Beyond PBL: Using new spaces and learning design to improve student outcomes

Nicole Mitchell, Phillip Ebbs, Samantha Burbidge

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review


Many universities seek to deliver an authentic learning experience for students by
utilizing a Problem Based Learning (PBL) model. Over three years, we redesigned a
paramedic pharmacology subject using PBL concepts and, in doing so, found we had journeyed beyond established PBL models. The new approach uses several different student experiences and learning spaces to implement PBL, including collaborative, research, simulation, online and off-campus spaces. Initial data also suggest high levels of student satisfaction. The “multi-space” approach to PBL subject would be suitable for further rigorous evaluation of the educational design and outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 43rd international improving university teaching conference, 2018
PublisherUniversity of Maryland
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2019
EventImproving University Teaching Conference 2018 - Charles Sturt University, Port Macquarie, Australia
Duration: 27 Jun 201829 Jun 2018 (Conference website) (program) (Conference poster) (Conference website)


ConferenceImproving University Teaching Conference 2018
Abbreviated titleNew Spaces for Learning: Opportunities and Challenges for Innovative Teaching
CityPort Macquarie
OtherThe International Conference on Improving University Teaching (IUT) invites you to join us for our 43rd annual forum, focused on the theme “New Spaces for Learning: Opportunities and Challenges for Innovative Teaching,” hosted by the Charles Sturt University in Port Macquarie, Australia. Each year the IUT Conference offers the opportunity for participants from across the globe to share practices, discoveries, and challenges in improving the effectiveness of postsecondary teaching and learning. The IUT Conference examines topics relevant to students, faculty, and staff in higher education as well as to representatives of business and organizations concerned with higher education.

The first IUT Conference was organized in 1975 in Heidelberg, Germany by Ben Massey of the University of Maryland system. Massey’s original aim was to stimulate discussion and improve the teaching skills of American university faculty and their European counterparts. Over time, the conference has grown in size and broadened its attendance to include participants from more than a dozen nations on six continents. After 27 years of guiding the conference, Massey retired in 2002. Jane Halonen of University of West Florida and Peter Seldin of Pace University succeeded him as co-directors of IUT. Their five years of collaborative leadership brought about renewal in the conference format and registration systems, and strong relationships with several universities around the globe.

In 2009, James Wilkinson of Harvard University and Todd Zakrajsek of the University of North Carolina succeeded Halonen and Seldin as co-directors. On their initiative IUT was chartered in 2011 as an independent, non-profit organization under United States law. The following year Wilkinson assumed sole responsibility as director and the Advisory Board was expanded to its current size of 13.

IUT is held in a different country each year. The conference emphasizes dialogue and sharing among participants through thought-provoking keynote addresses, interactive theme sessions, workshops, concurrent paper sessions, poster presentations, and a digital showcase. The small size of the conference helps to foster additional opportunities for informal exchange during the coffee breaks, lunches, and evening social events. Its expanding online presence promises to provide additional resources to the international teaching community throughout the year.
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  • McKeachie Award

    Mitchell, Nicole (Recipient), Ebbs, Phillip (Recipient) & Burbidge, Samantha (Recipient), 29 Jun 2018

    Prize: AwardExternal award

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