Using PBCL Within the Context of Content Heavy Curriculum Converting a Traditional structure to the PBCL Strategy

At least once during our Problem Bases Case Learning (PBCL) trainings, in either the Ω day orientation or 2-day design and development workshops, questions are raised regarding at what level of instruction can the PBCL strategy be implemented. Is it only effective at the “capstone” level, or can it be implemented in entry-level classes as well? Or in simpler language, how much prior knowledge do the students need to have before being able to effectively work in the PBCL environment? And while our answer is that the PBCL strategy is a strategy that can be utilized at all levels of instruction, we have never actually defined a methodology that explains how this can be achieved. In fact, it is this lack of definition that has limited my implementation of the PBCL strategy in my classes. In the pages that follow, I am going to describe the process I used to move two of my classes to a fuller application of the PBCL strategy.

The PBCL strategy is predicated on the introduction of a business partner who presents a real world, unsolved business problem into the classroom. The process follows the cycle shown in figure 1, and is a powerful teaching strategy for the following reasons. First, the introduction of a business partner and the unsolved business problem create a context for learning wherein the students are able to achieve a high level of agency and independence in their learning process. This opportunity exists because the students are put in a position where they must choose how they will solve the problems confronting them instead of being handed a recipe to follow. Subsequently, this independence requires them to predict the outcomes of their actions, and then assess if those actions resulted in the desired results.

Second, this independence creates a need for the students to confront their preconceived notions regarding the “correct” way of doing something, in order to ascertain which of the multiple techniques available to them best fits the situation at hand. Finally, the process requires the

 

Fig. 1

 

Second, this independence creates a need for the students to confront their preconceived notions regarding the “correct” way of doing something, in order to ascertain which of the multiple techniques available to them best fits the situation at hand. Finally, the process requires the students to identify how they “see” the problems, then choose a path to take to solve those problems, and finally to assess the validity of those choices. Taken together, these stages can give the student a practical way to develop a metacognitive process for approaching problem solving, which can results in a learning process that can lead to higher levels of understanding of the material, and to better transfer across disciplines.

All of the team members connected with the dissemination of the PBCL strategy have heard success stories from practitioners of PBCL, but for educators considering moving to the PBCL, the question stills remains as to how much prior knowledge a student needs before being put in a position to use the PBCL approach. Since our primary consideration when choosing a teaching strategy must be making the material accessible to our students, it is fair to ask how beneficial it would be to introduce a business partner and unsolved business problem to a classroom of students who know nothing about the class material and who therefore have few or any preconceived notions other than that there is a right way and a wrong way to solve the problem.

I developed the curriculum for and teach both the introductory and advanced classes of Autodeskís Revit, a 3D modeling software. The subject matter for both classes are extremely “content heavy,” and requires the transmission of a considerable amount of “how to” information to the students, and it is this aspect of the classes that has kept me from fully implementing the PBCL strategy in these classes. The best I have been able to do to date is use a hybrid version of the strategy in Revit II, by bringing a business partner into class on the first day to present a project to the class. I then used this project to frame the course work for the rest of the semester. In short, I limited my usage of the PBCL cycle to the first three stages, (Fig. 1).

This approach served me well, to a degree. It gave the class a touchstone that allowed me to tie the lectures to a context that I could come back to again and again. In the end though, the comments I kept hearing from the class were, “Why didnít we start working with the partner earlier,” and “There wasnít enough time for the final project.”

With Revit I, this class has always followed a traditional lecture/lab structure, with a large final project produced over the course of the last 5 weeks. The project was designed to allow the students revisit the lessons from the semester by recreated a design from a drawing package that I supplied to them. During last summerís session, I had an epiphany though. As my class progressed through the final, I realized that at least 25% of the question asked revolved around finding where specific information was in the package, or on trying to replicate the elements of the design using the exact technique that I had used when I created the drawing package. It become apparent to me that the project itself was restricting the students thought process. It was then that I decided then to convert both classes to a format that more fully utilized the PBCL strategy.

