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Partnerships for enhanced engagement in research (PEER) SCIENCE
Cycle 2 (2012 Deadline)

Improving process-skills of STEM undergraduate students in Indonesia through Problem-Based Learning (PBL): faculty member development, student assessment, and curriculum adjustment

PI: Kamarza Mulia (Universitas Indonesia)
U.S. Partner: Lisa Hunter (University of California, Santa Cruz)
Project Dates: August 2013 to August 2016
 
Project Website
 

Indonesia Partnership Picture A
Participants in the two-day problem-based learning workshop at Universitas Andalas (Photo courtesy Dr. Mulia).

This project involves the assessment of problem-based learning (PBL) effectiveness in improving the process skills of chemical engineering students at Universitas Indonesia (ChE UI) while satisfying curriculum requirements. Improvement of process skills such as problem solving, working in groups, lifetime learning, and critical thinking will be assessed using a variety of instruments. Since the study will involve a large number of students and will last for three years, it will be possible carry out longitudinal assessment studies of PBL effectiveness in improving students’ process skills. Documented evidence of a successful PBL implementation in a chemical engineering department will contribute to improving scholarship in teaching and encourage more STEM departments to adopt PBL into their programs. The lessons learned in this project will be disseminated through international seminars and peer-reviewed journals.

The main objective of the proposed project is the paradigm shift of STEM faculty members, from teacher-centered to student-centered learning (SCL), PBL in particular. Early in the project, invitations will be sent to faculty members of selected campuses throughout Indonesia to attend an introductory workshop on SCL and PBL at UI’s Depok campus. In these workshops, participants will discuss the SCL paradigm in teaching and learning, process skills required for a successful PBL implementation, and ways of converting a lecture-based course into the PBL format. Participants with strong motivation to implement PBL will be invited to attend a facilitator workshop consisting of more practical topics such as how to conduct mini process skill workshops for students and PBL problems or case studies. Potential faculty members will receive teaching grants and continuing support from the project leaders, and if necessary, a visit to their institutions. Resources such as a PBL book to be authored by the project leaders in the Indonesian language, a database of problems and case studies, and a website written in both the Indonesian and English languages will be made available to assist project participants in implementing PBL. Early in the project, several mini process skill workshops will be integrated into the nine PBL-based courses available in the chemical engineering curriculum at UI so that students could continuously improve their process skills as they progress through the curriculum.
By the end of the project, it will have impacted 200 targeted workshop participants and will have produced 25 new PBL facilitators. The outcomes of the project are expected to contribute directly to the stated USAID Indonesia’s higher education objectives, specifically to improving instructional delivery through better teaching methods and more relevant curricula in STEM fields.
Summary of Recent Activities
PI Dr. Kamarza Mulia and his co-PI Dr. Elsa Krisanti conducted three two-day problem-based learning (PBL) workshops during the first quarter of 2016. The first was held at the Depok Campus of Universitas Indonesia (UI) January 13-14 (65 participants) and the second at the same venue January 20-21 (also 65 participants), attended mainly by STEM-oriented faculty members representing universities from all around Indonesia. The third workshop during this period was held at the Faculty of Pharmacy of Airlangga University, Surabaya, February 23-24. It drew 30 participants from all the various programs of study in the Faculty. With these most recent training activities, this PEER team has conducted 29 workshops attended by 1,173 faculty members from higher institutions across Indonesia (far more than the originally planned 200 participants). Another outreach event on this project took place March 1-3, when Prof. Anuj Chauhan of the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Florida presented a series of four lectures to approximately 150 UI chemical engineering students. In addition, Prof. Chauhan attended the PBL-based controlled drug release class facilitated by the PI and co-PI and provided feedback to the students.

Several publishers were contacted to publish the recently completed PBL book written in Bahasa Indonesia (the Indonesian Language) and one firm has agreed to publish the book. They are currently in the process of formatting the manuscript. The PEER researchers are also submitting a paper entitled “Communication Skills Course: Enhancing Presentation and Proposal Writing Skills of Chemical Engineering Students” to the journal Education for Chemical Engineers published by the Institution of Chemical Engineers.

The PI and the co-PI will be participating in a summer school course entitled “Pharmacy Education and Training” to be held in Utrecht, the Netherlands, July 18-22, 2016. In this course, participants will discuss how to design a competency-based curriculum with the construction of active learning modules. The lessons learned from this course will be useful in the ongoing effort of implementing a competency-based curriculum in their department at UI and in other STEM departments in Indonesia. Using some remaining PEER grant funds, Dr. Mulia and Dr. Krisanti plan to conduct another round of their Faculty Award program. The program will be open to applications from their workshop participants who have implemented PBL in their courses successfully during the academic year 2015-2016. Each grantee will receive an award of 7 million Indonesian rupiahs (approximately U.S. $515). With more than 1,000 workshop alumni, it is anticipated that the response to the call for applications will be significant.
 
 
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