Design and Implementation of an On-line Professional Development Community: A Project-Based Learning Approach in a Graduate Seminar

James G. MaKinster , Sasha A. Barab , Thomas M. Keating


A central challenge in the design of science education graduate seminars is to create a context that will be meaningful to students, and at the same time support students in becoming knowledgeably skillful with respect to the topics of the course. This paper reports on the design and implementation of a project-based learning environment for a graduate seminar that immersed students in a real-world context. This seminar experience was organized around the design, and creation of a real-world "tangible artifact," the Internet Learning Forum (ILF), and embodied many of the design principles for project-based learning environments that have emerged from the literature. The ILF is a video centered, Web-based learning forum designed to support the professional development of in-service and pre-service mathematics and science teachers. Researching, designing and implementing the ILF provided an authentic, situated learning experience for the students and faculty participating in this course. An examination of this process and the theoretical basis behind these efforts serves to inform future project-based learning efforts in science education seminars.


Science; Education; Online; Development; Design; Implementation; Graduate

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