As I considered adopting the PBCL strategy in these classes there were some significant obstacles that I had to overcome. Some were specific to the introductory class, Revit I, but some applied to both classes. My perceived obstacles were:

  1. How do I introduce the business partner and subsequently the business problem to the class when they were completely unfamiliar with the software (Revit I)?
  2. How do I organize the information and lectures so that the class members would still be able to work at their own pace, but not grind to a halt because they had worked past the level of content knowledge (Revit I & II)?
  3. How do I reinforce the material covered in the lectures if the specific labs were being replaced with the final project (Revit I & II)?
  4. How do I assess the classesí progress if there were no labs and everybody was working at their own pace (Revit I & II)?
  5. How could I give the necessary lectures to the class without having to give the same lecture over and over again on an individual basis, as each student came to need the information
  6. How do I deal with the studentís frustration about “not being properly prepped” to do the work asked of them. After all, not all students relish being thrust into the “driverís seat” in this manner.

My reformatting process started with Revit I, since that appeared to be the class that represented the biggest conversion. To get started, I decided to create a visual representation of the material I needed to cover over the course of a semester. The results of the initial flowchart are shown in figure 2, and though the print is too small to make out the individual items, what should be clear is that the steps used to complete the project are listed above the line, while the supporting content knowledge needed to complete those steps is shown below the line.

This initial visual was helpful in that it gave me a way of seeing the coursework in a way that was less linear, and therefore the opportunity to make connections between the drawing process and the supporting content in a new way. But the results of this first attempt were in no way conclusive, so I continued this process by producing more flow charts, shown in figures 3, and 4. Over the course of a few weeks the process of creating the flow charts allowed me to continue to integrate the two parts of the class into a more unified vision.

 

Fig. 2

 

Fig.3

Fig. 4

By the time I had created the flow chart shown in figure 5, I had a vision of the class that more fully integrated the supporting content with the stages of drawing the final project. This new environment was one that was more fluid in nature than the environment I had created in any of the previous iterations of the class.

A key component of working within PBCL strategy is the need to identify the participantís preconceived notions about the presented problems. The more I worked in this visual format, the more I was able to see my preconceived notions regarding how I needed to approach teaching this class. I was starting to see the structure more in terms of how things were connected and less in terms of what order the information needed to be presented, and this allowed me to start re-structuring the class around the addition of a business partner.

Fig. 5

Figure 6 shows the first version of a linear syllabus. This still utilizes a flow chart format, but it starts to apply a linear structure to the previous versions and allowed me to start answering some of the pesky scheduling issues that needed to be addressed. As you can see, the structure of the chart allowed me to outline the topics (previously referred to as content) with the schedule, exercises, desired outcomes, and finally, methods of assessing the work being done.

The order of the first three columns (topic, schedule and exercise list), reflects my vision of how I would approach creating the assigned project, and does represent my “manipulation” of the process. Admittedly, this kind of manipulation does not represent a “textbook” definition of how to employ the PBCL strategy and would probably not be necessary in a capstone class. But given the amount of content I needed to present to the class so that they would be able to complete the assignment, it was necessary to “impose” this structure on the class. It is important to understand that the implementation of the PBCL strategy exists on a spectrum, and while the structure that the syllabus shown in figure 6 may not be the purest interpretation of the PBCL strategy, it did allow me the freedom to satisfy two of the key constraints that I defined at the beginning of the process. Those were to create an environment that introduced an unsolved business problem into the class while still presenting new content to the students.

The last two columns of the syllabus show the outcomes I hope the students will achieve and the assessment protocols I planned to use over the course of the semester. The assessment issue was a tricky one that required a great deal of thought. The problem was that much of the assessment tools I had been using were tied to the completion of lab projects and were therefore no longer valid. Some of the assessments were still useful though, as I was still able to tie the lectures to chapters in the text, and homework to those chapters. I was also still able to give quizzes and a mid term exam. The students were now in a position to get hands on knowledge from the project being provided by the business partner, and vocabulary and other “book knowledge” from the homework assignments.

My process for converting Revit II to a more full implementation of the PBCL strategy was considerably easier than the process taken for Revit I, because Revit II was already being implemented as a PBCL class, though as I mentioned earlier, it was more of a hybrid. I tweaked the placement of certain lessons, and then moved the start of the final project to the first day of class, but most of the content has stayed the same.

 

Fig. 6

 

To summarize, let me go back to the six questions I posed at the beginning of this paper, and now give the answers I discovered over the course of this process.

