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KLK262: Development, Deployment, and Assessment of Activity Based Transportation Courses: Full Description

Principal Investigators:

Michael Kyte and Steve Beyerlein with Chris Monsere, Portland State University; Shane Brown, Washington State University; Nancy Nihan, University of Washington; and Billy Connor, University of Alaska

Project Objectives:

The Region X Consortium is poised to deliver a new educational program to a target audience of university students and transportation professionals in the Pacific Northwest in order to address pipeline, training, and retention issues in the transportation industry. The program is based on a new paradigm for educational content delivery—an active, problem-based learning environment conducted at a distance. Supported by educational research and the expertise of the faculty from the proposing institutions, this program seeks to enhance the quality of the learning environment for transportation students, thereby advancing the cause of transportation workforce recruitment, and to provide pedagogically sound, cost-effective training to practicing professionals in order to hone essential skills and promote workforce retention.

The Region X Transportation Consortium will develop four course modules, deliver these modules in a unique distance-based learning environment, test the efficacy of the modules in meeting program goals, and provide a means to disseminate materials and lessons learned to a national audience.

The modules will be learner-centered, built upon our extensive experience in creating active, problem-based learning environments for our transportation students, and validated by pedagogical research funded through the National Science Foundation and others. A substantial body of research demonstrates that problem-based environments produce students who perform better at solving novel problems and other positive learning outcomes. [i]

The modules will be offered over a distance to our target audience of university students and practicing professionals. This learning environment will provide many benefits to both groups. Students and professionals will develop essential communication and collaboration skills in a distance-separated work environment that replicates the work environment at most agencies. Students will network with professionals and gain a real understanding of the field, as well as forge relationships and perhaps, find mentors. Students will benefit from the professionals’ perspectives, work ethic and occupational pride. Students will contribute a fresh perspective and technological savvy. Professionals will gain essential training in technical skills by solving generative problems stated in their complex contexts. This professional development can aid in improving job retention by building core competencies and fostering networking. Enhanced learning and self-assessment skills, developed in both groups, will contribute to the creation of an engineering workforce of “life-long learners.” According to the National Academy of Engineering, this is an imperative for the 21st century. [ii]

We have established a unique and active regional consortium, recognized and promoted by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the FHWA. This consortium, known as the Region X Transportation Consortium, includes the four state departments of transportation and the four University Transportation Centers (UTCs) from Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Idaho. The four UTCs will develop and deliver these new curricula to university students and practitioners from the state DOTs and their partners (including local transportation agencies and private consultants).

Our team is uniquely qualified to deliver this new program. Principal investigator Michael Kyte has over 35 years experience in transportation practice, education and research. He has developed new transportation learning environments and products including the widely recognized Traffic Signal Summer Workshop. He co-developed the Highway Capacity Manual Applications Guide and the Mobile Traffic Signal Timing Training program. The team includes faculty from the U of I, University of Washington, Portland State University, Washington State University and the University of Alaska who have significant experience in technical training, program and project management, educational curriculum development, educational research and testing, and program evaluation and assessment.

[i] Duncan-Hewitt, Wendy, Problem-Based Learning in Faculty Guidebook, p. 243.

[ii] Project Kaleidoscope, 2006. Report on Reports II: Transforming America’s Scientific and Technological Infrastructure-Recommendations for Urgent Action. Project Kaleidoscope, Washington, DC. P.25.

Budget Information:

Funding for this project from the Federal Highway Administration is $1,199,700.

Project status: Complete

Final Report: KLK262




Physical Address:
115 Engineering Physics Building
Moscow, ID 83844-0901

Phone: 208-885-0576

Fax: 208-885-2877