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Wednesday, June 18 • 11:00am - 12:30pm
PSD.14 – Designing and Facilitating an Online PBL Course Through Weaving Content, Storytelling, Digital Technologies and Feedback

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When we tackled the challenge of teaching an undergrad online course using a problem-based learning (PBL) approach, we were confronted with the problematic of teaching to students spread over different time zones whom we had never meet. We wanted to innovate and use a problem-based learning approach, but we were aware that this type of pedagogy often makes students insecure about their performance because the learning sequence doesn’t match the classical model they have been exposed to before. We wished to design the course by imagining the student experience rather than focus on the content, like most online courses are designed. This shift of focus from content-based material to experience-based material required a different approach to designing course material. We imagined authentic ill-defined problems for which students had to provide a concrete solution. These problems were presented in the first three weeks of the course and the students had 12 weeks to provide solutions that would solve the problems, but this approach remained as dry as a content-driven course. This is when we decided to place storytelling at the forefront of our design.

In this roundtable, we will focus on four elements related to the design and the facilitation of our course: 1) the PBL model for developing professional competence we used; 2) the “toile de fond” of the stories we wrote after identifying the content of the course; 3) the affordances of the technologies we used that allowed synchronous and asynchronous (same time and different time) interactions; 4) the formative feedback loop we used to scaffold assignments. We will explain how the four elements –that is PBL, storytelling, technology affordances and formative feedback, were weaved together to create an engaging learning experience for the students. This required not only a shift in how we designed the material, but also a shift in our role as teachers and the students’ role. We will also present how students dealt with the elements of surprise that occurred in the narratives and how they helped inform the students about their own PBL experience.

Wednesday June 18, 2014 11:00am - 12:30pm EDT
A241/A242 Duncan McArthur Hall

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