  1. How do I introduce the business partner and subsequently the business problem to the class when they were completely unfamiliar with the software (Revit I)?
  • In order to answer this question, I decided to start the class with two weeks using the traditional lecture and lab format. I had introductory lessons that I used in the previous iterations of the class, so I simply used those to introduce the students to the interface and basic tools of the software program. This gave most of the students a good enough understanding to be able to start approaching the business partners problem. There are some students who did not become familiar enough after the initial two projects and who needed a bit more individual help.
  1. How do I organize the information and lectures so that the class members would still be able to work at their own pace, but not grind to a halt because they had worked past the level of content knowledge (Revit I & II)?
  • Here the onus was on me to be flexible. I needed to be able to answer the questions that were raised by those students who were ready to move ahead, though there have been times when I directed them to work that still needed to be finished before they moved on to new aspects of the project. Again, the key here is to be flexible, and to be able to scaffold the learning process appropriately for all the students in the class.
  1. How do I reinforce the material covered in the lectures if the specific labs were being replaced with the final project (Revit I & II)?
  • Well as it turns out, the business problem is offering that opportunity in even more ways than I imagined. In fact, the students are generating their own questions and solutions about how to solve the problems at hand at a rate that is much higher than in previous sessions of the class. I am actually going to cover more content in both classes than I have stated on the syllabus.
  1. How do I assess the classesí progress if there were no labs and everybody was working at their own pace (Revit I & II)?
  • In addition to the information I presented previously, I introduced the practice of writing reflection papers to the class. These papers give me a way to assess what the students are learning and where they are stuck, in a way that has the potential to give me more insight into what they understand.
  1. How could I give the necessary lectures to the class without having to give the same lecture over and over again on an individual basis, as each student came to need the information
  • To resolve this issue, I have been creating video tutorials that I then post in a network folder that all of my students have access to. This asynchronous framework creates a way for the students to access the information when they need to review content previously covered. I am still available to answer any question that they may have, but I am not giving the same lecture over and over again.
  1. How do I deal with the studentís frustration about “not being properly prepped” to do the work asked of them. After all, not all students relish being thrust into the “driverís seat” in this manner.
  • This has actually not been a problem at all. There have been those few students who need more guidance regarding how to start and who seem tentative about taking the reins, but none have balked at being asked to do so.

The process of moving to a fuller implementation of the PBCL process has been an interesting and gratifying experience. I am happy to be able to share this experience with you, and to finally have a valid answer for those educators who, like me, are in a position of having to present large amounts of content, but who want to take advantage of the power of contextual learning in general, and specifically, in PBCL. For more information about the PBCL process, please visit our website, www.makinglearningreal.org.

 

 

 

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Monitor team activities to reinforce skills

To support PBCL within your classroom it is often necessary to prepare as well as reinforce the “teamwork” skills of your students.

We teach an introductory IT course at Iowa Western Community College that uses Problem-based Case Learning. We spend several weeks at the beginning of the course teaching teamwork skills such as listening, sharing knowledge, brainstorming, and consensus building. I have used team building activities that I found on-line and corny team discussions like which two super heroes could defeat all others in a tag-team wrestling match.

We also discuss the different roles that team members assume; facilitator, recorder, negotiator, realist, idealist, and out-side-the-box thinker. I have also used personality surveys to get the student to understand how they and others on their team think.

It is then my job as facilitator to remind the students to use their ‘Team’ skills as they work on their case problems during the rest of the semester. It is important to monitor the team activities, redirecting them into good team and problem-solving behaviors and attitudes

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Reflections on PBCL

I was introduced to PBCL by Gerhard Salinger in 2002. He told me to look up PBCL as part of a grant we got in 2002. I was the Program Head for Information Technology at Northern Virginia Community College at the time. I contacted Ruth Loring and I asked her to teach me about PBCL. She coached me remotely through the PBCL process. I created my first PBCL case with her coaching and used it in my courses. The case was an online time keeping application. It was not a real problem from a real business partner but it allowed me to learn the process of designing PBCL.

I found PBCL to be more engaging with my students and had many success stories from my courses. I have students who became VP of technology, work as consultants, and became developers from this approach. The real world approach of problem solving help my students learn the soft skills that our employers kept telling us our students needed to know.

I transitioned with Ruth’s help to become a coach and participated in many orientations and design and development institutes. We delivered training to Virginia, Maryland, and Nebraska. I also developed several PBCL cases myself through a business partner. His name is Guy Hinkler, CEO of V2 Systems. We developed several cases and I did video shoots at his office. I had several faculty use these cases in Virginia. One case was a security issue at a data center which was about stealing of data. Another case was a security issue at a hotel in Washington DC. I also worked with Ruth on developing of a Cigna case that is about medical records and how to deal with different kinds of medical records.

