Project-Based Learning in the College Composition Classroom: A Case Study

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.A. in English


Department of English


Advisor: Bryan Bardine


Many college composition instructors are facing lower levels of student engagement in their classes, and it is not entirely clear why this disengagement is happening or what we can do to stop it. To test a potential solution to this problem, the author built and taught two sections of a second-year college composition course using the structure of Project-Based Learning (PBL), then performed a qualitative summative evaluation of each section using interviews with students and personal notes. This paper concludes that students prefer the PBL classes to traditional English classes for a variety of reasons, including the wider range of choice and control afforded to them by projects and the real-world impact of their creations, but that PBL can make it more challenging for instructors to meet all learning outcomes. While there are many limitations to PBL, it is worth considering as a possible model for composition instructors and an exciting new area of study for composition scholars.


Composition, Education, Higher Education, Pedagogy, Teaching, college teaching, project-based learning, composition, composition pedagogy

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