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ERIC Number: EJ785157
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Aug
Pages: 16
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-1059-0145
Students' Perceptions of Terrascope, a Project-Based Freshman Learning Community
Lipson, Alberta; Epstein, Ari W.; Bras, Rafael; Hodges, Kip
Journal of Science Education and Technology, v16 n4 p349-364 Aug 2007
We present a descriptive case study of Terrascope, an innovative, year-long, project-based learning community at MIT. Each year, Terrascope students study a particular environmental or Earth-system problem from a multidisciplinary perspective. Terrascope includes both academic and non-academic components; this paper focuses on the academic components. The objectives of the academic subjects, and of the program as a whole, involve helping students develop their team-building, communication, problem-solving, and self-regulatory learning skills. This study focuses on cohorts of students from the first and second years of the program (2002-2003 and 2003-2004); it is based on end-of-semester surveys and focus groups, and on additional focus groups conducted when these students were upperclassmen. Students felt Terrascope helped them make significant improvements in their ability to work in teams and to take on complex, multidisciplinary problems. They felt that the program's two-semester structure gave them an opportunity to develop and nurture these skills, and that the program prepared them well for their later work at MIT. They also felt that being engaged, as freshmen, in a distinct learning community, significantly eased their transition into MIT. We describe lessons learned in the development of Terrascope and offer suggestions for other institutions planning to develop similar programs.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A