All courses feature a comprehensive project as the primary instructional strategy to develop student academic and 21st century skills. This research and development project simulates real world experiences and responsibilities. Project-based learning, also known as challenge- or problem-based learning, allows these participants to develop relevant skills through technical writing, research, computer-assisted design, computer animation, digital audio/video, digital photography, and website development. Throughout the individual and group projects, students learn about emerging technologies, Internet-based services, and content specific to each course as they develop a company and assume positions in the company to complete a given challenge.
Students in all courses are required to develop a solution to an issue or problem currently facing our society. Each challenge consists of the following components.
Each year, all courses focus on an idea related to social responsibility. The work student teams do to solve problems helps them not only to develop the skills needed for success in the 21st century workforce, but makes them active members of our global society.
Students brainstorm, investigate case studies, and research ideas from a broad range of topics. Preliminary solutions are proposed, all research is properly cited, Internet domain names and company names are authenticated as original.
Students form companies and assume roles in those companies to propose a viable and innovative solution to the given challenge. Depending on the course, development includes refining the solution, writing the business plan or white paper, learning new technical skills, networking with professionals in the field, organizing an advisory committee, and tackling the logistics of production and delivery.
In conjunction with the development and completion of projects, student teams create websites and marketing materials. Depending on the given challenge, websites may contain animations, computer simulations, maps, timelines, information on philanthropy and social responsibility, and student-produced films. To market their solutions, students design print advertisements, film posters, electronic newsletters, and business cards, and utilize social media to create an online media campaign.
Depending on the project, online evaluation may include multimedia marketing materials, project description and research, business plan, white paper, software plugins, student-produced films, and more.
Interactive Exhibition Space
Student teams present their projects to the public and judges via a trade-show exhibit and/or a virtual exhibition booth. They describe their work, demonstrate their creative solutions to the challenge, generate enthusiasm for their products, network, and cultivate a high degree of professionalism in a business environment.
Representatives from student teams prepare scripted presentations to justify and defend their research to the panel of business leaders, scientists, filmmakers, and higher-education faculty. Students perform in front of an audience of not only judges but their peers and the public as well. In addition, each team member is responsible for an individual explanation of the team project in their exhibition space.
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