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Interdisciplinary Team Teaching: Lessons For Engineering Instructors From A Capstone Course In Environmental Studies

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Conference

2007 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Intersdisciplinary Courses and Environmental Undergraduate Research

Tagged Division

Environmental Engineering

Page Count

13

Page Numbers

12.946.1 - 12.946.13

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/1643

Download Count

616

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Paper Authors

biography

David Braun California Polytechnic State University

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David Braun is a Professor in the Electrical Engineering Department at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. He worked at Philips Research Labs in Eindhoven, the Netherlands from 1992 to 1996, after completing the Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering at U.C. Santa Barbara. Please see www.ee.calpoly.edu/~dbraun/ for information about his courses, teaching interests, and research.

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Emmit B. Evans California Polytechnic State University

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Bud Evans teaches Contemporary Global Political Issues, World Food Systems, the Global Environment and Building Disaster-Resistant Sustainable Communities at California Polytechnic State University. He has a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley, and has conducted research in Kenya as a Fulbright Fellow and in Mexico as a Rockefeller Foundation Environmental Affairs Fellow. He worked as a Research Political Scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya, and served for ten years as the Executive Director of a regional community action agency in southwest Colorado.

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Randall Knight California Polytechnic State University

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Randall Knight is a Professor in the Physics Department at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, where he is also Director of the Minor in Environmental Studies. He received his Ph.D. from U.C. Berkeley and has also been a faculty member at Ohio State University.

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Thomas Ruehr California Polytechnic State University

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

Interdisciplinary Team Teaching: Lessons for Engineering Instructors from a Capstone Course in Environmental Studies

Abstract

The capstone course teaches students to analyze global environmental issues, resources, and human activities with a systems approach based on scientific, economic, political, social and ethical perspectives. Such an intrinsically multifaceted subject demands interdisciplinary treatment. To deliver the interdisciplinary treatment, the course uses diverse faculty teams comprised of faculty from fields in the natural and social sciences, engineering, and business. This work describes the interdisciplinary team teaching strategies adopted for the course and how they evolved with subsequent offerings of the course. We present assessment data measuring how well students achieve course objectives. Finally, experience gleaned from this course for non-majors has produced ideas for lessons engineering instructors can apply to their own courses.

Introduction

The context for this work is a course titled The Global Environment. The course teaches students to analyze global environmental issues, resources, and human activities with a systems approach based on scientific, economic, political, social and ethical perspectives. The course forms the capstone experience for the Minor in Environmental Studies.

Perhaps what will most fascinate engineering faculty is how the course integrates non-technical content with science and technology. The lecture portion of the course mixes technical and non- technical points of view using multimedia presentations by faculty from various areas of expertise and having the students complete a series of reading and writing assignments. The activity portion of the course brings together students from various disciplines in a term project applying problem development and analysis to improve real environmental situations. For the project, students select one global environmental issue and a local manifestation of this issue; analyze relevant resources; develop technical recommendations to address the issue at the local level; perform an economic analysis to estimate costs and benefits of implementing the technical recommendations; and develop political recommendations regarding strategies necessary to implement the technical recommendations. The preceding steps constitute the milestones in the project, allowing students to receive timely feedback prior to project completion.

The course webpage, http://www.ee.calpoly.edu/~dbraun/courses/TGE/UNIV350.html1, contains valuable course resources in addition to those described in this work.

Braun, D., & Evans, E. B., & Knight, R., & Ruehr, T. (2007, June), Interdisciplinary Team Teaching: Lessons For Engineering Instructors From A Capstone Course In Environmental Studies Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/1643

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: © 2007 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