Problem Solving Project (15%)

Problem Solving Project


Your problem solving project will be graded according to this rubric.

If you choose to work on a problem solving project with one or two other people, here is the direction:


The problem solving process usually goes like this.


Problem identification

Today, you will work on identifying a problem. What do you see as the most annoying, pressing problem at UGA? What have bothered you the most living in Athens?

Here is an example of a problem at UGA.

On a typical game day at the University of Georgia, 90 tons of trash are generated after the football game. This massive amount of disposed items require 1000 collective hours of cleaning up by 100 personnel and $100, 000 per game. There are 10 home games per season. The materials wasted on a game day not only cost money but also cause a serious yet avoidable waste of resources and energy. This waste becomes a serious financial and environmental burden for the University. The University of Georgia turns to EDIT2000 students to suggest a solution to reduce monetary and environmental costs by 50%. What solutions would you recommend for the University? Your solutions should be accompanied by convincing evidence and a detailed, realistic plan of action.

Note that the problem as presented as a case. You are already familiar with cases that we worked on creativity cases.  Usually, a case is written in present tense, short in length, compelling, and appropriate for the reader’s age level to arouse interest and empathy (Herreid, 1997). The case clearly illustrates the dilemma without resolving it.

So, today, your group’s job is to identify a problem.  WE will use a think, share, and decide activity.

Think of a problem you encounter at UGA or in Athens. What do you see as the most annoying, pressing problem at UGA? What have bothered you the most living in Athens?

1. Think: Write down your idea individually on a piece of paper.

2. Share: Tell your team members about what problems you identified.

3. Decide: Pick one of the problems suggested by your team members. As a group, describe the problem as a case to solve.

Problem Definition

Your group has identified the problem and turned it into a case. Now, let’s look more closely at the problem. What else do you need to know to better understand about the problem and eventually suggest a solution? Without understanding clearly about the problem, you may not be able to devise a realistic, effective solution.  This Website can help your approach to problem definition. Think of the following to define your problem.

Consider these questions:

  • What is the problem?
  • Is it my problem?
  • Can I solve it? Is it worth solving?
  • Is this the real problem, or merely a symptom of a larger one?
  • If this is an old problem, what’s wrong with the previous solution?
  • Does it need an immediate solution, or can it wait?
  • Is it likely to go away by itself?
  • Can I risk ignoring it?
  • Does the problem have ethical dimensions?
  • What conditions must the solution satisfy?
  • Will the solution affect something that must remain unchanged?


When problem solving, identify the causes of the problem in order to solve it.

  • Identify causes of your problem
    Look at the current situation, rather than its history
    Do not consider the “trouble” it creates whether now or in the future.
  • List and organize the causes of the problem


How to submit

Google Doc:

Within your group, use a Google Doc to organize your problem solving flow and write collaboratively with your group members. You will submit this document to show the collaboration process and contributions of each member in your group.

Your Google Doc should have at least the following elements:

  1. Problem cases
  2. Evidence
  3. Solution


Evidence Exploration

Once your group has identified and defined the problem, you would move onto thinking about how to solve the problem and learning about what you need to know.

You are working on a variety of problems so it is hard for me to give specific resources. Instead, I can give you some guidance on finding the resources that you may need.

  • What kind of resources would be most useful?
  • Where should we look at to find resources on the topic?
  • What are some search keywords?
  • What does statistics say about the frequency or the serious of the problem?

Some places to look for information about universities and lives in America

US Census Bureau

Athens Clarke County Office

Red & Black

Once you locate some resources, examine it carefully.

  • How do you know if this information is correct and current?
  • Who is the author of this site and what credentials support his or her authority on the topic?
  • Are there other Web sites or resources that contain the same information?
  • What does a non-Web source say about the information found from the Web?
  • When was the site last updated?
  • How much of the site is primary source material?

Concept map: It is helpful to use mind maps (concept maps) to organize evidence in relation to solutions. There are many Web 2.o collaborative mind tools. I like to use Mindomo. If you would like to use this tool, it is better to choose the “mind mapping and project collaboration” option. Sign up and start using with your group members.

You will submit your group’s concept map as part of your project.

Screen shot 2013-11-08 at 8.13.45 AM

Solution Assembly


The first step for finding a solution to your problem is brainstorming. Your group members may have different ideas. Discuss and fill out this template. The key here is not to judge the solutions. List them as they are brought in without any prejudice.

Weighing alternatives

Once you have different ideas for solution, The Developing and Weighing alternatives page can guide weigh different options for your final solution. This page suggest you to make a grid of alternative solutions.  Draw grid on the back of the brainstorming page.

Solution justification

Once you have come up with a possible solution, be prepared to explain the following questions in your presentation.

  • Can you explain why you selected this solution?
  • What evidence have you found to support your solution?
  • How does your evidence support your solution?


You will be presenting your problem case, evidence, and a solution today.  You may collaboratively create and edit your presentation using Google Presentation. Your presentation should last about 7 minutes. The goal is to communicate effectively to those who face the same problem (stakeholders) and receive their feedback on their opinion as to what to consider on implementing the solution.


Reflection and Revision

After presentation, revise your solution as a group using the feedback you received from your classmates.

1. As a team: Add a revised solution slide to your Google presentation.

2. Individually: Embed your Google Presentation to your individual portfolio. Write a reflection in 200 words.

Address all of the following in your reflection:

  • How did you approach identifying a problem? How did your group decide on the problem to focus?
  • What did you to understand about the problem?
  • What sources have you looked to find information about the problem? What evidence did you find that support the problem case?
  • How realistic is your solution? Would you give it to policymakers to implement your solution?
  • How did you revise your solution?
  • How did peer feedback help you?
  • Having gone through a problem solving process, what suggestions do you have for other teachers who were to employ problem-based learning in their classroom?

This is 15% of your grade.

Due: Monday, April 21, 2014 11:59 pm

How to submit: Create a new page called “problem solving” in your portfolio.

What to submit:

  1. Your group’s Google Doc
  2. Digital concept map,
  3. Your group’s Google Presentation
  4. Individual final reflection.

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