For a while I’ve been interested in the PBL approach to GIS instruction. I know it’s a very common approach, and I use it myself, but I don’t consider myself an expert in PBL knowledge itself. For example, I’m wondering how it matters (to student learning) how a problem is explained, and especially when it’s a complex and multi-step problem, how its steps are sequenced. I feel that I too often allow the problems to be data-driven, or driven by the sequence of chapters in a text book.
At Smith we are planning to reorganize our Intro to GIS course along the lines of Community Based Research/Learning which will be similar to PBL (at least in my mind). We are just beginning the conversation, but hope CBR/PBL will:
more deeply engage students,
require advanced critical thinking, and
I will report back on our efforts and hopefully this thread will add to our recipe. Bon Appetit!