2019 Institute Workshops & Presentations

Rick Vaz and Kris Wobbe Opening Session

Randy Bass Keynote Address

Charlie Morse Plenary Session

Paula Quinn and Rick Vaz Plenary Session

Wednesday, June 19, 2:00-3:15 p.m.

Workshop: Framing Problems to Scaffold Student Learning in Projects – Paula Quinn and Kris Wobbe

At the core of well-designed projects are challenges to solve problems or to research and answer questions. When framing problem statements and articulating research questions, project advisors are scaffolding student learning in terms of both content and process, and the approach an advisor takes might provide clarity or lead to confusion for the student. Through critique of a pre-designed project, participants in this session will consider the value of learning outcomes to the framing process and will explore how the language used and the level of detail provided influence the project experience for student.

Workshop Materials will include:

Ethnic Markets
Extent Outcomes Addressed
Project Design Elements Checklist

Workshop:Project Based-Learning in the First Year and as a General Education Strategy Geoff Pfeifer and Derren Rosbach

In this workshop we will share some of the work we have done in our first year Great Problems Seminars program. We will talk about what it is like to work with first year students in a project-based environment (both benefits and challenges), and tools we have developed for scaffolding project work so students gain the skills necessary to work on complex open-ended problems even in their first year. We will also talk about the ways that PBL can be utilized as a general education strategy. Participants will be given the opportunity to collaborate and to think about how to adapt some of our materials to their own courses and environments.

 Workshop materials include:

 Rosbach-Pfeifer Workshop Packet

Workshop: Supercharging your PBL through Effective Library Collaborations – Laura Robinson and Nick Williams

During this interactive workshop a research librarian and a faculty member team up to lead you through activities illustrating some solution to the information challenges you and your students will face while engaging in project-based learning. Throughout the session we will discuss research on information use in PBL, share effective mindsets, and provide practical steps to effectively integrate information into project work. You will leave this workshop with tools to adapt and build into your PBL teaching and advising practices, including assignment examples, syllabus language, and in-class activities and worksheets.

 Workshop materials include:

IL Packet IPBL 2019
Supercharging your PBL through Effective Library Collaborations

Workshop: Project-Based Learning in Introductory Science Courses – Marja Bakermans and Natalie Farny

This workshop will examine the design and implementation of PBL-based experiences in introductory science courses. These courses tend to be diverse with respect to student majors and can have much larger enrollments than that typically seen in advanced courses. The workshop will focus on design and implementation with these challenges in mind. We will explore connecting the design of the activity to discipline-specific learning outcomes, and assessing student performance during and after the project. We will share examples of how to scaffold projects in manageable units for students and provide ideas and resources for leveraging other organizations that have project resources. The session will be interactive with some time to engage attendees with similar goals in small groups.

Workshop materials include:

BB 1002-D-2016 Sample Syllabus
Biodiversity Sample Syllabus
Human Biology-Group Worksheet
Human Biology-Project Rubrics
Human Biology-Project Syllabus
Langen etal 2014FEE Large Datasets
Project Design Rubric BIE
Resources for PBL in Introductory Sciences
Sample Syllabus BAHF 2015

Workshop: Assessment of PBL Aims and Means – Rob Traver

The PBL Assessment workshop examines ways to assess the aims and means of PBL. Deliverables, Processes and Stakeholders (including students) can be reviewed through the frames of Models, Practice and Feedback to provide in-depth understanding of what’s going on during project based learning. A core concept, “educative assessment,” guides everything.  Lots of examples, discussion among participants, and the instructor’s experience with more than 150 undergraduate projects should make the seventy-five minutes worthwhile and interesting.

Workshop materials include:

Assessment of PBL Aims and Means
Additional material Assessment of PBL Aims and Means

Workshop: PBL in the Humanities: Local Context, Active Questioning, and Integrated Learning – Kris Boudreau and Aarti S. Madan

This workshop, taught by faculty from the disciplines of English and Spanish, will guide participants through the process of developing a course project assignment with significant content and methodology from the humanities. Participants will explore how projects can be designed to include student needs, interests, and knowledge as well as local resources and community needs or opportunities. We will challenge participants to consider different audiences for student work, share concrete examples of classroom activities and out-of-class assignments that infuse key elements of PBL into the humanities, explore ways of integrating humanities and non-humanities subjects through collaborative project experiences, and suggest new instructional approaches available to humanities faculty in their courses. Participants will learn about projects ranging from short-term assignments to semester-long role-playing games.

