Interdisciplinary Collaboration in the Classroom

By Marilyn Whitney.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Communication

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: December 2, 2014 $US5.00

In a classroom, collaboration across departments with diverse knowledge silos means establishing shared goals and trust through open communication. This special topics class joined interior design and business students to produce a feasibility study for the Lenawee County YMCA. The goal was to expand the YMCA’s membership and update the current facility for better barrier free access. Process: Five assignments informed the students about diverse topics and build the students into a cohesive team. Students corrected each other’s work and each assignment had different team members with different tasks to build trust. Through a process of researching, sharing, writing, and editing two research papers, a cohesive team was developed. Key to moving the project forward was maximizing class time to use strategies to coordinate, inform and motivate student for timely completion of tasks. Outcome: In sixteen weeks, student prepared a sixty page booklet of their Evidence Based Design, location information, and history research, interviews, assessment of the site and 132 responses to the survey sent out to 2,500 members. The booklet concluded with a new marketing plan to encourage younger people to use this facility and program remodeling of the facility to gain more access for everyone.

Keywords: Interdisciplinary, Experiential, Real World Learning in Classroom, Self-Guided Learning, Body of Knowledge

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Communication, Volume 8, Issue 4, December 2014, pp.1-8. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: December 2, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 425.030KB)).

Dr. Marilyn Whitney

Interior Design Department, Adrian College, Adrian, Michigan, USA

An interior design practitioner for 25 years, I received my Ph.D. from Virginia Tech in 2008. My research interests include licensure, professionalization of interior design, creativity and collaboration. As an educator I have taught all interior design classes except history and CAD. I am successful in garnering creativity out of 90% of my students, but also stress the technical details needed for them to be successful in the field.