When I was hired by Capella University in 2004, I tried to integrate PBCL principles into the IT program as a core and now as a chair. We were able to have cases using all the tools of PBCL but not live business partners. The problems were simulated but real problems faced by professionals in the field. But, we provided learners the opportunity to use real business partners in each course as an option and some learners did select that option every term. We were able to use real business partners in our capstone course. PBCL has influenced the undergraduate IT program at Capella and has differentiated the program from other competitors.

During one term, I used the PBCL approach with a learner who wanted to learn how to program on the iPhone. There was a problem with tracking bibliography entries and there was not an application to do that. My learner decided to design this application. His stakeholders were faculty and other learners.

Since graduation, he works as an independent consultant for a startup called Data Makes the Difference. This company markets and sells a successful line of applications to help treat children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. His main function is as lead architect. As such he is responsible for the entire product line of iOS applications and their Team Web Portal. The product line started out as a bespoke set of set of iOS applications, but was recently integrated with a .NET based web service. When he signed on with the company in September of 2010, their products were suffering from severe quality issues due to poor outsourcing choices. He redesigned and refactored the applications as my first task.

I also worked on my doctorate and PBCL influenced my doctoral work and my dissertation. I am a big proponent of PBCL and a PBCL evangelist & coach. I continue to promote PBCL as a teaching methodology and try to integrate it into our programs at Capella.

Dr Keith Morneau, Chair, IT, Capella University

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Using PBCL in Sociology

A few years back a respected colleague suggested that I participate in a series of trainings and workshops focused on project-case based learning. The pedagogy was a natural fit for my style of teaching. I have always had group work and team project components and the task of creating a course entirely with these ideas excited me. The very first sociologists had visions of using sociology to build a better world, and thatís a large part of what modern applied sociologists want to do. Sociologists tend to use their sociological tool kit to find answers to practical problems. I became convinced that this type of learning environment will work for an often under educated, low income and second language population and in turn help with retention and success for all students. Implementing this style of learning in Sociology 101, I hoped the skills gained would allow for further student success in other areas of their lives. In the process of teaching the principles of the discipline, students are getting real life experiences in which to frame the sociological concepts.

In fall of 2009, I began to implement some of the practices and in spring of 2010 I revised and adjusted the class to address some class management issues. The four week summer session in 2010 had two sections of sociology 101 and I was pleased with the results and had a clearer idea on my weak links and needed revisions.

Fall 2010, 300 Sociology 101 students (six sections) were involved in project based activities designed to meet the course objectives. I began to more clearly define my grading rubrics and apply the strategies that had worked in the past while “trying on” new ways of implementation of delivery and measurement. One of the challenges was course management. I turned to CSN Serves for focus and record keeping. CSN Serves is the Service Learning component of student life and several non-profit agencies are committed to guiding the students in their activities. Students were expected to document their project and hours of service. CSN Serves representatives gave me a final report on the studentsí activities and hours. In the spring semester I had an even clearer focus on how to organize vast numbers of students.

240 students are registered in my classes this coming semester. By implementing the semester project early in the semester and by selecting agencies already partnered with CSN, I can better align the curricular objectives with the course. The projects will be generated in close alliance with the agency point business person.

My institution has been generous enough to allow my classes to meet in a computerized class room and the icing is that the room was formerly a drafting room and these tables serve as conference tables for my students. Also, a special project emerged out of this sociology lab. Last year and the month of June the classroom turns in to a study hall and workshops are provided to assist students in all kinds of skill building. On Monday through Thursday from 12:30 to 5:30 the lab is open. Snacks are provided courtesy of student government. Students come to study and to be a part of the S.H.I.N.E. Project. Work study students, CSN Serves volunteers, faculty and staff find a great space to collaborate and participate. The project sponsored more than 30 workshops last spring in partnership with the re-entry folks, the library staff, faculty and students. The fall schedule is under development and includes weekly faculty-student “Brown Bag” lunch discussions. The most exciting thing about the project is that the “Project Showcase”, the teams make final presentations of their semester projects at “Bring a Guest” to school. The guest can be the business partner, a parent, grandparent, friend or anyone interested in the student. Students will be responsible for developing advertising materials and scheduling of the showcases within the framework of the course work.

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Teaching to the Test?

