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This website from the University of Delaware contains examples of Problem-Based Learning (PBL), an instructional method that challenges students to work cooperatively in groups to solve real-world problems in biology, chemistry, biochemistry and physics. These problems are intended to arouse students' curiosity and help them think critically. For example, a problem called “The Geritol Solution” challenges students to apply their knowledge of photosynthesis and the global carbon cycle to determine whether the idea of seeding the ocean with iron would help combat potential greenhouse warming. In addition to a few sample problems, the site contains the PBL Clearinghouse, a collection of peer-reviewed problems and articles, teaching notes, and supplemental materials. Educators must register online for access to the Clearinghouse collection. They are also encouraged to submit problems, using guidelines available on the website.
Program Director: Harold B. White III, Ph.D.
Award Years: 1992, 1998, 2002, 2006
Summary: The University of Delaware is a public research university in Newark, Delaware. Its HHMI-funded initiatives include: • The establishment of a Quantitative Biology Major in the Mathematics Department—the only Bio-Math program in the country that is offered as a degree program in a department of mathematics; • A summer undergraduate research scholar program, which includes a weekly interdisciplinary enrichment program devoted to research science topics such as ethics and gender issues; • A Network of Undergraduate Collaborative Learning Experiences for Underrepresented Scholars (NUCLEUS) program, which provides the support necessary for underrepresented students to successfully continue their education beyond the baccalaureate degree; and • Programs to train new, current and future faculty in the use of Problem-Based Learning (PBL) through the university's Institute for Transforming Undergraduate Education and through pedagogy courses for undergraduate PBL group facilitators and graduate teaching assistants.