Beyond the Walls: Project-Based Learning and Assessment in Higher Education

Beyond the Walls: Project-Based Learning and Assessment in Higher Education

Catalina Ulrich (University of Bucharest, Romania) and Lucian Ciolan (University of Bucharest, Romania)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0531-0.ch020
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Abstract

Main goal of the chapter is to focus on project based learning (PjBL) as an effective learning and assessment method effectively used in higher education. Chapter provides an understanding of Romanian higher education contextual challenges, current pedagogy trends and specific examples to support the idea that PjBL leads to the type of authentic learning needed for nowadays students. Theoretical framework and examples are enriched by reflections on undergraduate and master degree students' perceptions on learning process and learning outcomes.
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Teaching And Learning In Higher Education. Changes And Paradoxes Analyzed In The Romanian Context

The need for more focus on learning experiences from the perspective of the new type of learners became more acute in the last years. Even when taking about more generic trends of higher education, such as internationalization, the Executive Agency for Higher Education, Research, Development and Innovation Funding in Romania highlights in a recent report (UEFISCDI, 2013) the specific aspects of teaching as pedagogy, learning environment and learning resources. According to the report, the above mentioned aspects are connected to knowledge-society requirements and scientific evidence. “Curriculum review and course content updating have to be accompanied by an extensive reconsideration of the pedagogy applied in the teaching and learning process. In the era of global communication and unlimited access to knowledge in the virtual space, the traditional instruction paradigm (transfer of knowledge) is more and more replaced by a new model: the learning paradigm based on a holistic approach of all the elements and drivers which contribute to the construction of knowledge and skills through a student centered process (Barr &Tagg, 1995). Universities create a favorable learning environment with wide access to the newest learning resources and to the cutting-edge knowledge and with a more or less individual guidance of the students in their effort to achieve best learning outcomes”. (2013, p. 70).

Not only students are changing, as the new generations of digital natives are coming into higher education, but academic staff is changing as well, both in terms of professional identity (see, for instance, Kember & Kwan, 2000; Henard & Leprince-Ringuet, 2011), and in terms of the pedagogy they employ for creating authentic learning experiences (Jenkins et. al. 2003; Hannon, 2009; Herrington & Oliver, 2000; Herrington, 2006).

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