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Instructor Stories: Using Mini Projects for Experiential and Project-Based Learning

Aug 5, 2020, 15:27 PM


CITL Instructor Story

"It takes a lot of effort to dream up the mini projects. But, the reward is to see students doing autonomous learning, doing intensive independent research, engaging with users of products or devices, empathizing with clients, and then co-designing solutions with those people."

Engineering professor Leon Liebenberg has been using mini projects in his theory-heavy courses, such as Thermodynamics (ME 200) and Fluid Mechanics (TAM 335), and also in senior-level courses (ME 400 – Energy Conversion Systems). Heoffers these mini projects as team-based efforts, where teams range from 2 to 4 students in size, depending on the course. This allows him to cover a lot of ground, with team members delegating tasks to one another.

Mini projects present a structure in which larger projects are divided into several smaller pieces. Each of these smaller (mini) projects could either be independent from one another or scaffolded as a connected series. Lessons learned in previous mini projects could be integrated in subsequent projects. Get more details about Leon's mini projects and other teaching strategies on the I-STEM website.

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