Recently, I had the opportunity teach an entry-level AutoCAD class at an organization that provided, and required its instructors to use, the courseís final examination. This was a new experience for me, as I had always enjoyed a certain amount of academic autonomy when it came to student assessment. As I examined the exam, I was struck by how much material was being tested, and by how “vocabulary-heavy” the test was. My tendency is to not put the primary focus on vocabulary, choosing instead to teach from concept, to application, and finally to vocabulary. As such, my assessments typically focus more on testing the studentís conceptual and practical understanding of the material, and not on the studentsí knowledge of terms. This allows the vocabulary, which is vital to the studentís ability to work with the software, to be rooted in something concrete. The final projects that I assign are designed to help the student develop his or her drafting process, and to discover how well the student can navigate the software.

The problem facing me revolved around finding a way to cover the material on the test in an effective and meaningful way that led to a better understanding of the material, while preparing them to take the mandated final exam. The more I considered how to approach the class however, the clearer it was becoming that the final test was becoming the driving force the development of my lesson plan.

When I discussed the situation with friends and colleagues in and out of academia, the response was universal: that I was planning to “teach to the test.” This stopped me in my tracks and made me step back. Was that what I was doing? Could I really be doing the unthinkable and performing the dastardly act of “teaching to the test”? I decided that before I could move forward, I had to determine if this was true,, and for me that meant that I had to first develop a working definition for the phrase “teaching to the test.”

When I hear the phrase “teaching to the test,” I interpret it as follows: A situation where an educator is: A) determining what material to present to the class based on the final test, and B), is presenting that material without a great deal of concern for whether the students leave the class with a high degree of understanding.

Defined in this way, this is something to be avoided. But, what if you were carrying out the first part of the definition stated above, but not the second. Certainly a distinction needs to be made between the definition given above and using the exam to determine what material to cover. If not, then any teacher who is required to cover material on a standardized test could be painted with this broad, and often derogatory, brush. There has to be a way to use the test as a basis for the lesson plan, while still teaching with understanding.

Now, a blog devoted to the dissemination of Problem Based Case Learning (PBCL) may seem like an odd place to start this discussion, but to me it seems like the perfect forum. For those of us who prefer a learning environment that is contextual and problem based, the question of implementing assessment protocols that meet the requirements of district or government standards is of major import. Furthermore, if we want more people to adopt PBCL or PBL strategies, we will have to find ways to work within the parameters set by administrations that are more comfortable with, and therefore, more inclined to rely on some kind of standardized test as the primary form of summative assessment.

So the question remains, “how can we take pre-defined exams and use them as the basis for curriculum without teaching in a way that emphasizes rote memorization, and that allows for and encourages a high level of understanding, while still preparing for the exam”? To answer this question I went back to the final exam. I needed to determine to determine whether the questions being asked were good ones, and by extension, if I felt that the material that I was being asked to cover was relevant. Admittedly, I did not have a choice as to whether or not I was going to give the test, but I needed to know if I could stand behind the test. As I analyzed the final exam more closely, it became clear that the questions were valid and were based on concepts that I felt should be covered in an introductory CAD class I would have preferred giving tests that use the short answer format rather than multiple-choice questions, but at least I could move forward with faith in what I was being asked to cover.

Bolstered by this newfound confidence in the material, I then needed to determine how I was going to present the material to the class in a way that would allow them to absorb the information, apply it effectively, and prepare them to take the exam. Given the large amount of content I needed to cover, and the fact that the class periods were strictly divided into lecture and lab sections, this was not an easy task. What follows is an outline of the process I developed.

  • LECTURE:

I used the lecture section of the class to cover the parts of the specific chapter(s) being covered that I found the most useful when I was drafting professionally. By focusing on these “highpoints,” I was able to “cut through the chaff,” as it were, and give some focus to the text. Books devoted to teaching technical material are by their very nature heavy with jargon and vocabulary. Therefore, it can often be difficult to differentiate between what is essential, what is important, what is interesting, and finally what is irrelevant. This can be especially true if you are new to the material.

My goal when I lecture is to engage the students in a discussion about the material, rather than give a recitation of the material. To do this, I pose a situation and ask the students to tell me what needs to happen. To be clear about this; I am not asking them to tell me HOW to do something, but to identify WHAT needs to be done. Once they know what the point is, I show them the tools that the software offers to help them solve the problem.

