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Recently there has been an increase in demand for interdisciplinary programs that enable graduates to demonstrate a blend of technical and ‘soft skills’. As a result, many higher education organizations are developing programs that integrate areas such as management and information technology or entrepreneurship and engineering. The wide range of topics covered in these programs and the need for graduate to be able to integrate and apply of core concepts. Since 2010 we have used integrative project-based learning as a core element of our game development and entrepreneurship program. In this model, students work in project teams to create a “complete” video game following a set of specific feature requirements drawn from the students’ courses. This project requires students to integrate concepts across all courses taken (including those from business, game design, programming, and game art) and develop a commercially viable game. More recently, we have developed project-based learning elements for our networking and information technology security program. In this paper, we reflect on the success and challenges of implementing integrative project-based learning throughout a university program. Elements considered include scalability, management of student groups, faculty engagement, program scheduling, and effectiveness of content integration. Results have demonstrated that students are better able to understand how fundamental concepts from the various curriculum areas interact while gaining additional opportunities to practice ‘soft skills’ such as project management, communications, problem solving, and leadership. The paper will provide recommendations on the necessary learning environment and supports for successful implementation of integrative project-based learning.
Hogue, A., Percival, J., El-Khatib, K., Hayes, G. (2015). Reflection on Integrative Project-based Learning in Business and Information Technology Programs. Higher Education in Transformation Conference, Dublin, Ireland, 2015, pp.132-144.