June 28, 1998
June 28, 1998
July 1, 1998
3.164.1 - 3.164.16
Cooperative Learning: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Problem-Based Environmental Education
Dennis B. George, Melissa S. Goldsipe, Arthur C. Goldsipe, Martha J.M. Wells, and Harsha N. Mookherjee Center for the Management, Utilization, and Protection of Water Resources/Department of Sociology, Tennessee Technological University
Beginning in the year 2001, engineering education programs in the United States seeking accreditation will be evaluated according to Engineering Criteria 2000 developed by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology 1. Outcome measures that will be used to determine the effectiveness of the engineering program include more than merely engineering design and ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering. Engineering programs must demonstrate that their graduates have & an ability to function on multidisciplinary teams, & an ability to communicate effectively, and & the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context.
These outcomes reflect the student’s ability to communicate engineering and scientific principles and concepts to his or her peers and to appreciate the perspective and knowledge other disciplines offer to solve societal problems. Engineers must understand that their solutions affect people and, therefore, must be sensitive to societal concerns and expectations.
Working Together for Better Results: Interdisciplinary Teams Approaching problems from a single discipline produces limited results. In his article “Tearing Down Disciplinary Barriers,” Roederer 2 states, “In recent years the solutions of . . . problems in practically all branches of science have been demanding . . . increased specialization on one hand, and the pursuit of an increasingly interdisciplinary approach on the other. This paradoxical development of increasing convergence and specificity . . . is beginning to have a considerable impact on the conduct of research programs. . . .”
The complex nature of the modern work environment and current research issues demand that scientists, engineers, and other professionals work together to understand the task at hand. Universities must answer this demand by educating students to appreciate the advantages of collaborating with professionals from other disciplines and those in their own academic fields. When interdisciplinary teams form, a lack of appreciation for each other’s professional perspectives often prevents them from solving problems effectively. Intensive, cross-disciplinary dialogue is then required to produce knowledge all team members can understand. When barriers to interdisciplinary research are overcome, real scientific progress and problem-solving can occur.
Goldsipe, M. S., & Wells, M. J., & Mookherjee, H. N., & George, D. B., & Goldsipe, A. C. (1998, June), Cooperative Learning: An Interdisciplinary Approach To Problem Based Environmental Education Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington. https://peer.asee.org/6991
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