I thought it would be insightful to share something my daughter came across in her college class:
Never underestimate the value of project based learning!I'm reading Randy Pausch's Last Lecture, and in it he talks about a Master's Degree program that he supervised:Describing the ETC is really hard, and I finally found a metaphor. Telling people about the ETC is like describing Cirque du Soleil if they’ve never seen it. Sooner or later you’re going to make the mistake. You’re going to say, well it’s like a circus. And then you’re dragged into this conversation about oh, how many tigers, how many lions, how many trapeze acts? And that misses the whole point. So when we say we’re a master’s degree, we’re really not like any master’s degree you’ve ever seen. Here’s the curriculum [Shows slide of ETC curriculum, listing “Project Course” as the only course each semester; audience laughs] The curriculum ended up looking like this. [shows slightly more detailed slide]. All I want to do is visually communicate to you that you do five projects in Building Virtual Worlds, then you do three more. All of your time is spent in small teams making stuff. None of that book learning thing. Don and I had no patience for the book learning thing. It’s a master’s degree. They already spent four years doing book learning. By now they should have read all the books.The keys to success were that Carnegie Mellon gave us the reins. Completely gave us the reins. We had no deans to report to. We reported directly to the provost, which is great because the provost is way too busy to watch you carefully. [laughter] We were given explicit license to break the mold. It was all project based. It was intense, it was fun, and we took field trips! Every spring semester in January, we took all 50 students in the first year class and we’d take them out to Pixar, Industrial Light and Magic, and of course when you’ve got guys like Tommy there acting as host, right, it’s pretty easy to get entrée to these places. So we did things very, very differently. The kind of projects students would do, we did a lot of what we’d call edutainment.