Integrating problem- and project-based learning opportunities: assessing outcomes of a field course in environment and sustainability
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Vladimir Kricsfalusy, Colleen George & Maureen G. Reed
Pages: 1-18 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2016.1269874
Improving student competencies to address sustainability challenges has been a subject of significant debate in higher education. Problem- and project-based learning have been widely celebrated as course models that support the development of sustainability competencies. This paper describes a course developed for a professional Master’s program in environment and sustainability that employs such a model. Additionally, the course was designed to offer value-added opportunities by introducing attributes of interdisciplinary training, service learning, academic research, and professional practice. Results from the course assessments by students, faculty, community clients and organizational partners show this model provided a range of learning, professional and practical outcomes for course partners. The value-added benefits include strengthening sustainability competencies and professional skills for students; longitudinal research opportunities for teaching faculty; real-time assessments of farming practices for community clients; and a heightened regional profile for the non-profit biosphere reserve organization supporting course delivery.
Keywords: Problem-based learning, project-based learning, service learning, professional practice, value-added benefits