June 12, 2005
June 12, 2005
June 15, 2005
10.1153.1 - 10.1153.14
Student-Directed, Project-Based Learning in an Integrated Course Block Jonathan Stolk, Robert Martello, and Steven Krumholz Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering Needham, MA 02492
Abstract Imagine a course block in which students discuss the cultural implications of 17th century iron working in North America in one hour, and design experiments to examine connections between composition and strength in modern steel padlocks immediately afterward. In the Paul Revere: Tough as Nails course block, students don’t just study materials science and history of technology topics … they experience them. Through a series of readings, discussions, and self- designed projects, students explore materials science concepts alongside the social, cultural, and environmental factors that shaped technological and scientific history. Although some formal in- class activities are planned, many class sessions are flexible, allowing students to engage in individualized learning approaches. The projects are loosely framed, enabling students to develop key competencies while investigating topics of personal interest and controlling project focus and direction. In this paper, we discuss the processes and motivating factors that led to the initial design and continued development of the Paul Revere: Tough as Nails course block. We describe the philosophical and practical benefits of the course, and we elucidate the important role the course plays in our engineering curriculum.
In the fall of 2003, two faculty members at the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering began teaching a new course offering, titled Paul Revere: Tough as Nails. Referred to as a “course block” due to the fact that it was twice the size of a typical undergraduate course, Paul Revere: Tough as Nails attempted to accomplish several key learning objectives:
• Teach students to pose questions and solve materials science and historical problems in an interdisciplinary manner, using the content, methods, and perspectives of both fields to achieve a greater contextual and qualitative understanding of common topics. • Encourage students to control their own learning process in a self-directed manner and develop “lifelong learning” skills in the process. • Use projects as a primary pedagogical mechanism, encouraging a hands-on experiential understanding of content and methods as well as expertise in the conceptualization, design, and implementation of a project.
This paper will describe the execution of different incarnations of this course in more detail, with particular emphasis upon project implementation and pedagogical goals. The effectiveness of this activity will be assessed via a study of student and faculty feedback. Our story begins on the Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education
Krumholz, S., & Martello, R., & Stolk, J. (2005, June), Student Directed, Project Based Learning In An Integrated Course Block Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14675
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