University of California, Irvine
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Hewlett Foundation


 
     

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, IRVINE

HEWLETT PROBLEM-BASED LEARNING INITIATIVE
PBL COURSE SURVEY SPRING 2000
ECONOMICS 10C/SOCIAL SCIENCE 10C

 

Craig G. Longuevan
Research, Evaluation, and Grants
Division of Undergraduate Education

12 June 2000

 

HEWLETT PROBLEM-BASED LEARNING INITIATIVE
PBL COURSE SURVEY
ECONOMICS 10C/SOCIAL SCIENCE 10C

 

Introduction

Professor B. Grofman participated in the first Hewlett Foundation-funded Problem-Based Learning Faculty Institute (winter, 2000). He re-designed Economics 10C/Social Science 10C (Probability and Statistics) during the Institute, and taught the course in spring quarter.

On the last day of instruction, students in the class were asked to contribute to the evaluation of the PBL initiative by completing a course survey and the standardized Problem-Solving Inventory. Approximately half of the students present agreed to do so. Thirteen students completed the Problem-Solving Inventory, and eleven completed the course survey. This report looks at studentsí responses to the course survey.

Findings

For survey items 1-4 students indicated agreement or disagreement on a scale from 1 (agree strongly) to 6 (disagree strongly).

Ninety-one per cent of responses (20 of 22) to items 1 and 2 indicated agreement that the PBL project in this particular course required more time and effort from students than projects in comparable courses. Seventy-three per cent of responses (16 of 22) agreed strongly.

Responses to item 3 showed studentsí perceptions of the usefulness of peer and group interactions in completing the PBL assignment. Nine students of 11 agreed that these dynamics had helped, six of them agreeing strongly. Two disagreed slightly.

For item 4, the students all agreed that the courseís PBL project enabled them to develop a deeper understanding of statistical analysis. Eight students agreed strongly with the assertion, 1 agreed moderately, and 2 agreed slightly.

Items 5-8 asked students to evaluate their experience in, and evaluation of, the PBL project. Item 5 asked students to compare their experience in the PBL project to their experience in the course before the project. Six of the 7 responses indicated students thought it enabled them to learn more and to gain more "hands-on experience". One of the responses commented that before the project the course "was just practice w/out real world experience". Another noted that the project was "a very helpful learning experience for my future work in research and problem solving".

Responses to item 6 reflected this positive perception of the PBL project. Five respondents all stated that they had improved their ability to think and to analyze.

Only 4 students made concrete suggestions to improve the project (item 7). One student wrote that he should have put more effort into the project. Two thought that more time ought to be given to the project. One wished for fewer data to sift through, and one wanted the information to be more accessible.

Item 8 asked students if similar PBL projects should be part of other courses they would be taking. All five respondents agreed. Comments focused on the helpfulness of learning material in this new way to studentsí academic development and career plans.

Overall, then, studentsí responses to this course survey showed a positive perception of how the PBL project functioned within the course and of the benefits students derived from this introduction to PBL. Furthermore, students saw PBL as a learning experience they would like integrated into other courses they would be taking.

 

HEWLETT PBL INITIATIVE

Course Survey Results

Econ 10C, Soc Sci 10C Spring 2000

 

1. The problem-based learning project in this course required more of my time than other projects in comparable social science courses.

    1

    Agree strongly

    2

    Agree moderately

    3

    Agree slightly

    4

    Disagree slightly

    5

    Disagree moderately

    6

    Disagree strongly

    Total responses

    Average rating

    8

    2

    1

    0

    0

    0

    11

    1.4

     

     

2. The problem-based learning project in this course required more effort on my part than other projects in comparable social science courses.

    1

    Agree strongly

    2

    Agree moderately

    3

    Agree slightly

    4

    Disagree slightly

    5

    Disagree moderately

    6

    Disagree strongly

    Total responses

    Average rating

    8

    1

    1

    2

    0

    0

    11

    1.9

     

     

3. The problem-based learning project in this course provided peer and group interactions useful to me in completing the assignment.

    1

    Agree strongly

    2

    Agree moderately

    3

    Agree slightly

    4

    Disagree slightly

    5

    Disagree moderately

    6

    Disagree strongly

    Total responses

    Average rating

    6

    2

    1

    2

    0

    0

    11

    1.9

     

     

4. The problem-based learning project in this course enabled me to develop a deeper understanding of statistical analysis.

    1

    Agree strongly

    2

    Agree moderately

    3

    Agree slightly

    4

    Disagree slightly

    5

    Disagree moderately

    6

    Disagree strongly

    Total responses

    Average rating

    8

    1

    2

    0

    0

    0

    11

    1.5

     

     

5. How would you compare your experience in the problem-based learning project with your experience in the course before the project?
  • I liked learning statistics in a structured manner because I took 10A & 10B over a year ago, but the project was helpful, yet very frustrating.
  • With the project, I believe I learned more info about statistics since it is more real-life related.
  • I received more of a hands-on experience where I learned greater understanding and experience w/group interactions. It was a very helpful learning experience for my future work in research and problem solving.
  • Itís very different, but I believe if the project was not presented it would be the same learning.
  • Learn a little more about myself that I didnít really thought about before.
  • I loved it itís very hands-on & allows students to use actual skills learned in class.
  • It was just practice w/out real world experience.

 

6. How did you benefit by participating in this courseís problem-based learning project?
  • Learn little more about myself.
  • It gave me a sense of group oriented. Helped me to see what goes on in a research and survey kind of study.
  • The project helped me to think deeper and related individual items together.
  • I learned new analysis techniques.
  • It helps me learn how to apply methods in class to real world experience.

 

7. How would you improve the problem-based learning project for this course?
  • Less data to sift through.
  • I would probably try to put more effort in it as time permits
  • More time, that is all. Also the information available would be better accessible.
  • None.
  • More time.

 

8. Do you think similar problem-based learning projects should be part of other courses you will be taking? Why or why not?
  • Yes, it will help people a little more about themselves.
  • Yes, it will definitely help with getting out of midterm final routine and follow different ways of learning.
  • Yes, I strongly suggest. I believe with more real-life related problem-based learning projects, we as students can learn more and relate it maybe to our own life experience.
  • Yes, Iím going to business school.
  • Yes, because it helps you realize that you actually will use stuff you learn in class outside of class.