Keynote plenary sessions
Sunday banquet
PBL--Back to the Future
What's ahead for PBL now that the Internet is here? How (if anything) does it make a difference in what we ask students to do? Can we run PBL in a virtual classroom? Indeed, will there be real classrooms (or colleges and universities) in a future where we are all hardwired into a cyberhive? PBL, who needs it?

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Clyde F. Herreid
University at Buffalo, SUNY, USA
Clyde recieved degrees in Biology form Colorado College, Johns Hopkins University and Pennsylvania State University. He has taught at the University of Alaska, Duke University, and the University of Niarobi. He is currently at the University at Buffalo, SUNY where he is Academic Director of the Honors Program, Distinguished Teaching Professor, and Director of the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science. He writes a regular column on case study teaching in the Journal of College Science Teaching.

Monday am
To Teach and to Learn: The Past as Prologue
All educational enterprises seek to produce changes in knowledge, skills and attitudes. The production of autonomous, self-reliant, flexible critical students can be best achieved by making them active partners in their own learning. Problem-based learning is an exciting means to that end. The teacher as an information dispenser is but a fairly recent innovation. In the arguments contrasting traditional versus problem-based learning, it is often forgotten that it is problem-based learning that is truly traditional. Great teachers in all cultures and traditions (Socrates, Gautama, Pestalozzi, Freinet, Purkyne) have realised that they can best help their students by providing them with the skills required to be autonomous. The arrival of the Internet with its capacity to submerge the student with more information than they can handle has freed the teacher to return to his traditional role as a guide, mentor and tutor. Problem-based learning has the enormous potential to stimulate students to participate actively in their own learning and thus become life-long learners. But for the process to work optimally, teachers must be willing to shift the locus of control and students must be willing to accept that responsibility. Flexibility is the key to success in charting a course for a PBL curriculum. To travel on the many paths to PBL requires the attitudes of hitch hikers not business men. Road blocks and delays are not hindrances. Both the Journey and the Inn are rewarding.

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P.K. Rangachari
McMaster University, Canada
P.K.Rangachari is currently a Professor of Medicine and the Director of the Hons. Biology-Pharmacology Coop Programme at McMaster University. He came to the University in 1981 with a scholarship from the Canadian Heart Foundation to do research on vascular smooth muscle. He was unaware of the novelty of the teaching methods at the Medical school and initially very sceptical. But seeing it in operation convinced him of its value. Since joining the Faculty in 1984, he has been actively involved in developing a variety of courses that foster student-centred learning through the use of PBL at both the undergraduate and graduate level. These include course in Introductory Pharmacology, Pharmacoepidemiology, a graduate course in Physiology and Pharmacology as well as an Inquiry course designed to explore the context of scientific research. He participates regularly in workshops organised by the Programme for Faculty Development which helps train visitors in PBL techniques. In addition, he has conducted workshops both in Canada as well as abroad (USA, Kenya, India, Venezuela, Czech Republic, Denmark, Spain, Switzerland). He has written a number of papers on PBL and is a co-author of the book Problem-Based Learning in Medicine (Royal Society of Medicine, 1999). His personal casebook of problems can be accessed through the web at <>


Tuesday am
Deconstructing problem-based learning facilitation
It seems that the whole notion of being a lecturer/professor in higher education is becoming an increasingly complex task. This is not just because we have to be multi-skilled, multi task beings who lecture, research, administrate, budget, publish and consult, to name but a few, but because the nature of what it means to be a teacher in higher education is changing. The shifts towards a culture of improving teaching through forms of training which focus on behavioural rather than personal and attitudinal change are at odds for many of us with our beliefs that "learning to facilitate" is a complex and multifaceted capability that often demands personal shifts away from long held beliefs about the nature of knowledge and notions of learning.

In many universities the adoption of problem-based learning is adding another dimension to what it means to be a lecturer in higher education. Many staff feel that when implementing problem-based learning they have an intuitive understanding of what it means to be a facilitator. Some of us may be able to articulate what it means, but few of us have ever really explored the relationship between our different notions of teaching in higher education, or been able to take the risk to share such personally challenging perspectives in a public forum. To do so would be to invite criticism of the role confusions and conflicts that many of us feel, as the boundaries of our jobs change and move, with the shifts in the organisational cultures that we experience daily. Yet there is not only little help available for those who are in the process of becoming facilitators of problem-based learning, but also little real acknowledgement of the impact of the current global shift towards problem-based learning.

