Problem-Based Learning and Two Studies of the Journal of Religion and Film: Self-Sacrifice and Music

  • Author(s): Ken Derry
  • When: 2017-04
  • Where: Journal of Religion & Film
  • This article offers a case study for using problem-based learning (PBL) in a religion and film course. PBL is an open-ended, experiential approach to teaching, which requires students to engage with a real world problem in groups. While many university classes are based on a lecture format and variations of that format, PBL asks students to take greater ownership of their learning. The problem drives what students will learn, how they will learn it, and what they produce to assess that learning. Students in a fourth-year PBL class at the University of Toronto Mississauga were given the following problem: analyze developments in the field of religion and film over the past 20 years through the lens of the Journal of Religion and Film. All four groups of students in the course made significant discoveries in their response to this assignment, and two in particular stood out. These two groups examined patterns evident in how the topics of self-sacrifice and of music were (and were not) discussed in the journal.

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