Teacher Instruction: Facilitating Project Based Learning


This guide is a resource for faculty who want to create Project Based Learning (PBL) activities in their classes. PBL is a teaching method that fosters student engagement, collaboration, and critical thinking. PBL is a research proven technique that prepares students for real-world challenges related to their subject.



Design a Project

Start by identifying a real-world problem that aligns with the course's learning objectives. Challenge students to investigate the problem, collaborate with their peers, and propose innovative solutions. For example, a Music Education course could task students with designing an inclusive music program for a local community center, while an Environmental Studies course might have students explore ways to address climate change in New York City.


Create a Rubric

Create a rubric that outlines the skills, knowledge, and attitudes they will develop throughout the project, and provide regular feedback on their progress.


Organize Project Teams

Encourage collaboration by assigning specific roles and responsibilities to each project group that align with skills and interests. For instance, in an Art Therapy course, a team might consist of students with backgrounds in psychology, art, and education working together to develop a therapeutic art program. 

Facilitate Collaboration and Communication

Use NYU Brightspace’s Discussion tool and other online tools to create a collaborative environment where students can easily communicate and share resources. Encourage regular team meetings, both in-person and online, and provide opportunities for peer feedback and reflection. 

Integrate Real-World Expertise

Invite guest speakers or partner with local organizations to provide students with real-world perspectives on their projects. For example, a Nutrition and Dietetics course could partner with a local food bank to explore strategies for addressing food insecurity in the community.

Monitor Progress and Provide Feedback

Regularly check in with teams to monitor their progress, address any challenges, and offer guidance. Use the project rubric to provide constructive feedback that helps students refine their work and deepen their understanding.

Encourage Reflection and Self-Assessment

Prompt students to reflect on their learning experiences, and challenges they have faced. Encourage self-assessment using the project rubric, and discuss ways to apply the skills and knowledge they have gained to future projects and their professional lives.

Showcase Student Work

Celebrate the students' achievements by showcasing their work in a public forum, such as a class presentation, online portfolio, or community event. This not only provides students with an opportunity to practice their presentation skills but also helps raise awareness of the project's real-world impact.

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