The argument I will present here, which seeks to deconstruct the notion of facilitation in problem-based learning contexts, centres on three main concerns. First that not enough attention has been paid to the role and impact of the facilitator in problem-based learning. Second that there is little understanding of, or research into, the complex interplay of group and facilitator and the ways in which both change and adapt their roles and relationships as the problem-based learning group matures. My final point is that the impact of the facilitator on student learning is under researched. For example there has been an underestimation of the impact of individual staff member's personal stances and motivations as a teacher on their ability to facilitate problem-based learning. There is an assumption that all staff can facilitate a problem-based learning group effectively when in fact some may have greater strengths elsewhere such as being an excellent lecturer. This has resulted in a lack of understanding about what it means to facilitate problem-based learning in ways that promote learning for all students. To conclude I will offer some of the findings of my recent research and suggest some possible ways forward.


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Maggi Savin-Baden
Coventry University, UK
Maggi Savin-Baden is Co Chair of the Clinical Research Group, School of Health and Social Sciences, Coventry University, UK. She first began using problem-based learning in 1986 and commenced research into it in1987. Maggi's research focussed on staff and students' experiences of problem-based learning in 4 universities in the United Kingdom. Over the last ten years Maggi has consulted widely on problem-based learning in the UK, South Africa and Australia and she has recently received funding to set up a problem-based support network and website that promotes good practice in this field. In September 2000 she was invited to the University of Cape Town to help to set up a problem-based postgraduate diploma in occupational therapy and facilitate the development of an interprofessional problem-based undergraduate programme for six different professions. She is also currently facilitating the introduction of self and peer assessment in undergraduate education at a number of UK universities.

Maggi's first book, which explores the complexities of using problem-based learning for staff, students and institutions, entitled 'Problem-based Learning in Higher Education: Untold Stories' was published with SRHE and Open University Press in March 2000. Her book with Dr David Cormack entitled 'Living Learning and Leading in a Fractured World' is due out in January 2002 and she is currently completing a text on Facilitating Problem-based Learning, also to be published with SRHE and Open University Press. Her current research is exploring ways in which staff manage disjunction and conflict connected to personal and organisational change in the shift towards problem-based learning.

In her spare time Maggi enjoys rock climbing, skiing and a good bottle of wine over dinner.

Wednesday am
The Role of Collaboration in Designing and Practicing Problem Based Learning
Students working together to formulate and solve hard problems and to learn dense and conceptually complex material is at the heart of problem-based learning. This address summarizes the underlying role of cooperation and collaboration in PBL as well as strategies for designing and practicing effective problem-based cooperative learning.

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Karl Smith
U. Minnesota, USA
Karl A. Smith is Morse-Alumni Distinguished Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Minnesota. Karl's principal research area is the role of collaboration and cooperation in learning and design. Karl's appointment is currently split between the University of Minnesota and Michigan State University where he works with faculty in the Lilly Teaching Fellows Program, the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the College of Natural Science and the College of Engineering. He has served as Co-Coordinator for the Bush Faculty Development Program for Excellence and Diversity in Teaching, and Associate Director for Education at the Center for Interfacial Engineering at the University of Minnesota; as a member of the Board of Directors of the Collaboration for the Advancement of College Teaching and Learning; and as Chair of the Educational Research and Methods Division of the American Society for Engineering Education. Karl was elected a Fellow of the American Society for Engineering Education in 1998. He has Bachelors and Masters degrees in Metallurgical Engineering from Michigan Technological University and a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Minnesota.

Karl has published numerous articles on the active learning strategies of cooperative learning and structured controversy, knowledge representation and expert systems, and instructional uses of personal computers. He teaches courses on building models to solve problems; civil engineering systems--decision engineering, network analysis, linear programming, simulation, and expert systems--and project management and leadership. He conducts workshops on active and cooperative learning, problem formulation and modeling, project management and teamwork, and building small expert systems. Karl has conducted project management sessions through the Carlson School of Management=s Executive Development Center including Fundamentals of Project Management, Minnesota Department of Transportation Project Management Academy, and the Minnesota Management Institute; has taught project management courses in the Center for the Development of Technological Leadership masters programs (Manufacturing Systems and Management of Technology); and has conducted project management workshops for several organizations.

Karl has written seven books including How to model it: Problem solving for the computer age (with A.M. Starfield and A.L. Bleloch), published by Burgess International in 1994; Active learning: Cooperation in the college classroom (with David and Roger Johnson), published by Interaction Book Company in 1991; Cooperative learning: Increasing college faculty instructional productivity (with David and Roger Johnson), published by ASHE-ERIC Reports on Higher Education in 1991; New paradigms for college teaching (co-edited with William Campbell), published by Interaction Book Company in 1997; Academic controversy: Enriching college instruction with constructive controversy, (with David and Roger Johnson), published by ASHE-ERIC Reports on Higher Education in 1997; Project management and teamwork published in McGraw-Hill's BEST Series in 2000; and Strategies for energizing large classes: From small groups to learning communities (with James Cooper and Jean MacGregor) published in Jossey-Bass's New Direction for Teaching and Learning series in 2000.