Workshop materials include:

Assignment 2 Boudreau
Assignment game development
Assignment identifying sources Boudreau
Interview assignment
PBL in Languages_Assignments
PBL in Languages_Rubrics
PBL in the Writing Classroom
Reflective essay assignment

Workshop: Design and Support of a Project-Based Learning Experience – Rick Vaz

This session will engage participants in a community-based project as a case study in curriculum design and scaffolding of student learning for PBL. Participants will work in small teams to respond to a problem statement from a community partner, while the facilitator illustrates approaches for supporting open-ended inquiry, interdisciplinary problem-solving, teamwork, and formative assessment. We’ll then reflect as a group on the educational design and strategies, and how they might be adapted to different curricular situations.

Workshop materials include:

WPI IQP Guide and Syllabus
Workshop on Scaffolding
Recommended IQP Schedule

Thursday, June 20, 9:00-10:15 p.m.

Workshop: Writing in PBL | Writing for PBL – Ryan Madan

Will your students write as part of their project-based learning experience? If so, for what purpose and for whose eyes? This workshop will help you reflect on the role(s) writing can play in student projects, and the ways those projects might also help students improve as writers. You’ll leave the workshop with more clarity about foundational principles on which to ground your decision-making about writing’s possible roles in your PBL design, and you’ll have dedicated time to brainstorm and prioritize the competing purposes, communicative genres, audiences, and forms of assessment that you might lean on as you move forward. This workshop is equally appropriate for those who imagine writing to be a central deliverable to PBL (wherein PBL is in service to developing student writing competencies) and for those who envision discrete writing activities in service of advancing other PBL goals.

Workshop materials include:

IPBL 2019 (writing Workshop)
Infographic project- prompt
Infographic Project-Team CS reflection and rationale
Infographic project–Team CS Presentation
Jr Level Project–Student sample 1 of booklet deliverable
Jr Level Project–Student Sample 1b of supplemental materials for booklet
Jr. Level Project–Student Sample 2 (academic report AND implementation guide for sponsor)
Kickstarter Project–Student sample of Kickstarter page
Kickstarter Project–Student sample of Reflection (Abbey)
Revision Poject–Prompt for Rhetorical Analysis (groundwork for final project)
Revision Project–Prompt for SAVE revision (brochure and reflection)

Workshop: True Stories of Transformation Through Project-Based Learning – Paula Quinn, Rick Vaz, Kris Wobbe

“I Got Lemons,” “Fear and Loathing in Signals and Systems,” and “Making Milkshakes”: Stories about conversions to, and experiences with, project-based learning that had surprising and happy endings. Whether you’re just starting to get comfortable with project-based learning or you couldn’t imagine ever teaching without it, by the time you leave this session, you’ll have some different perspectives on the power of it to transform learning and lives.

Workshop: Supporting Student Growth and Inclusion through PBL Experiences- Kris Boudreau and David DiBiasio

This workshop, taught by faculty members from Chemical Engineering and Literature, will provide a brief overview of how student-centered disciplinary and trans-disciplinary projects can support the academic, personal and professional development of students from both dominant and underrepresented populations while also promoting a campus culture of inclusivity. We will offer examples and other resources to suggest the range of such projects. Next, we will guide participants through the process of developing a project assignment aimed at meeting curricular learning outcomes while also addressing a problem of interest to underrepresented populations. Our focus will be the broad theme of social justice; working in teams, participants will begin developing a project aimed to foster inclusivity and student growth and engagement.
By the end of the workshop, participants will be able to outline a project relevant to their teaching, based on some topic related to social justice, and of interest to both marginalized and dominant student populations. Drawing on resources and examples provided by workshop leaders as well as the insights of ad-hoc workshop teams, these preliminary projects can be taken home for further development or used to practice further project design.

