Thursday, November 14, 2019

The WWW and Problem Based Learning in Introductory Philosophy :: Education Teaching Essays

The WWW and Problem Based Learning in Introductory Philosophy ABSTRACT: This essay explains how problem-based learning and the World Wide Web (WWW) may be used in collaboration to shift student learning experiences in dramatic ways and to encounter the tasks and concerns of philosophy. We will provide a guided tour of the web site and the problems used in the course, and will describe how these pedagogical strategies may be used to complement traditional classroom venues without making a commitment to offering a course completely on-line for distance learning scenarios. Problem-based learning will also be described and its importance to philosophical instruction will be emphasized. We argue that teaching philosophy by means of problems is more philosophically sound than taking a discrete topical or textual approach. Challenges to this pedagogy are uncovered and discussed. This paper will focus on two significant instructional methods, problem based learning and the use of the web as a teaching tool. It will provide details of the ways in which these two methods have been merged in an Introductory Philosophy class. We will be demonstrating the navigation of our Introduction to Philosophy course web site. I. Problem Based Learning Problem-Based Learning (PBL) is a method of teaching and learning that stresses problem solving activities as a means to encountering and applying knowledge. (Barrows, 1984) It develops out of a strong concern that traditional education stresses the acquisition of factual knowledge without long term retention of that information, the ability to apply the material, the skill to think critically, or the understanding of the context in which knowledge develops and relates. (Norman, 1988, Bridges, 1992, Walton and Matthews, 1989).PBL uses a set of problems - simulations, ethical dilemmas, case studies, medical diagnoses or decisions, legal disputes, public policy issues - as the framework for student learning. The closer the problem is to a real life, relevant problem, the better it functions as a learning motivator. (Bridges, 1992). In traditional lecture and discussion format classes, the instructor introduces the material that he/she deems appropriate and then tests the students knowl edge of the material. In PBL, the student is initially confronted with a problem that requires a solution. The problem drives the student assignments and learning tasks. It is the avenue through which students become acquainted with the material. Barbara Duch says "In a traditional science class, learning tends to proceed from the abstract to the concrete, with concepts being introduced first, followed by an application problem.

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