Tools for problem- and project-based learning in sustainability science education: a case study of two undergraduate classes
Teamwork and project management (TPM) tools are important components of sustainability science curricula designed using problem- and project-base learning (PPBL). Tools are additional materials, beyond lectures, readings, and assignments, that structure and facilitate students' learning; they can enhance student teams' ability to complete projects and achieve learning outcomes and, if instructors can find appropriate existing tools, can reduce time needed for class design and preparation. This research uses a case study approach to evaluate the effectiveness of five TPM tools in two Arizona State University (ASU) sustainability classes: an introductory (100-level) and a capstone (400-level) class. Data was collected from student evaluations and instructor observations in both classes during Spring 2013 and qualitatively analyzed to identify patterns in tool use and effectiveness. Results suggest how instructors might improve tool effectiveness in other sustainability classes. Work plans and meeting agendas were the most effective TPM tools in the 100-level class, while work plans and codes of collaboration were most effective at the 400 level. Common factors in tool effectiveness include active use and integration of tools into class activities. Suggestions for improving tool effectiveness at both levels include introducing tools earlier in the course, incorporating tools into activities, and helping students link a tool's value to sustainability problem-solving competence. Polling students on prior use and incorporating tool use into project assignments may increase 100 level tool effectiveness; and at the 400 level, improvements may be achieved by introducing tools earlier and coaching students to select, find, and develop relevant tools.
- Trippel, Dorothy (Author)
- Redman, Charles L. (Thesis advisor)
- Pijawka, K. David (Committee member)
- Walters, Molina (Committee member)
- Arizona State University (Publisher)