Project-Based Instruction and Blended Learning

Project-Based Instruction (PBI), also known as Project-Based Learning, is an instructional strategy in which students learn knowledge and skills by identifying a real-world problem and collaboratively develop a solution. PBI helps engage students, makes content relevant, promotes 21st-century skills, and provides active learning experiences. This course offers educators a detailed exploration into the benefits and methodology of using Project-Based Instruction to provide authentic and challenging experiences for their students, emphasizing blended learning strategies.

The Texas Education Agency will reimburse Texas school districts and open enrollment charter schools (local education agencies) for UTeach Blended Learning professional development through August 2023. 

Designing Project-Based Instruction and Blended Learning

30 CPE and 6 G/T eligibleThis course offers educators a detailed exploration into the benefits and methodology of using Project-Based Instruction to provide authentic and challenging experiences for their students, emphasizing blended learning strategies.

During this course, participants will explore the instructional philosophy behind PBI, engage in online discussions about PBI with colleagues, and develop tools for writing and teaching PBI lessons with blended learning strategies. Participants will be able to select, modify, and build upon a standards-based PBI unit from the provided resources to create a PBI unit for their own classroom, or to develop their own project idea. The course guides participants step by step through planning their PBI unit that incorporates blended learning strategies.

Prerequisite: Completion of Foundations of Blended Learning
Course length: 12 weeks
CPE hours: 30 hours

Module 1 The What and Why of PBI (7 hours)

In the first module, you will explore PBI, investigate the elements that define high-quality PBI units, and take a more detailed look at how students benefit from this instructional model in a blended setting. We begin by identifying prior knowledge, our goals for the course, and initial questions. Throughout Module 1, we will explore what makes PBI different from other instructional strategies and consider how it adds to the blended classroom to foster student growth.

Module 2 Begin with the End in Mind (8 hours)

In this module, we will explore the Understanding by Design (UBD) framework and backward design approach. The UBD instructional strategy focuses on determining the knowledge and skills you want students to develop and planning learning activities to help students meet those targets. PBI establishes the process to achieve these goals. Together, UBD and PBI promote content connections and skills through real-world application and problem-solving. In Module 2, we will explore UBD and use the strategy to help us determine our learning destination, thereby creating the framework — and ultimately our driving question — for our PBI unit.

Module 3 The PBI Project Roadmap (8 hours, GT credit eligible)

In Module 3, you will create a "roadmap" for your PBI unit to organize the activities needed to ensure that it incorporates the principles of Gold-Standard PBI project design. We will also work through the logistics of each stage — from the launch event to the final project presentations — ensuring we maximize student growth throughout the experience.

Module 4 Moving from Idea to Action (7 hours)

Now that you have completed your project sequence, it is time to reflect and refine. In this final module, you will engage in self-assessment and peer review of your project, reflect and make revisions based on this feedback, and consider how best to get ready to implement your project with students. By the end of Module 4, you will with have created your Module 4 Companion Guide and PBI Lesson Planning Guide.

Implementing Project-Based Instruction and Blended Learning

20 CPE and 6 G/T eligibleThis course offers an extension to the Designing Project-Based Instruction for the Blended Classroom course. This course provides participants step-by-step guidance and support in bringing their blended PBI unit to life as they transition from plan to action. Some of the advanced features include scheduling the PBI unit, creating detailed formative and summative assessments, and providing scaffolding to learners of various educational and ability levels.

Additional areas of exploration include designing the launch, identifying community members or experts in the field to provide feedback or participate in the final project presentation panel, and developing ideas for soliciting resources and materials. Each course module gives special attention to identifying and integrating blended learning materials and opportunities into each stage of the unit.  Synchronous Zoom sessions offer participants opportunities for collaboration with the facilitator and other course participants.

Prerequisite: Completion of Foundations of Blended Learning and Designing Project-Based Instruction in the Blended Learning Classroom
Course length: 12 weeks
CPE hours: 20 hours