UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA,
PBL COURSE SURVEY SPRING
Craig G. Longuevan
Research, Evaluation, and Grants
Division of Undergraduate Education
12 June 2000
PBL COURSE SURVEY
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.
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
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
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
Econ 10C, Soc
Sci 10C Spring 2000