Asee peer logo

Cooperative Learning: An Interdisciplinary Approach To Problem Based Environmental Education

Download Paper |


1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.164.1 - 3.164.16



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Melissa S. Goldsipe

author page

Martha J.M. Wells

author page

Harsha N. Mookherjee

author page

Dennis B. George

author page

Arthur C. Goldsipe

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1461

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. 10.18260/1-2--6991

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 1998 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015