Authenticity in the Classroom


Course Page: ETAP 623 Fall 2018 - Systematic Design of Instruction
Profile Page: Dominick Mayo


Overview and Purpose

Throughout this mini-course, participants will be challenged to think critically about their own teaching and how it can be enhanced with project-based learning (PBL) and personal interest-based learning (PIBL). This course is broken down into three units: Unit One -- Fundamentals of Project-Based and Personal Interest-Based Learning; Unit Two -- Modeled Instructional Support; and Unit Three -- Design in Practice. Each unit will take the participant through various learning outcomes that explore both theory and practice.

The purpose of this course is to help participants better understand the fundamentals of PBL and PIBL and how it can create an authentic classroom. Meaning, a classroom that connects with the students' personal lives. By tracking the fundamentals of each learning model, watching a teacher in practice, and applying prior and current knowledge into practice, the participant can become better suited to teach to students’ interests.

Needs Assessment

The Problem

When students have a deeper passion and understanding of what is being taught in the classroom, they are more likely to become engaged and participate fully in class discussion and assignments. Providing students with instruction and assessment that is both authentic, or something they have a personal interest in, and stimulates various forms of literacy, will allow students to become better learners. However, finding a way to practically establish a rapport with your students and create instruction that can be both personally fulfilling and informative can have its caveats.

What is to be Learned

This course will familiarize educators and other professionals on the numerous strategies and methods they can use to create instruction and assessment that focuses on project-based learning (PBL) and personal interest-based learning.

Instructional Context

The instruction for this course will take place online. In order to access the documents to your best ability, you will also need to have a working Google account to access Google Documents and Slides.


Through the use of scenario-based assessment, participants will be able to apply their own knowledge and experience to the research and case studies presented in this mini-course. By the end of this course, participants should feel confident that they have the tools necessary to implement efficient and effective project-based and personal-interest based instruction and assessment.

Performance Objectives

  1. Given a Google Slides presentation, participants will be able to track the fundamentals of project-based and personal interest-based learning.
  2. While watching a video of project-based learning in the classroom, participants will be able to identify the key components of this learning model.
  3. Given a template, participants will be able to design a plan that promotes project-based and personal interest-based learning.


Thinking about what you currently do

Please take time to brainstorm answers to the following questions.

  1. List the current ways you instruct and assess your students throughout a unit of study.
  2. How could bridging the gap between school and personal lives better enrich the mobility and enthusiasm of your students?

Mini-Course Units

This mini-course includes the following units. Click the title of a unit to go to its page.

Helpful Hints:

  • When clicking on the external links in each of the unit's lesson plans, right click and open in a new tab.
  • The provided Google Slides and Google Doc. are "View Only". You will be able to access the embedded links, however, you cannot edit. If you wish to edit them, go to File->Make a Copy and save the copied document to your own Google Drive.

Unit 1: Fundamentals of Project-Based and Personal Interest-Based Learning

This unit is broken down into two lessons: Lesson One will focus on defining and identifying the various methods of PBL; whereas, Lesson Two will search to define and identify the various methods of PIBL.

Unit 2: Modeled Instructional Support

This unit includes one Lesson that prepares the participant for PBL and PIBL by watching and annotating a video of a teacher in practice.

Unit 3: Design in Prace

The last unit of this mini-course includes two lessons: Lesson One reflects on their own practice and how it can be applied; and, Lesson Two teaches the participant to utilize their newly obtained information through design.

Extended Resources

Behizadeh, N. (2014). Adolescent Perspectives on Authentic Writing Instruction. Journal of Language & Literacy Education / Ankara Universitesi SBF Dergisi, 10(1), 27–44.

Buck Institute for Education. (2018). "The Tiny House Project" [Video File] from

Edutopia. (2016). "Interest-Based Electives: Engaging Students with STEAM Explorations" [Video File] from

ExplainedSimply. (2017). "7 Steps of Project-Based Learning" [Video File] from

Gable, R. A., Bullock, L. M., & Evans, W. H. (2006). Changing Perspectives on Alternative Schooling for Children and Adolescents With Challenging Behavior. Preventing School Failure, 51(1), 5–9. 

Spencer, J. (2017). "What is Project-Based Learning?" [Video File] from

The Education Partners. (2015). Interest-Based Learning. Transforming Learning.

Wolpert-Gawron, H. (2015). What the Heck is Project-Based Learning?. Edutopia.


Course Page: ETAP 623 Fall 2018 - Systematic Design of Instruction
Profile Page: Dominick Mayo