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Hyperdisciplinary Courseware: A Means Of Integrating The Curriculum

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1997 Annual Conference


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Publication Date

June 15, 1997

Start Date

June 15, 1997

End Date

June 18, 1997



Page Count


Page Numbers

2.220.1 - 2.220.7



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Paper Authors

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William J. Adams

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Curtis A. Carver

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

Session 2220

Hyperdisciplinary Courseware: A Means of Integrating the Curriculum

MAJ Curtis A. Carver Jr. and CPT(P) William J. Adams Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science United States Military Academy West Point, NY 10996

Abstract1 This paper will discuss the development of hyperdisciplinary courseware: World-Wide Web (WWW)-based, tightly coupled, interdisciplinary courseware. It will also discuss the tools re- quired to create hyperdisciplinary courseware, a ongoing effort at the United States Military Academy and other institutions to create hyperdisciplinary courseware, and the perceived ad- vantages and disadvantages of the courseware. WWW-based hypermedia has the potential of interconnecting related courseware from different courses or different institutions in ways that were previously impossible. This provides for the explicit development of threads of learning, independent of departmental boundaries, within an institutional and potentially for seamless in- tegration of course material across institutional boundaries. This is a fundamental and powerful change in how students learn. Previously, students completed a series of often loosely coupled courses that comprised the student’s undergraduate education. Synthesis of these different courses and course material was left as an exercise for the student. Hyperdisciplinary course- ware solves this problem by tightly coupling courses in an orthogonal network-based framework. WWW-based hypermedia, with the development of the proper tools, could facilitate the develop- ment, coordination, and presentation of information across departmental boundaries. This will fundamentally change how students prepare and review course material outside of the class- room.

The Problem Over the last three years, thousands of hypermedia courses based on the World Wide Web (WWW) have been developed. This hypermedia courseware ranges from simple text to interac- tive, adaptive hypermedia courseware. At the United States Military Academy, hypermedia courseware development focused on a single pilot program, CS383 [see 1-7 and Figure 1]. Begun in 1993, this program was highly successful and based on its success and the popularity of the WWW, hypermedia courseware spread throughout the Academy. As different departments began to develop hypermedia courseware, fundamentally different interface designs, directory struc- tures, and courseware functionality were used. Moreover, different departments developed differ- ent tools that provided the same functionality (assessment, learning styles assessment, etc.). This wasted courseware development time and confused students as they had to learn different course interfaces that provided basically the same functionality. Finally, attempts to integrate the hyper-

1 The views expressed in this paper do not represent the official position of the United States Military Academy, the US Army or the Department of Defense. All insights are the authors' own.

Adams, W. J., & Carver, C. A. (1997, June), Hyperdisciplinary Courseware: A Means Of Integrating The Curriculum Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 10.18260/1-2--6599

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