Tips for Designing Social Justice (SJ) Projects
Some Examples of SJ-Themed Projects
Resources for Social Justice- Themed Projects
Food Security assignment

Workshop: Project-Based Learning in Online Environments – Caitlin Keller and Valerie Smedile Rifkin

This session will address considerations in the design and delivery of project-based learning in online environments.  We will focus primarily on strategies for team formation, setting expectations for collaboration, and facilitation of project work.  Participants will actively engage with strategies in a workshop format during the session and will come away with a set of tools and techniques that they can modify for their own implementation of project-based learning in an online setting.

Workshop materials include:


Workshop: Developing Reflective Prompts for Integrative Learning and Project-Based Learning – J. Elizabeth Clark

Reflection can be a key ingredient for groups or individuals engaged in project-based learning because it offers students the opportunity to process and analyze their learning. It also encourages students to uncover key lessons and results that faculty might not have anticipated. This session will present contemporary theories and styles of reflection in higher education. Participants will compare and contrast effective and ineffective prompts and assignments. Then, participants will individually brainstorm reflective prompts for their project. The group will share and discuss these potential prompts. Participants will leave the workshop with a set of questions to share with their team about the possible role of reflection in their team’s project.

Workshop materials include:

Reflective Writing Prompt
Resources for Reflective Writing & PBL

Workshop: Student Project Team Formation, Development, and Mentoring – Charlie Morse and Lauren Mathews

Project-based learning is most often organized within student teams which are then, formally or informally, tasked with figuring out how to best function together. Many course variables can influence how successfully these student teams function including team selection, structured team development exercises and team evaluation models. This interactive workshop will help participants better understand predictable conflicts which can and will emerge and how conflict avoidance is most often at the heart of team dysfunction.  Additionally participants will examine various faculty roles in supporting student team success before, during and after project-based learning experiences.

Workshop materials include:

A Simple Peer Evaluation Form
Initial Self-assessment for Teamwork
Outside Consultation Model
Preliminary Self-evaluation for Discussion
Project Selection Form
Self and Team Evaluation-IQP
Self-Peer Evaluation-Formative Summative
Stages of Group Development

Workshop: Integrating PBL into Engineering Courses – Sarah Wodin-Schwartz

In this workshop, attendees will be walked through a process of integrating projects into core engineering courses. Examples will show ways in which projects can be used to meet several types of learning outcomes for classes of varying enrollments. Several scaffolding and course integration techniques will be discussed, as well as methods to incorporate student choice within project work. Participants will be given time throughout the workshop to develop course learning objectives and consider ways in which projects can be used to demonstrate student progress in the course.

Workshop materials include:

ES2501 syllabus excerpt
ES2502 syllabus excerpt
Ballon Project Guidelines A18
Ninja Warrior Project Assignment Overview
Project Assignment Submission 1
Project Assignment Submission 2
Project Assignment Submission 3
Project Assignment Submission 4

Thursday, June 20, 1:00-2:15 p.m.

Workshop: Making Space for Projects in CoursesKris Wobbe

“How can I possibly add a project to my course! It’s already packed!” This is a common concern for faculty considering adding projects to their courses. In this session we will discuss several strategies for creating space for projects, and the value in doing so. Participants will identify an approach to use in their own courses and do some preliminary planning on how to gain the benefits of project-based learning without compromising the content of the course.

Workshop materials include:

Fitting Projects into Courses

Workshop: Working Towards More Equitable Team Dynamics: Mapping Student Assets to Minimize Stereotyping and Task Assignment Bias- Geoff Pfeifer and Lisa Stoddard

Our graduates will enter a diverse workforce and need to be prepared to work with people of differing backgrounds. Studies show that diverse teams are better at solving problems and innovating. Research also shows that bias and stereotyping on teams can eliminate these benefits and reduce student learning. We have developed several tools and modules to help students and faculty identify, manage, and mitigate these issues. Asset mapping and team asset charting are two tools we have used with over 150 students on project teams. Our research shows these tools can improve equitable and effective teamwork by overcoming stereotypes, building student confidence, and minimizing task assignment bias. Workshop participates will engage with these tools on teams as their own students would. They will fill out asset maps and discuss their assets (backgrounds, experiences, interests) with their team members. Team members will then determine who will take on what parts of a sample project based on each member’s assets and areas they want to develop. Participants will also see how we use a mid-project team processing sheet to help student teams assess their teamwork and trouble shoot problem areas. After testing the tools, participants will work to adapt them to their own classes, assignments, and projects.

