Project Based Learning (PBL) Center

Mission:

Project Based Learning Center (PBL) offers students a centered and active classroom pedagogy. The Center is to aid students to enhance their learning and collaboration in complex and challenging projects.

Objectives:

Project Based Learning (PBL) Center is an organizational unit of the College of Engineering that aims to:

  1. Develop a PBL (Project Based Learning) model for the socio-cultural context of the Middle East region.
  2. Develop and implement an effective PBL environment for AU’s students.
  3. Train, coach and advise PBL facilitators (i.e. educators utilizing a PBL approach).
  4. Provide an internal and external representation of the PBL approach at AU.

PBL Principles

The six learning principles of the PBL model applied in the College of Engineering can be summarized as follows:

  1. Project-oriented (i.e., a project scenario provides a starting point and guidance for the learning process).
  2. Student self-directed/facilitator-guided (i.e., students are responsible for their learning and decide on their learning strategy, guided by the facilitator).
  3. Activity-based (i.e., activities such as research, drafting, etc. allow reflection and learning).
  4. Real life context (i.e., project scenarios and work are as close as possible to an industry setting).
  5. Analytical thinking is required (i.e., challenges resulting from the project work require thinking to be solved).
  6. Team-based (i.e., students work collaboratively, facilitator acts as a “client” or “line manager”).

These principles influence each other and ensure an effective PBL model.

PBL Center serves as a hub for innovation, enabling students and faculty members alike to push the boundaries of knowledge and achieve their goals.

Under the guidance of dedicated PBL facilitators, numerous exciting projects have been carried out where students worked on projects that contributed to the development of the intended course learning outcomes. A total of 24 courses were utilized in PBL in the College of Engineering, with seven courses in Mechanical Engineering and Civil Engineering, and a further five units in Electrical & Electronics Engineering and Petroleum Engineering. The complexity of projects increased from semester to semester, and students were effectively prepared for the workplace.

Complemented by the CDIO concept (Conceive, Design, Implement, Operate), students covered the whole cycle of engineering design based on various engineering design projects. Simulation is used to simulate the behavior of large engineering structures.

At the PBL Center, our commitment to innovation knows no bounds. We always seek out new opportunities to integrate Artificial Intelligence (AI) seamlessly into student projects across the different PBL courses within the College of Engineering. By staying at the forefront of technological advancements, we empower students to harness the transformative potential of AI in their academic pursuits. Our dedicated team keeps exploring novel initiatives and cutting-edge solutions, ensuring that our students receive a comprehensive education that prepares them to thrive in an increasingly AI-driven world. Through ongoing research, collaboration, and adaptation, the PBL Center remains steadfast in its mission to provide students with the tools and resources they need to excel in their academic and professional endeavors.

At the PBL Center, we believe in providing innovative solutions to enhance learning and research experiences. As part of our commitment to fostering creativity and exploration, we offer state-of-the-art 3D printing services. Whether students are working on projects or faculty members are conducting research activities, our 3D printing capabilities provide invaluable support. From bringing conceptual designs to life to creating prototypes for experimentation, our advanced technology empowers individuals to turn ideas into reality. With access to cutting-edge equipment and expert guidance.

Dedicated and adequately trained learning facilitators are at the core of any effective PBL model. The PBL Center encouraged the PBL Facilitator to participate in Professional Development (PD) opportunities. In addition to the external training, internal training for faculty members new to PBL was delivered at the beginning of each semester. Continuous coaching and advising were provided by the PBL Center to learning facilitators and students throughout the academic year.

At the PBL Center, we are committed to fostering a culture of innovation and exploration within the College of Engineering. As part of this mission, we continually seek out new research ideas across a spectrum of engineering majors. Our dedicated team is passionate about staying at the forefront of emerging trends and technologies, ensuring that our research initiatives remain relevant, impactful, and forward-thinking. Through collaboration with faculty members, industry partners, and students, we aim to address pressing challenges, push the boundaries of knowledge, and contribute to the advancement of engineering disciplines. Whether it’s pioneering breakthroughs in sustainable energy, advancing materials science, or revolutionizing transportation systems, the PBL Center is dedicated to transformative research that makes a difference.

The PBL Center started several industrial collaborations and organized enriching field trips, providing students with real-world exposure and invaluable hands-on experiences. As part of a global initiative, the PBL Center initiated new partnerships with esteemed institutions such as Aalborg University in Denmark and UNESCO, broadening horizons and facilitating cross-cultural exchange. Furthermore, to support the creative endeavors of both students and faculty members, the PBL Center extended its services by offering 3D printing facilities for project prototypes and research purposes, reinforcing its commitment to nurturing innovation and excellence. As we look back on a year marked by progress and collaboration, we celebrate the PBL Center’s unwavering dedication to enriching the educational landscape and empowering future engineers.

The PBL Center organized several enriching experiences aimed at bridging the gap between academia and industry. Through a strategic focus on hands-on learning, the Center organized numerous field trips, immersing students in real-world environments to apply theoretical knowledge to practical scenarios. Furthermore, The Center established significant collaborations with industry partners, emphasizing the importance of hands-on experience in shaping well-rounded engineers. These collaborations took many different forms, including seminars delivered by industry experts, insightful field visits to industrial facilities, and engaging meetings facilitating dialogue and knowledge exchange. By fostering these valuable connections and experiences, the PBL Center remains steadfast in its commitment to preparing students for success in the dynamic landscape of engineering.