Stakeholder Expectations of Learning in First-Year Project-Based Courses

Stakeholder Expectations of Learning in First-Year Project-Based Courses

E. Crawley, D. Soderholm (2007).  Stakeholder Expectations of Learning in First-Year Project-Based Courses. 16.


In the design of a curriculum, each course should have a well-understood role and relationship to the other courses, and clearly defined, student-centered objectives, stated in terms of learning outcomes for knowledge, skills and attitudinal outcomes [1]. The Report of the Task Force on Undergraduate Educational Commons [2] at MIT, which made recommendations to revamp the common educational experiences of our students, recommended an optional first year project-based course. Currently, planning and pilots are being conducted of such a course.

The authors conducted a survey to determine the degree of community consensus on the desired learning outcomes for a first year project-based experience.


In order to better understand the community view of the role of project-based learning in the first year, we chose to survey the principal stakeholders of such an offering, i.e. those students and faculty who have a significant stake in its outcome. Voluntary interviews were conducted with representatives of four faculty stakeholder groups: leaders of academic enterprises; leaders of undergraduate programs; those directly teaching similar courses; and members of the Task Force on Undergraduate Commons, Committee on Undergraduate Programs, and Committee on Curricula.

The Task Force was an ad hoc group that met for two years, and delivered a report outlining a new vision for the shared experiences of MIT students. The other two standing committees deal with the policy and curricular oversight of the undergraduate education. In addition current seniors, newly arrived freshmen, and high school seniors interested in MIT were interviewed.



Authors (New): 
Edward F. Crawley
Diane H. Soderholm
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
stakeholder expectations
Diamond, R. Designing and Assessing Courses and Curricula: A Practical Guide. JosseyBass, San Francisco, CA, 1998.: 
Report of the Task Force on the Undergraduate Educational Commons to the President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, 2006: 
Academic Guide for Undergraduates and Their Advisors 
Carlson, L. and Sulivan, J. Presentation made at the1998 National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA) National Conference, Washington, DC, March 13-15, 1998.: 
Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering 
Duch, B. The Power of Problem-Based Learning, Stylus Publishing, Virginia, 2001.: 
Crawley, E., Malmqvist, J., Ostlund, S., Brodeur, D. Rethinking Engineering Education: The CDIO Approach. Springer, NY, forthcoming June 2007.: 
Integrated Teaching and Learning Lab, University of Colorado-Boulder, First-Year Projects Course Improves Retention. 
Bankel, J., Berggren, K-F., Blom, K., Crawley, E., Östlund, S., Wiklund, I. The CDIO Syllabus: A comparative study of expected student proficiency. (2003). European Journal of Engineering Education, Vol. 28 No. 3.: 
MIT, Office of the Provost, 2005 Alumni Survey. : 
Stokes, D. Pasteur’s Quadrant: Basic science and technological innovation. Brookings Institution Press, 1997.: 
Blumenfeld, P. C., Soloway, E., Marx, R. W., Krajcik, J. S., Guzdial, M., & Palincsar, A. (1991). Motivating project-based learning: Sustaining the doing, supporting the learning. Educational Psychologist, 26 (3 & 4), 369-398: 
Bransford, J. D., & Stein, B. S. (1993). The IDEAL problem solver (2nd ed.). New York: Freeman.: 
Kolb, D.A. Experiential Learning. Prentice-Hall, NJ, 1984: 
Qualters, D. Learning Styles. All About Learning/Aero-Astro Learning White Paper Series. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2001.: 
Crawley, E., The CDIO Syllabus; A Statement of Goals for Undergraduate Engineering Education. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2001.: 
Go to top