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

Paper


Brodie, Lyn. 2006. "Problem based learning in the online environment - successfully using student diversity and e-education." Sudweeks, Fay (ed.) 2006 Annual Conference on Internet Research 7.0: (IR 7.0): Internet Convergences. Brisbane, Australia 27 - 30 Sep 2006 Chicago, IL, United States .
Paper/Presentation Title

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

Presentation TypePaper
Authors
AuthorBrodie, Lyn
EditorsSudweeks, Fay
Journal or Proceedings TitleProceedings of the 2006 Annual Conference on Internet Research 7.0: (IR 7.0): Internet Convergences
Year2006
Place of PublicationChicago, IL, United States
Web Address (URL) of Paperhttp://aoir.org/conferences/past/ir-7-2006/
Conference/Event2006 Annual Conference on Internet Research 7.0: (IR 7.0): Internet Convergences
Event Details
2006 Annual Conference on Internet Research 7.0: (IR 7.0): Internet Convergences
Event Date
27 to end of 30 Sep 2006
Event Location
Brisbane, Australia
Abstract

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.

Keywordsproblem based learning, PBL, online education, distance education, student diversity, higher education research
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020460806. Human-computer interaction
390113. Science, technology and engineering curriculum and pedagogy
390409. Learning sciences
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Byline AffiliationsDepartment of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering
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