The Petroleum Institute, United Arab Emirates
This paper sets out to show the advantages of project-based and blended learning, based on faculty observations and positive feedback gathered from student course evaluations. The approaches have been successfully adopted in four consecutive first and second year courses, each lasting a semester, in an English-medium engineering college in the Middle East. For this kind of learning to be successful, students should be provided with a framework which guides them in the problem solving and clear goals that need to be achieved. Learning in this kind of environment can be scaffolded to suit students with different abilities to ease learning and knowledge construction. In the case described, scaffolding is done partially through a blended learning environment using a course management system, although other ways of providing students with the necessary information are also possible. The role of the instructor is that of a facilitator who guides the students towards finding their own solutions to the problems being solved. The instructor also assists the students in the technical and soft skills being developed. The paper provides a description of activities linked to project-based learning in a technology- enhanced or blended learning environment. Such activities can be used to enhance college students’ lifelong learning skills in areas such as English language, research, teamwork and digital literacy skills.
Blended learning, English language, research skills, communication