Problem-based Learning

A central tenet for me is the idea of problem-solving and problem-based learning. Over the years, as I have gathered significant experience in teaching at the undergraduate, masters and doctoral levels, this personal philosophy has evolved. As it happens with many of us, the highs and lows of student responses and our abilities to respond to student expectations have often collided with my preconceived notions about what content is important for students to acquire and hold. By now, even as I continue to try different techniques in the classroom, I am convinced that my personal teaching style is dictated by the core idea of problem-solving. This is the simple assertion that problems come before solutions. Handing out content to students without allowing them some form of personal motivation to acquire it is something that I no longer believe in. This can mean significant consternation for students, who often face a problem, which can force them to ask questions about what they need to learn.

  • Purao, S., (PI) J. Bagby, B. Cameron and S. Sawyer. 2007-2010. Learning to build systems of systems. National Science Foundation. $ 393,400 (Collaboration with Georgia State, Total ~700k).