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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is PSLAE?

Problem-solving ranks third among the top most important skills demanded in the technical workforce today. Problem Solve Like an Expert (PSLAE) is an engaging, hands-on curriculum developed by the Jacobs School of Engineering to address the skills gap and teach students how to problem-solve effectively and create impactful and sustainable solutions. Problem-solving has been a long siloed skill thought to be developed in engineering, math, or design courses. We have streamlined this skill to be approachable from students interested in any career path to train them to think in systems and critically evaluate problems to build effective solutions.

What's your vision?

Our vision is to integrate PSLAE as apart of all high school curriculum to benefit students across any career path and foster their curiosity for problem-solving that can be a gateway towards technical and engineering careers. Not only is problem-solving a highly demanded skill, it's a critical skill that acts as a stepping stone for students to make the leap towards interest in technical fields. Many students are deterred by how difficult engineering sounds, and we believe we can regain these interests through equipping them with skills that build their aptitude and self-efficacy towards STEM courses. 

How is this curriculum different than Project Lead the Way?

Administrators and teachers may be curious as to the differences between our curriculum and the nationally recognized Project Lead the Way curriculum for students in engineering. The major differences are in career choices, accessibility, and broad application of the skills built in this course. We've streamlined the process of problem-solving such that is not exclusive to students interested in engineering specifically, but building innate problem-solving skills that carry over to any career path. The curriculum is approachable and accessible for students of all backgrounds and focuses on the core strategies of problem-solving, not the technical rigor that may deter students who are uncertain of their career path. The broad application of this universal skill inherently creates future transdisciplinary leaders that can creatively problem-solve in their area of expertise, whether it be data science or anthropology, to develop sustainable solutions.

How can this course benefit our school?

This course helps build problem-solving skills that transcend across other subjects such as math, science, and engineering. This course can enhance student skills in their other fundamental courses. We package it in an approachable and engaging way so as to not deter students who are uncertain of their efficacy in these skills. More importantly, to encourage more engagement down the pipeline to the engineering courses, this course can be utilized as a gateway to the Project Lead The Way curriculum. Disparities with girls and women in STEM is most prominently observed in engineering courses. This course may function as a bridge to help build self-regulated learning abilities, self-efficacy, and self-confidence to pursue more technical courses. 

Where does this course fit in our curriculum?

This course best fits as an elective. Specifically with the A-G sequences, it can fit within the CTE (career technical education) pathways established at many high schools. This course can be extremely effective as a precursor to internship opportunities. 

How can I get involved?

We would love to meet with you and work on a strategy to integrate this course into your curriculum. We have training and support structures in place to get the ball rolling at your campus. If you are a teacher or administrator, we'd love to hear from you. Please contact us here.

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