How do we achieve Inclusion and Diversity using PBL and/or CBL?

So far this semester, we discussed three important concepts in Higher Ed. First, we talked about how important it is to have a diverse community, and second and more importantly we showed that it is almost inevitable to maintain an inclusive learning environment. Next, we discussed a few pedagogical methods used to ensure that we are facilitating Diversity and Inclusion. Specifically, we identified Problem-Based Learning (PBL) and Case-Based Learning (CBL) as two effective ways to help achieve Diversity and Inclusion in academia.

As far as I am concerned, I see two important things from here. First, from now on, I am going to prioritize taking classes that use either PBL or CBL. As shown in class and discussed in many of the blog posts on PBL and CBL, these classes are instrumental in helping students apply the skills they are learning to real-world situations. Many of the classes we are taught during our training (at least in my field) are so abstract that it is often difficult to really picture how we could apply these concepts and how useful they are for our future professions. PBL and CBL classes have the ability of helping us achieve these goals.

Second, I truly believe that programs should include more courses that use PBL or CBL in their curricula. As argued above, this is crucial for students, as it will help them acquire skills that they can bring on the job market. About two years ago, I attended a professional development workshop on how to be successful on the job market. One issue that was raised during the workshop was that employers are looking for students who have who ready or simply put, who have a specific set of skills. One thing that most people reading this blog can agree on is that courses that do not have a PBL or CBL component won’t be enough to acquire those skills. With PBL or CBL courses, there is an opportunity for students to learn something that could really be useful in their professional careers. Also, given that not everyone has the opportunity to get an internship before they go on the job market, students imperatively need to have such experiences during their training. Furthermore, schools should get invested in helping their programs design these curricula as ways to ease the Inclusion and Diversity process on campus.

6 Replies to “How do we achieve Inclusion and Diversity using PBL and/or CBL?”

  1. Hi Ange,

    You have raised series of important issues in your post. First, it saddens me that you have had said experience in your department. While there exists some level of autonomy in higher education with faculty in the design and approach to course delivery, faculty have to consider and yield to the responsibility of structuring their syllabi in keeping with conventional neo-practices and institutional norms. At the graduate level, CBL/PBL should always be emphasized mainly for a major research institution such as Virginia Tech. The case of your department is frustrating! Before I leave your site though, does that mean there has been exercise of class that presented examples of real-world scenarios and/or real-life case for students to engage with as team/group?

  2. It sounds like you have a lot of potential to implement some of these teaching techniques into your field! If problem based learning is limited in your field of study, then there should be a lot of opportunity for you to take the teachings from this class and reach a broader range of audience in your field that were previously left behind with the traditional instruction. I would recommend getting outside critique before you implement a problem based learning approach to one of the abstract topics that you mention, because if a topic is already abstract and difficult for students to understand, a slip up during a more in-depth learning experience like we’ve discussed in class could lead to more in-depth confusion. Good luck!

  3. Thank you for bringing this up. I totally agree with you that PBL/CBL classes give students more experience and prepare them for the job market. Including more PBL/CBL courses will not only give students the opportunity to learn and share knowledge but will definitely affect their career. PBL/CBL should be introduced to students from their introductory class with simple and clear cases so as they grow up they acquire the skills that would help them develop more advanced cases. PBL/CBL is basically designed to engage students in real or non-fictional cases bot abstract ones. I believe there should be some monitoring on the content of these type of classes and how they are presented to students.

  4. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Yes, by taking more courses with PBL and CBL, students can expose themselves to real-world problems and achieve practical experience/knowledge from them. I know some industrial corporations are working with universities to develop programs/courses to help train students with certain sets of skills that can be applied into their future jobs. One concern I have is do you think there is limitation of CBL and PBL application in fundamental courses in early phase of the colleges? Thanks!

  5. I like your thoughts. Introducing CBL and PBL into the curriculum will definitely help students with the skill development. It is also important to introduce these techniques to the students in a creative manner so that they understand their importance and make efforts to learn the maximum they can in the class.

  6. Hi Ange,

    Thanks for sharing with us your experience taking classes in your department and your goal to take more CBL/PBL classes. Unfortunately, some classes we need to take (both, as undergrad or graduate students) are mandatory and we need to accept that we’ll have to take than as they are taught. Another sad point is that many professors do not have teaching as a priority, so they are not very concerned about changing/updating their classes to facilitate a better understanding of the topic. CBL/PBL classes may request the instructor to spend a long time just planning them. Most of the time professors are so busy with the research world (writing grants, reports, etc) that this would be easily their last priority, which makes me a little bit frustrated.

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