A Course Design to Support Fully Online, Project-Based Experiential Learning
To maintain continuity of curricular offerings during the COVID-19 global pandemic, Northeastern University added classroom technologies to enable remote class participation and developed a fully online option for first-year students. As a well-established leader in experiential learning, Northeastern sought to extend experiential learning opportunities to this geographically dispersed population of first-year students who would be learning online, beginning in the fall of 2020. The result was a set of “global challenge” courses based on a model of project-based learning (PBL) with collaborative problem solving at its core. Personnel from the teaching and learning center engaged with tenure-track research faculty across disciplines to design 18 projects based on the faculty’s own research. Projects and related learning materials were developed within a two-month development cycle. This session illuminates how the Canvas learning environment was leveraged to effectively support PBL’s inductive learning process and engage students in inquiry and teamwork. Specifically, participants will learn how the courses were structured in order to scaffold the project development process, provide an appropriate structure for first-year students online, foster teamwork and collaboration across time zones, and encourage diversity of thought through peer sharing and feedback. In addition, participants will be guided through Northeastern’s approach to helping faculty develop a blueprint for PBL courses.
Associate Director, Northeastern University
Gail Matthews-DeNataleSenior Associate Director, Center for Advancing Teaching and Learning Through Research, Northeastern University
Laurie PoklopSenior Associate Director, Center for Advancing Teaching and Learning Through Research, Northeastern University