Work in Progress - Implementation of a Project-based Learning Curriculum

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



A new project-based learning (PBL) curriculum has begun in northeastern Minnesota as a collaboration between a community college, Itasca Community College, and a state university, Minnesota State University, Mankato. The Iron Range Engineering (IRE) model is a unique, undergraduate problem-based learning engineering program. Students at IRE, who are mostly graduates of Minnesota's community colleges, are upper-division engineering students, enrolled at Minnesota State University, Mankato. IRE students do not take classes. Rather than studying about engineering in the context of 15-week engineering courses, IRE students work in mining, milling, and manufacturing industries solving complex and ill-structured industry problems. All of their learning activities are organized and indexed by those industry projects. At the completion of their two-year program, they receive a B.S. in Engineering with emphases in mechanical engineering and/or electrical engineering. True to the intent of ABET and the attributes of the “The Engineer of 2020”, graduates emerge from the IRE program with integrated technical/professional knowledge and competencies.


Integrated Engineering

Publication Title

2011 Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE)