canada with the introduction of PBL into its medical schools in the 1960's, but its intellectual history is much older. Thomas Corts of Samford University sees PBL as 'a newly recovered style of learning'. From these beginnings PBL has been incorporated into a wide range of professional studies including nursing, dentistry, social work, management, engineering and architecture.
In the rush to tap into new markets and to take up new technologies many academics and institutions have turned to online education. However, PBL does not seem to have made the leap fully into online education. The use of discussion boards, chat facilities and web resources are still not being fully utilised to take up the advantages of this paradigm. There are only a limited number of references to PBL in distance education. Of available references to group based cooperative learning nearly all require at least some face-to-face meetings of the team members. This does not make full use of the available technology and means that students need to physically meet.
This paper investigates the literature regarding PBL in the online setting. It demonstrates that by appropriate application of both technology and sound teaching, PBL can be successfully used to deliver the required educational outcomes whilst taking advantage of a diverse student profile. Our Faculty has introduced a fully online PBL course to first year engineering and surveying students. The course relies entirely on internet based communication and resources and requires no face to face meetings. Students are located across Australia and the world, often in different time zones. They successfully communicate and solve a range of contextualised engineering problems, facilitated by an academic staff member. The course successfully integrates student diversity (age, culture, education backgrounds) and appropriate technology (chat, discussion and web) to enable students to participate in team based assessments. In the process, students learn teamwork, communication skills, use of internet based technology as well as discipline specific technical knowledge.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: No evidence of copyright restrictions on web site.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - Department of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2007 01:00
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2015 02:38
Uncontrolled Keywords: problem based learning, PBL, online education, distance education, student diversity, higher education research
Fields of Research : 08 Information and Computing Sciences > 0806 Information Systems > 080602 Computer-Human Interaction
13 Education > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130212 Science, Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy
13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130309 Learning Sciences
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 93 Education and Training > 9302 Teaching and Instruction > 930203 Teaching and Instruction Technologies

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