Workshop materials include:

IPBL Powerpoint Presentation
Asset Chart Handout
Map Chart Handout
Team Processing Sheet
GPS Research

Workshop: Supporting Collaboration and Task Management in Student Project Teams – Lorraine Higgins

Managing the complexity of open-ended projects can be quite challenging for students newly freed from the structured guidance of classroom assignments. Such projects are often assigned to student teams with the hope that students can learn from one another and distribute the workload. But collaboration can also introduce additional challenges. Students may struggle with time management and the division of labor; they may experience difficulty tracking and negotiating conflict. And in the face of information overload and competing ideas, they may have difficulty articulating a coherent vision to guide their work. This workshop complements training in team dynamics and diversity awareness, introducing specific literate practices and tools that can help students manage collaborative project work. We’ll review useful collaboration and task management tools, including the use of shared websites and online task schedulers, as well as team writing and discussion activities that can help with goal setting, conflict analysis, and self-assessment. In addition, we’ll discuss how faculty who advise student projects might assign self-assessment reports and “Assertion-Evidence” (Alley, 2013) presentations to help students communicate their progress and synthesize a more coherent conceptual framework from the research of individual team members. Participants will be asked to consider how such tools might support their own students’ collaborative process.

Workshop materials include:

HANDOUTS Task Management in Student Project Teams

Workshop: Capstone Projects in the STEM Disciplines – Destin Heilman and Fred Looft

This workshop will examine the design and implementation of PBL-based integrative experiences as a capstone in STEM disciplines.  Such experiences can be course-based but may also be standalone experiential activities.  These can be individual or team-based and might include research, design, or performance-based activities.  We will explore connecting the design of the activity to general and discipline-specific learning outcomes, and assessing student performance at the process and product levels.  The session will be interactive with time to engage attendees from similar disciplines in small groups.

Workshop: Fostering Project-Based Learning with External Partnerships – Mike Elmes, Allen Hoffman, and Scott Jiusto

Inviting “project sponsors” from outside the classroom to challenge students with a real, interesting, non-trivial problem to address can often enhance the learning experience for students and provide value to sponsors. This worksheet poses questions for program developers to consider when thinking about if and how to work with project sponsors, whether that be the campus facilities department, a local government agency, a small non-profit organization, an international company, etc. The worksheet is designed to be used flexibly and adapted to fit the particular needs of any given program.

Workshop materials include:

IPBL Handout 1
IPBL Handout 2

Workshop: ePortfolios for Project-Based Learning – J. Elizabeth Clark

Uniquely suited to project-based learning, ePortfolios have been an important part of the discussion in higher education for the past fifteen years. During that time, our understanding of the purpose, practice, and pedagogy of ePortfolios has shifted increasingly towards student-centered uses of ePortfolios that privilege process, inquiry-based learning, reflection, and multimodal composing. This workshop will provide a very brief overview of contemporary uses of ePortfolios in higher education and showcase 2 examples of student ePortfolios. Then, participants will focus on brainstorming and planning for  project-based ePortfolios. Participants will leave the workshop with a checklist of items to consider for implementing project-based ePortfolio and resources to further explore ePortfolios in higher education.

Workshop materials include:

ePortfolio Handout PBL Planning
ePortfolio Resources Web

Workshop: Using Rubrics in Project Work Paula Quinn and Terry Rhodes

This session will focus on many of the ways that rubrics can be used with project work: to convey quality standards to students, to evaluate student work, to support student self- and peer-assessment, and to evaluate programs. The session will include discussion of how to construct useful rubrics and the differences between a) using rubrics for purposes of grading and b) scoring with rubrics for broader purposes such as program evaluation. Examples of different types of rubrics will be shared. Rubric construction can be a time-intensive process, so participants will be challenged to consider the costs and benefits of using rubrics in their project work with students.

Workshop Materials Include:

AAC&U Value Rubrics – Quantitative Literacy
Rubric for Presentations
Projects Assessment Rubric with LOs
Intro to Materials Science
Original Assignment Instructions
Original Cover Sheet
New Assignment Instructions – Annotated
New Cover Sheet
Grading Rubric
Workshop Overview
Rubrics Work Exhibit
Rubrics in Project Work