ASIC 200: The Group Problem Based Learning (PBL) Assignment – 2014

Please have a look at the PBLs over the first part of the week, and come ready to sign up for one Thursday before the Feb 6th class.

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pdf of PBL process | climate change PBL specifics

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(PBL process)

1) Introduction

In this course, all students will participate in a group project using basic Problem Based Learning (PBL) techniques. PBL is focused around a problem, issue or scenario which acts as the starting point for exploring a subject. From this starting point, learners then explore what tools and knowledge might be needed to understand the problem and proceed to design solutions and responses.

Students will be presented with specific problems related to the central global issues discussed in class and the relevance of these issues for the local community. Working in groups, students will be expected to complete the following learning components for each PBL assignment:

i) Discuss the problem. Students should deliberate on the nature of the problem, the various aspects of the problem, and identify the tools and physical and life science and social sciences and humanities knowledge needed to understand the problem and respond to it. Students should generate possible options for responding to the problem.

ii) Conceptualize and write a practical project proposal designed to respond to the problem. The proposal should include a one page introduction to the problem, a two page description of the project and what contribution it will make to addressing the problem, a one page statement of project requirements, a proposed budget, and a fundraising plan identifying possible donors and community partners. A template of required elements is provided below.

This assignment will develop teamwork skills, and writing, fundraising, event planning, and final report writing skills. The proposals should be presented in formal English prose. Limited use of point form (when making lists, etc.) is permitted.

You may want to meet as a group or in sub-groups outside of class time. We encourage you to do this, but please observe some basic rules: meetings should take place in public spaces and not at someone’s residence and students should not be excluded if they cannot make certain meeting times.

2) The Group PBL Project Report

Students will submit a Group PBL Report. Templates for this assignment are provided below. Groups should follow this template when organizing their report (although you do not have to use this style or this specific document to do so: feel free to hand in something that looks attractive and professional). Grades for the PBL assignment will be the product of an assessment of the Group Project Report (75%) and a group self-evaluation component (25%).

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Action Plan for the First Session (first half of Feb 13th)

1) Introduce yourselves! (10 min.) Have someone compile the correct first and last names of everyone in the group and circulate it to everyone through a method of your own choosing.

2) Review the assignment requirements and the and the expectations of the report.

3) Discuss the problem you have been presented with. Begin by identifying the most important localized features or aspects of the problem you have signed up to address. (15 min.)

4) Discuss the physical and life science and social sciences and humanities knowledge needed to understand the problem and respond to it. (20 min.)

5) Discuss the questions that come with your topic. (20 min.)

6) Design a homework plan so your group can begin drafting the report and proposal in the next session. (15 min.)

Action Plan for the Second Session (second half of Feb 13th)

1) Begin a group discussion to establish the content of your report so you can begin a first draft of your document.

2) Design a homework plan so your group can finish the entire report by the due date.

Action Plan for the Following PBL Week (Feb 27th)

1) Finish drafting your Policy Proposal project. Submit your completed report in class on the due date (March 6th).

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Policy Proposal Project

For the PBL assignment, you are asked to design a specific project proposal, one that translates concept and theory into policy and practice. In essence, you are trying to design a practical plan to achieve some of the objectives and goals of your PBL assignment. Your project proposal should include the following:

1) Project Title Page. Make it professional!

2) Group Names Page (see p3 of pdf, filled out and signed).

3) Executive Summary. Summarize your group project. Include a brief description of the problem and emphasize the conclusions and recommendations of your proposal. (200 words)

4) Your group identity. Summarize who you are as a group. Are you a not for profit citizen’s association or non-governmental organization? Are you a company with a service or product to sell? Are you a consultant company? (100 words)

5) Identify your target audiences or groups (Business groups? General public? Municipal leaders? Students? City Hall?) Why should these target audiences be interested in your proposal? (100 words)

6) Problem description. Identify the key issues or elements of the problem. Discuss the magnitude, impact, and consequences of these problems in the global and then local context. (500 words)

7) Knowledge requirements. Identify the physical and life sciences and social sciences and humanities knowledge needed to understand the problem and respond to it. What kinds of expertise and knowledge does your project require? (100 words)

8 ) Recommendations. Describe the key components of your recommendations and what contribution they will make to address the problems you have identified. (1000 words)

9) Project requirements. Describe what the staffing, facilities, and equipment requirements of your project will be. (150 words)

10) Community partners. Identify community individuals or organizations that might become partners in your project. (150 words)

11) Proposed budget. Provide a proposed budget (max. one page)

12) Fundraising plan: Identify possible donors and community partners (200 words)

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These are the various PBL topics available for 2013. You must sign up for one of them during the January 31st class.

Buildings are responsible for approximately 30 – 40 percent of the world’s energy consumption. How can local small and medium sized businesses improve the energy efficiency of their existing (and new) facilities?

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PBL #2: BIODIVERSITY IN BC: (PBL specifics pdf)
The biodiversity of British Columbia (and the entire Pacific Northwest) is under threat from changing temperature patterns due to climate change. How can the impacts of climate change on BC’s forests and ecosystems be mitigated?

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According to a Translink study published in February 2007, vehicles in the GVRD produce 5.3 million tons of CO2 each year. Considering the reduction in GHG emission that can come about with an increase in bike traffic, what could the city of Vancouver do to facilitate biking?

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In Vancouver, it is estimated that over 222 000 tons of Greenhouse Gasses (GHGs) are emitted by cars stuck in traffic. Focusing solely on the economic and environmental costs of peak hour congestion, what could Metro Vancouver (formerly GVRD) authorities do to mitigate congestion and reduce GHGs emitted by idle cars?

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Historical data analysis and climate indicators show that there has been a change in the properties of BC’s climate including increased temperatures and precipitations, earlier ice and snow melting, increased sea-surface temperatures and rise in sea-levels. These changes directly affect the production of farms across BC. Focusing on the small-scale farms of either the Okanagan or the Fraser Valley (respectively the Southern Interior and the Coastal region in eco-province terms) determine what could be done to help the farmers adapt to climate change.

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PBL #6: PIPELINES: (PBL specifics pdf)
For this PBL, you will be asked to analyze one of three proposed pipeline projects: Keystone XL, Northern Gateway, or Transmountain Pipeline Expansion Project. What are the potential social, economic, and environmental ramifications of the development of this pipeline? What benefits would the pipeline bring? What impact would a spill have on the ecology and resource economy of the region?

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PBL#7: FRACKING: (PBL specifics pdf)
B.C.’s multi-billion dollar shale gas industry is booming. Two large northeast B.C. deposits could sustain 100 years of supply at current levels of demand, a “game changer,” according to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. However, the controversial drilling practice used to extract shale gas, horizontal high-volume slick water hydraulic fracturing (commonly known as “fracking”), has drawn wide-spread criticism for its environmental impacts. Provincially, both the Liberals and the New Democrats have supported the industry. In this PBL, you will be tasked to examine the environmental impacts of hydrological fracturing. Could this be a “clean energy” source, as Premier Christy Clark has suggested? Is the existing regulatory framework sufficient for the scale of the industry? Are the available fracking technologies safe? Can BC significantly expand it’s natural gas industry while staying within the mandate of the Clean Energy Act?