Implementing PBL in a Concrete Construction Course




Hu, Jiong
Martinez Ortiz, Araceli
Sriraman, Vedaraman

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American Society for Engineering Education


This paper presents an action-research case study detailing the evolutionary changes in the implementation of the problem-based learning (PBL) method in an undergraduate concrete construction course. The case study incorporates the perspective of the course instructor as action-researcher and the quantitative and qualitative student impact data. PBL was first implemented in this course in 2011 as a student centered active learning pedagogy. The first implementation adopted a minimalist approach owing to the issues typically associated with PBL adoption such as increased instructor effort and student resistance to a new learning paradigm. Through 2012 and 2013, the action researcher continued to adopt and increase the scope of PBL application. In 2013, the course moved from a summer offering to a spring offering. This change proved to be very positive for both instructor and students alike. Most significantly, the change in schedule permitted a longer time span in which the PBL activities could be more effectively implemented compared to the short, fast paced summer offering. The evolution in the adaptation of PBL pedagogy and key components for success in the implementation of PBL in the engineering and engineering technology classroom will be presented. In addition, a discussion of the assessment methods that also underwent an evolution in scope and detail will be presented. The paper concludes with recommendations for further research.


This paper was originally presented at the 2014 American Society for Engineering Education annual meeting. © 2014 American Society for Engineering Education



Hu, J., Martinez Ortiz, A., & Sriraman, V. (2014). Implementing PBL in a Concrete Construction Course. Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. doi:10.18260/1-2--20599


Biomedical Engineering and Chemical Engineering
Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching
Engineering Education