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I have tried to introduce Problem base learning into my online Emerging Infectious

Diseases course. I would like to determine if the learning is better and more indepth

and if so have some information to share with my faculty about the value of

this type of pedagogy.

White, H. B. (1996). L. Richlin (Ed), Dan Tries Problem-Based Learning: A Case


To Improve the Academy Vol. 15 (pp. 75 - 91). Stillwater, OK: New Forums

This paper first describes the history of Problem based learning, and then describes

the implementation at University of Delaware. The paper than goes through an

exercise using a case study of a professor, Dan, who tried PBL. It first describes his

initial attempt, followed by questions about decision making,. The paper then

discusses formation of groups, the first class, student concerns, grading groups, the

mid-term exam, final grades, grading the professor (ie what does the chairman

think) and course evaluations. Each section is followed by questions for the reader

to consider about the experience. This paper is helpful as it lays out what happens

in a PBL environment and the problems associated with it. It provides some

guidance for implementation and some parameters to consider for assessment and


ERIC #: ED502564

Title: Web-Based Evaluation System for a Problem-Based Laboratory

Authors: Azli, Naziha Ahmadi; Othman, Mohd Shahizan

Publication Date: 2008-03-00

Pub Types: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive

Journal Name: Online Submission

Journal Citation: U.S.-China Education Review v5 n3 p16-23 Mar 2008


Descriptors: Evaluation Criteria; Problem Solving; Laboratories; Evaluation Methods;

Student Evaluation; Foreign Countries; Internet; Problem Based Learning;

Engineering Education; College Students; Grading; Web Sites; Grades (Scholastic)

ERIC Full-Text:


This paper discusses the implementation of PBL in an Electrical Engineering Lab. 500

students from seven programs registered and were broken into groups of 4 or 5 to

solve 3 problems. A team of the faculty members developed a five part evaluation

for each lab. Several of the parts included rubrics. In order to automate the system

a web interface was developed that limited access depending on the status of the

individual (TA, student, faculty). The most useful part of this paper is the

development of the assessment/grading piece. One of the most difficult parts of

implementing PBL is finding appropriate methods of assessment. In this case, with

500 students to grade the problem in significantly compounded.

ERIC #: ED503394

Title: Faculty and Graduate Student PBL Experiences

Authors: McDonald, Betty

Publication Date: 2008-11-11

Pub Types: Reports - Evaluative

Journal Name: Online Submission

Journal Citation:


Descriptors: Problem Based Learning; Training; Graduate Students; College Faculty;

Student Attitudes; Teacher Attitudes; Engineering Education

ERIC Full-Text:


This paper has an extensive literature review on PBL with many references. The

study asked qualitative questions about student and faculty experiences with PBL

who were part of an MS in Petroleum Engineering degree. The students were

surveyed using an instrument that attempted to evaluate their feelings about PBL.

Unfortunately, the surveys are not part of the paper. What this paper provides is a

great source of references but otherwise the study is poorly designed, there is no

statistical analysis and I guess since it is not the US, an IRB exemption is not

necessary. The biggest take home for me from this paper is to be careful about

papers that are not peer-reviewed.

Hmelo-Silver, Cindy 2004 Problem-based learning: What and how do student learn?

Educational Psychology Review16 (3) 325-365

This extensive review article first discusses the types of PBL and then goes into great

depth about how the learning process works and the role of facilitator and student.

She discusses the role of collaboration and reflection in the learning experience.

There is an extensive review of the research on effectiveness of PBL as reported in

peer-reviewed journals. There is a great section discussing how students become

self-directed learners and how they become effective collaborators. Finally there is a

section that discusses motivation. The discussion points out some of the limitations

in the studies done thus far and the need to integrate some “just in time” teaching.

This idea is absolutely contrary to Barrow’s perspective. This paper is a foundation

work that reviews much of the existing research and makes suggestions for further


Anderson, WL, SM Mitchell, MP Osgood, 2008 Gauging gaps in Student Problem-

Solving Skills: Assessment of Individual and Group Use of Problem-Solving

Strategies Using Online Discussions CBE—Life Sciences Education 7: 254 – 262

This paper discusses the use of PBL in a large Biochemistry class as a way to

encourage small group discussion. The paper outlines a complex grading rubric and

several metrics for determining success of the PBL exercise. The data analysis has

some new presentation methods including a chart that used intensity of color to

indicate success. This figure was a domains analysis and could provide a useful tool

for assessing success. This paper uses bar graphs but there is no statistical analysis.

The value of this paper is in the development of the grading rubric and analysis of

PBL online. There is very little literature about using PBL online.

Press and the Professional and Organizational Network in Higher Education.

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