  • HOMEWORK:

The homework was assigned to give the students a way to delve deeper into the material I was covering in the chapters and lectures, while also reinforcing the vocabulary that I knew would be on the final exam. I was lucky in that the text we were using supplied three exercises (multiple choice, matching, and true/false questions,) that when assigned together, reinforced that material covered in the corresponding chapters by asking questions about the material from different pints of view.

  • QUIZZES:

The quizzes served a two-fold purpose. The first was to reinforce the material covered in the homework assignments. The second purpose was to get them used to the format of the final exam. Over the course of an 11-week quarter, I was able to give ten, ten question quizzes that replicated the structure of the final exam. Half of the questions were taken from the lectures and homework assignments while the other half were taken from the final exam, tough they were re-worded slightly. Over the course of the quarter, the students were given 100 questions, and buried within those questions were the 50 questions similar to the ones that would be found on the final. This allowed me to reinforce the material while also familiarizing the students to the format of the final exam.

  • LABS:

The labs were designed to allow the students to work their way through drawing projects that would give them opportunities to get practical experience with the software. The labs fell into two categories. The first walked the student through a step-by-step process. The second were project based that gave the students the opportunity to implement their own solutions as they went about drawing the various projects. Both types of labs serve a purpose, though the value of the step-by-step “recipe” type was short lived. Within two weeks or so, the students have started to develop their own ideas about how they want to proceed. This is the point at which the projects that gave them the freedom to explore the software on their terms, and make their own assessments regarding the validity and usefulness of those choices.

During the labs, the process used in the lectures of having them determine what needed to happen and then associating an action to that need was reinforced. In the labs, I emphasized the importance of developing some kind of assessment process that would allow them to determine how well their choices worked. Here is a broad stroke outline of the process I wanted them to develop:

  • Determining the desired goal,
  • Identify what would constitute success,
  • Identifying a course of action,
  • Predicting the outcome,
    • This was critical. I wanted them to get used to the idea of picturing what they thought would happen at every stage, and then compare that vision to what actually happened. The goal was not to be right every time, but to get them to visualize the entire process. The more clearly and definitively they could picture the predicted outcome, the sooner they would know whether or not it worked.
  • Implementing the course of action, and then
  • Assessing the results by asking questions like:
    • Does it look like you thought it would,
    • Does it look like it is supposed to look,
    • What would you do differently,
    • Which tools worked like you expected them to,
    • Which tools would you never use again,

Whether the outcomes matched the goals stated at the beginning of the exercise, the assessment protocol was essential the same. At each stage of the project, I pushed the students to get used to the process of performing this type of simple assessment. The goal of these “in-process” assessments was to get the students used to simply considering the questions, “what worked and why?”

The concept of “in-process” assessment was reinforced throughout both the lectures and the labs, by prompting the students to tell me why they chose this or that tool, and then asking them to explain what the upside or downside of those choices were. I would often ask them to describe alternate choices that they could have used to produce the desired effects. Here again, a key to making this process successful was to push them to get comfortable with the process of making predictions about what the effects of any given action might be. Make a choice, predict the outcome, and then determine whether the outcomes meet the needs of the situation.

As educators, we may find ourselves working in situations where we have to follow protocols we are not familiar or comfortable with. But even in these situations, our mission to implement pedagogies that are in accordance with our beliefs regarding what we consider to the most beneficial ways to prepare our students does not diminish. In fact, these situations may give us the opportunity to identify what those beliefs and core principles are.

In the end, this process lead me to realize that teaching with understanding is something that can be accomplished even when I cannot control every aspect of the environment, including the form that the final assessment takes. What follows below is an outline of how I approached the development of creating a lesson plan for this class.

  1. Determine if the questions on the test are valid,
  2. Construct a lesson plan that covers the material to be tested,
  3. Give lectures that are designed to highlight the essential parts of the material,
  4. Assign homework that emphasize the vocabulary and letís the students delve deeper into the material,
  5. Give quizzes that reinforce the vocabulary content, while also increasing the students comfort level with the format of the final exam, and
  6. Develop labs that reinforce the important points, and that test for understanding and that reinforce the more practical nature of the material.

This list is not offered to suggest that this is the only solution to this problem, but instead to show how I was able to integrate my teaching style when presented with an educational paradigm that was new to me. I believe that to be successful, it is essential that educators be able identify the concepts that are the most important to them, and to then find strategies that will allow them to teach in accordance with those ideals. This experience afforded me the opportunity to do just that.

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