Tracing the Growth of a Community of Practice Centered on Holistic Project-Based Learning in Communication at an Engineering University in the United Arab Emirates: Insights From a Socially-Situated Teacher Cognition Perspective

Mark Wyatt, Roger Nunn


A holistic project-based learning approach can be used to support the development of teamwork, critical thinking, communication and research skills in undergraduate engineers in international contexts where English is a lingua franca. However, in many contexts, this approach might remain an under-exploited option. Our qualitative case study focused on one community of practice within the communication department of an engineering university in the Middle East that appears to have embraced project-based learning. Drawing on cultural-historical activity theory, we concentrated on gaining a deeper understanding of how this community of practice has developed and been sustained. From a socially-situated language teacher cognition research perspective, we analyzed experiences, beliefs and practices of communication department faculty regarding project-based learning. Our rich, descriptive account may be of interest to academics interested in encouraging project-based learning elsewhere.


project-based learning; language teacher cognition; cultural-historical activity theory; qualitative case study; undergraduate engineers; communication courses; Middle East

Full Text:



Copyright (c) 2019 Mark Wyatt, Roger Nunn

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.