Asee peer logo

Creating Real-World Problem-Based Learning Challenges in Sustainable Technologies to Increase the STEM Pipeline

Download Paper |

Conference

2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Female Faculty, Learning, NSF, and ABET Issues at Two-Year Colleges

Tagged Division

Two Year College Division

Page Count

19

Page Numbers

22.397.1 - 22.397.19

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/17678

Download Count

51

Request a correction

Paper Authors

biography

Nicholas Massa Springfield Technical Community College

visit author page

Nicholas Massa is a full professor in the Laser Electro-Optics Technology Department at Springfield Technical Community College in Springfield, MA. He holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Western New England College and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership/Adult Learning from the University of Connecticut. Dr. Massa is currently Co-Principal Investigator on the NSF-ATE STEM PBL Project of the New England Board of Higher Education.

visit author page

biography

Michele Dischino Central Connecticut State University

visit author page

Michele Dischino is an assistant professor in the Technology and Engineering Education Department at Central Connecticut State University. Dr. Dischino received her Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania in 2006 and her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Manhattan College in 1992. She is currently Co-Principal Investigator on the NSF-ATE STEM PBL Project of the New England Board of Higher Education.

visit author page

biography

Judith F. Donnelly Three Rivers Community-Technical College

visit author page

Judith Donnelly is a professor in the Laser and Fiber Optic Technology AS program at Three Rivers Community College and also serves as the Program Coordinator. She holds a B.S. degree from Tufts University and M.S. degree from the University of CT. She is currently Co-Principal Investigator on the NSF-ATE STEM PBL Project of the New England Board of Higher Education.

visit author page

biography

Fenna D. Hanes New England Board of Higher Education

visit author page

Fenna Hanes is Senior Director for Professional and Resource Development at the New England Board of Higher Education. She holds a B.S. in liberal arts and business management from Northeastern University and a M.S.P.A. in Public Affairs from the McCormack Institute of the University of Massachusetts Boston. Hanes is currently the Principal Investigator on the NSF-ATE STEM PBL Project of the New England Board of Higher Education.

visit author page

Download Paper |

Abstract

Creating Real-World Problem-Based Learning Challenges in Sustainable Technologies to Increase the STEM PipelineAs a new generation of American students move through the educational pipeline, they are beingchallenged as never before with important issues such as global climate change, sustainability,and all things “green.” The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines sustainability as“meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meettheir own needs.” The implications of sustainability are far-reaching and pervasive. They affectall aspects of life including how we generate energy, provide clean drinking water and growfood, manufacture goods and provide services, heat and cool our homes, and get to work andschool each day.With all of the attention given by policy makers and the media about the importance ofsustainable technologies, student enrollment in science, technology, engineering and math(STEM) fields in the U.S. continues to lag behind other industrialized nations. If the U.S. is tomaintain its global economic and technological competitiveness, the educational system mustproduce more graduates interested and prepared to enter STEM related careers. To this end,educators must provide students with learning experiences that engage and motivate them bytapping into their natural creativity, imagination, and desire to solve the big problems of theworld such as environmental sustainability, while at the same time develop the problem-solvingand critical thinking skills needed for lifelong learning.One instructional method capable of providing this type of learning experience is problem-basedlearning (PBL). PBL is an instructional approach that challenges students to “learn how to learn”through collaborative real-world problem solving. Research shows that compared withtraditional lecture-based instruction, PBL improves student motivation, critical thinking andproblem-solving skills, learning retention and the ability to adapt learning to new and novelsituations—critical skills for the 21st century workplace.In this paper, we report on the progress of the Problem-Based Learning for SustainableTechnologies: Increasing the STEM Pipeline (STEM PBL) project of the New England Board ofHigher Education. This three-year National Science Foundation Advanced TechnologicalEducation (NSF-ATE) project is aimed at increasing student interest and preparedness inpursuing STEM-related careers, and providing STEM educators across the U.S. with the trainingand resources needed to introduce PBL in their classrooms. Working closely with industry,government, and university collaborators breaking new ground in sustainable technologies, theSTEM PBL project team has created a comprehensive series of online multimedia PBLinstructional materials referred to as “STEM PBL Challenges.” The STEM PBL Challenges aredesigned to engage secondary and post-secondary students in authentic real-world problem-solving focused on contemporary issues of sustainability including solar and wind energy, cleanwater, sustainable agriculture, and consumer product hazards. A detailed discussion of theproblems, the collaborating partners, the STEM PBL Challenge development process, and thepre- and in-service teacher training program is presented.

Massa, N., & Dischino, M., & Donnelly, J. F., & Hanes, F. D. (2011, June), Creating Real-World Problem-Based Learning Challenges in Sustainable Technologies to Increase the STEM Pipeline Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. https://peer.asee.org/17678

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2011 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015