Is it still PBL without an authentic audience?
In answer to this question, I would say no, it is not PBL without an authentic audience. One of the largest components to PBL is the real world scenario and experience. In the real world, students are going to have an authentic audience. When they write, it is most likely going to be published online somewhere for others to read. When students complete a project in the work force, it is going to be reviewed by their boss or by a committee. Because of technology and the “online” world we live in, the majority of things we do are going to be seen by others. The use of social media is especially growing in our society and among our students, and EVERYTHING on social media is viewed by an audience. Students need to learn how to communicate and present their ideas effectively. PBL can help students develop those skills.
I also believe having an authentic audience encourages the students to put forth their best effort. When they know someone besides their regular classroom teach is going to view their work, they do their best because they do not want to be seen as incompetent or lazy by others in the community. If we take away that authentic audience, we are going to get a lower quality of work and it becomes just another classroom project students complete for a grade.