Project Based Learning


Project Based Learning
August 26, 2014

Final exams, as many of us may have experienced, can be tough and tricky. There is something disproportionate about a large chunk one’s grade for a three month long course being dependent on a two-hour long exam. Many grading strategies have been developed to by-pass the Final Exam- these include project-based learning. The idea is that students will be given a final project on which they will develop over a substantial amount of time. This helps pupils absorb the ideas and concepts taught to them at a much deeper level as they apply them practically.

MATLAB, a course taught by Mr. Abbas Akthar at Information Technology University (ITU) employs this approach to grading. The first half of the course focuses on imparting intensive instruction in mathematical programming to students, while the second half requires them to practically apply their skills by building Lego Mindstorm Robots in teams. Over the course of the last few weeks, students of the course have been working hard at successively constructing their robots. The course is due to end with a grand finale in the form of a Robotics Battle. Students’ robots will compete against each other in a football-like game which will also constitute as the final grading component of the course. A panel of judges composed of ITU faculty members will grade students across a varied criterion which includes marks for creativity, aesthetics robot-building skills, originality, and competition performance. Not only does this sort of grading scheme encourage students to be creative and get in touch with the practical dimension of their studies, but it also relieves them of the stress induced by a final exams. Additionally, it infuses a healthy spirit of competition among students, which brings out the best in them.