Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Community Engagement Division
In today’s integrated society, professionals and students alike rarely work solely with members of their own discipline and must learn to work collaboratively with others to solve problems and suggest solutions. Increasingly, evidence supports the claim that millennials in particular are more likely to be engaged in problem solving or any job task if they feel that they can make a difference through the work that they are doing. Universities should support this goal of contributing to society through coursework that helps to integrate both multidisciplinary classrooms and classrooms that serve a purpose and can help the surrounding communities through projects like service learning. However, service learning may be difficult to achieve in many places across the United States and even internationally because of logistical issues like money and time. Our work at a land-grant university creates a classroom composed of three majors (distribution logistics, sociology, and technology management) that work together on a distance service learning project to address food disparities. These three majors meet once a week as a united class, and once a week separately to learn pertinent skills from their major. These students work on a service project by using teleconferencing technology to meet remotely with a food bank to fully understand the problems that their food bank is experiencing. Students work in multidisciplinary groups to help make a difference in the lives of people in the communities that their food bank serves while simultaneously learning communication, problem solving, and research skills. We used pre- and post-surveys, reflections, and student interviews to more fully understand the dynamics of the course and student experiences and to track how the multiple disciplines view each other throughout the semester. We will present data from the pilot study of this course and make suggestions for changes for the next iteration.
Lu, W., & Natarajarathinam, M., & Campbell, M. E., & McDougal, M. K., & Holder, L. N. (2018, June), Engagement in Practice: Engaging Undergraduate Students in a Multidisciplinary Service-Learning Environment Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30383
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