Online Course: Adapting Your First PBL Project

Strengthen your project design skills by adapting a project from our project library based on your context and the unique needs of your students.
Adapting Your First Project

Course Description

In this course, teachers will adapt one of 73 standards-based PBL projects to meet the needs of their students and unique context - both for the classroom or remote learning - while gaining a grounding in the Essential Design Elements for Gold Standard PBL. In addition, teachers will learn how PBL can be a powerful tool for promoting educational equity. 

Cost: $399
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Optional graduate-level professional development credit is available through Southern New Hampshire University for an additional $120 fee.

Who should take this course?

Teachers who are new to PBL, as well as experienced PBL teachers, who wish to learn how to adapt existing Gold Standard projects for their students - whether in the classroom or online. It’s also a great opportunity for teachers to learn or review what PBL is and how it can be transformational for students. 

This course is also for teachers who wish to earn optional graduate-level professional development credit.

Course outcomes

  • A ready-to-implement, standards-based PBL unit designed for a participant’s students - including community resources, technology specs, and a comprehensive assessment plan with both formative and summative strategies. 
  • A grasp of the Essential Project Design Elements for Gold Standard PBL, and how  to apply these elements to make learning more meaningful and engaging for all students. 
  • Facility in navigating the interactive Project Designer tool to adapt future PBL units for their students. 

The essentials

  • Includes Project Designer, an online planning tool, with a library of 73 adaptable, standards-based PBL Projects across subject areas and grade levels (K-12). 
  • Instruction: Facilitated 90-minute weekly sessions and independent work
  • Grading: Pass/Fail
  • Class Size: Up to 50 educators
  • Course Length: 8 weeks
  • University Credit: Optional graduate-level professional development credit is available for additional fee and is offered through the Southern New Hampshire University

What to expect?

Course Outline

Week 1: Gold Standard Project Based Learning Overview - required 90-min online session
Build your understanding of what PBL and a Gold Standard project is, and gain an understanding of a project through your students' eyes.

Week 2: Engaging Your Students with a Challenging Problem or Question - independent work and optional online session
Consider your project with the end in mind by learning how to develop a challenging problem or question tied to learning goals, standards, and success skills, and educational equity. Project Based Teaching practices will be introduced.

Week 3: Sustaining Inquiry from Start to Finish - independent work and optional online session
Adapt an Entry Event to meet the needs of your classroom. Learn how to ensure all students can succeed through need-to-knows and effective question strategies.

Week 4: Planning for Voice and Choice - required 90-min online session 
Develop opportunities for students to have voice and choice within the activities, milestones, and final project. Consider strategies for developing effective teamwork skills including providing feedback.

Week 5: Authentic Connections - independent work and optional online session
Develop plans for including authentic audiences - community partners/experts aligned to the subject matter - for your students during the project. Explore technology tools and strategies to help actualize this part of the project plan.

Week 6: Assessing and Reflecting - independent work and optional online session
Apply formative and summative strategies aligned to learning goals, standards, and success skills that allow students to reflect and improve upon their work.

Week 7: Critique and Revision - independent work and optional online session
Improve your plan with peer feedback.  Learn critique protocols to embed in your project and learn how to anticipate challenges and make adjustments

Week 8: Exhibition of Learning - required 90-min online session 
Showcase learning and reflection. Learn how to prepare for student showcases and plan for student reflection post-event.

Additional Course Details

  • Learning Documents & Materials

    Required Text: None. Required materials are provided online

    Supplemental Reading (optional): Setting the Standard for Project Based Learning  (Larmer, Mergendoller, & Boss, 2015)

    In addition, each module includes:

    • Background building, via short readings, video case studies, interactive learning activities
    • Formative assessment (either for self-assessment or shared with facilitator), including focused discussions, weekly reflection, open response prompts, quizzes, and peer critique.
    • Collaborative learning, e.g., guided discussion with subset of classmates, collaborative response to scenarios
  • Assignments
    • Weekly journal entry in response to specific reflection prompt. Journal is submitted as final deliverable.
    • Final product will be presented in Week 8 during a synchronous session and contributed to an idea bank
    • Peer assessments, based on rubric for final product
  • Technical Requirements


    • Desktop, laptop, Chromebook, or Surface PRO 4 or newer are ideal. (We do not recommend iOS or Android tablets)
    • Speakers (either external or internal) or headphones/earbuds 
    • Webcam (either external or internal)

    Internet Connection

    • An internet connection – broadband wired or wireless
    • 3Mbps/3Mbps (upload/download) – Not sure? Check here. 

    Operating Systems

    • Mac OS 10.10 or newer, Windows 10 or newer, and Chrome OS Browsers
    • Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Microsoft Edge are recommended.


    • Zoom Video Conferencing program (latest update), available for free download here
    • Google Docs via a Google-enabled account. Free sign up here.


Adapting a Project



Dates: July 11 – Sept 2, 2022 (Mondays)
               Sept 26 - Nov 18, 2022 (Mondays)

Start Time: 6:30 PM Central Time

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