June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.946.1 - 12.946.13
Interdisciplinary Team Teaching: Lessons for Engineering Instructors from a Capstone Course in Environmental Studies
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.
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. 10.18260/1-2--1643
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