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Northwest Missouri State University

Margaret  Drew

Margaret Drew

Margaret Drew, Associate Professor
Curriculum and Instruction Department
Problem Based Learning Unit

Modeling excellent teaching is extremely important to Dr. Margaret Drew, Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction. Dr. Drew collaborated with CITE in developing a problem-based learning unit for her course Diagnostic and Corrective Reading which is a senior level course. She believes this instructional technique is a good way to assess how much students have learned and how well they can apply it. Dr. Drew feels that her students responded positively to the unit because of the real world scenario it provides. Problem-based learning is an instructional strategy used to engage students in active learning that guides students through problem-solving real-world issues.

In Dr. Drew's project, an open-ended scenario presents the problem statement. Next, students are placed into groups to represent one of three characters: parent, classroom teacher, or principal. In Step 3, individuals create a concept map to share with their character's group members, which includes questions and possible hypotheses for exploration. Once these individual maps have been shared with the group, they are posted to the character's discussion board. At this point, students can either meet with group members in a face-to-face setting, or post to a threaded discussion area for think-pair-share.

During a think-pair-share session, a master list of all hypotheses and possible solutions is created (referring back to individual concept maps if needed). Next, students select the best solutions through consensus and search for evidence to support their character's position. After research has been completed, students update the hypotheses and solutions in the character group's threaded discussion area. At this point, a shared concept map is developed to narrow the hypotheses to one or two and represent the group's further defined solution sets.

Finally, students break into Jigsaw triads (one parent, one teacher, one principal) and each member represents the chosen character's point of view in a three-way conference concerning the student's future learning goals. This conference procedure may take place in a face-to-face or online meeting (chat meeting, video conference or threaded discussion). Following the Jigsaw triad, students individually reflect on what has been learned about authentic problem solving from the exercise and summarize what was learned from each character's discussion. This reflection is entered into a paper journal or online journal applications within courseware.

Crystal Wales, CITE Multimedia Developer worked closely with Dr. Drew to design and develop the unit for her course. This particular project was designed as a unit within the eCollege course management software. Groups, threaded discussion, and C-Map concept mapping software were used to organize and design the unit. If you are interested in learning more about Dr. Drew's problem-based learning unit, please contact the CITE Office or Dr. Drew.

Dr. Drew and Lori Mardis presented on the topic of problem-based learning at the 2007 Distance Learning Conference in Madison, Wisconsin and shared this project with participants. For additional information about problem-based learning: