ICoP October Meeting

Date: Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013
Time: 2:30-4:30pm
Place: Fraser River Room in the Centre for Teaching and Technology at the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre

Registration:  http://events.ctlt.ubc.ca/events/view/2865

Please come join our first Interdisciplinary Community of Practice (ICoP) meeting for the new academic year to meet new and old community members from across the disciplines and to plan the Community’s activities for the year. The session will include a brief presentation by Pam Kalas from the Department of Zoology sharing lessons learned from integrating the Truth and Reconciliation event on September 18 into her biology course (BIOL121) (Click here for a brief story on this initiative). Bring your colleagues, your ideas for interdisciplinary activities, and curiosity and enthusiasm for building interdisciplinarity into your courses!

Upcoming Meeting: April 25, 2013

Greetings, interdisciplinary enthusiasts!

We look forward to seeing you at the next Interdisciplinary Community of Practice (ICoP) meeting. At this meeting, we will look ahead to the 2013/2014 school year:

  • Mix strategies: Natalie Baloy (UBC Mix Coordinator) will discuss how you can develop your own interdisciplinary events and partnerships using Mix strategies
  • Interdisciplinary teaching techniques: We will explore how to adapt teaching and discussion techniques to interdisciplinary learning settings
  • ICoP next year: You’ll meet Victoria Wood (College of Health Disciplines), the new co-facilitator for the ICoP with Hanae Tsukada from CTLT, and we’ll discuss topics for ICoP meetings in 2013/2014
  • Networking: And there will be ample time for cross-disciplinary networking!
Here are the event details:

  • Date: Thursday, April 25th
  • Time: 10am-12pm
  • Location: Room 2.22 in the Centre for Teaching, Learning, and Technology (Irving K. Barber Learning Centre)
  • Please bring: Colleagues or someone you’d like to meet from another discipline, and interdisciplinary ideas for next year
  • Please register: http://events.ctlt.ubc.ca/events/view/2433
See you there!
Natalie, Hanae, and Victoria

Meeting Notes: March 4, 2013

On Monday, March 4th, the ICoP met to discuss to how to promotes interdisciplinary thinking in the classroom.

After a brief round of introductions between veterans ICoP Members and ‘newbees’, we welcomed two guest speakers.

  • Sauder instructor Paul Cubbon will shared his experiences designing COMM 486S/JRNL 520A, a new course on social media, and many other interdisciplinary courses he has helped to create. COMM 486s/JRNL 520A is cross-listed in Commerce and Journalism and is co-taught by Cubbon and Alfred Hermida. (Click here to see Dr. Cubbon’s UBC TedX Talk.)  Paul gave an energetic and inspiring presentation on how to work within and around structural challenges to build innovative interdisciplinary courses. For advice and techniques, check out Paul’s Handout (pdf).
  • Karla Pollmann, visiting scholar from the University of Kent, has been conducting research this year at UBC for a project entitled, “Go Beyond Boundaries: Designing an Interdisciplinary Graduate Teaching Programme.” She has been observing the different forms of interdisciplinarity at UBC. She share some of her reflections so far with us, noting that UBC Mix offers an innovative “grassroots” model that could be taken up by universities in the UK and Europe. She distinguished between different forms of interdisciplinary education and institutional support, from student-driven to teacher-driven models, program-based models, and short vs. longterm approaches. For summaries of these different forms, see Karla’s Handout (pdf).

After Paul and Karla’s helpful presentations, the remainder of the meeting was devoted to networking and casual sharing about past, current, and future interdisciplinary efforts.

Our next meeting is scheduled for April 25, 2013. See you there!


Designing Interdisciplinary Learning Activities

Join us for an Interdisciplinary Community of Practice meeting!

Date: Monday, March 4th

Time: 2:30-4:30pm

Location: Seminar Room 2.22 – Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology

Please registerhttp://events.ctlt.ubc.ca/events/view/2273

How can you promote interdisciplinary thinking in your classroom? At this ICoP meeting we will explore how to design effective interdisciplinary courses and learning activities. Building from our last session on assessing interdisciplinary learning, we will discuss how to adapt and alter existing approaches to lesson design to encourage students to think across disciplines.

Sauder instructor Paul Cubbon will join us to share his experiences designing COMM 486S/JRNL 520A, a new course on social media. The course is cross-listed in Commerce and Journalism and is co-taught by Cubbon and Alfred Hermida. Paul will discuss the development of the course and lessons he is learning in its first term. (Click here to see Dr. Cubbon’s UBC TedX Talk.)

For the remainder of the meeting, we will brainstorm how to adapt different teaching techniques to enhance interdisciplinary learning. Please bring a question or example of your interdisciplinary teaching efforts to share with the group.

About the Interdisciplinary Community of Practice (ICoP): The ICoP emerged out of enthusiasm for UBC Mix, a project that supports classroom-level collaborations between two or more courses for interdisciplinary lessons. Scholars of higher education are increasingly recognizing the value of interdisciplinary thinking. The ICoP provides a space to think collectively about the practice and pedagogy of interdisciplinary teaching and learning at UBC. If you have questions or suggestions, please contact facilitators Natalie Baloy (ubc-mix@interchange.ubc.ca) and Hanae Tsukada (ctlt.prodev@ubc.ca).


ICoP: Assessment and Evaluation (November 5, 2012)

At the November 5th meeting of the Interdisciplinary Community of Practice, we addressed issues relating to assessing and evaluating interdisciplinary learning. Hanae Tsukada and Natalie Baloy co-facilitated the meeting.

After a brief round of introductions, we learned about mechanisms of interdisciplinary assessment from the following community members:

  • David Brownstein (Geography/Canadian Studies): Ritsumeikan University/UBC exchange – LLED/ISC overlapping assignment
  • Mike van der Loos (Engineering): Engineering Capstone course and student reflections
  • Catherine Douglas (Economics): Designing Mix on homelessness with community partners, student reflections
Many thanks to these presenters!

In addition to speakers’ remarks, we discussed Bloom’s Taxonomy (see links below) and how to adapt learning objectives to interdisciplinary contexts. The following resources were available:

These resources are also available at this Dropbox link. If you have resources about interdisciplinary teaching and learning, please send them to mix.ubc@gmail.com. Be sure to use and build our Wiki resource portal as well!
Thank you for participating in our meeting! It is exciting to see this new community develop and grow.

New! Community of Practice

You’re invited to the first gathering of the Interdisciplinary Community of Practice!

When? Wednesday, September 12th
What time? 10-11:30am
Where? The Lillooet Room (301) in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre

Why should you attend?
This meeting will address the question “How can I make my existing course more interdisciplinary?” It will offer you an opportunity to connect with instructors in other disciplines to find ways of embedding interdisciplinarity in your teaching practice. It will also create a time and space to discuss future topics for this new community of practice.

What’s a Community of Practice?
Communities of practice are groups whose members “share a passion for something they know how to do and who interact regularly to learn how to do it better” (Wenger 2006). The Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology supports Communities of Practice on a range of topics. The Interdisciplinary Community of Practice is a new community supported by participants in the UBC Mix project and others committed to interdisciplinary teaching and learning.

What’s UBC Mix?
UBC Mix facilitates partnerships between instructors, students, and courses to create interdisciplinary learning opportunities. From shared guest speakers to student-led workshops, discussion sessions to data-mashups, Mix has supported dynamic interdisciplinary education, breaking down institutional barriers across campus. The Interdisciplinary Community of Practice offers opportunities for Mix partners and other teaching practitioners to address pedagogical benefits and challenges of interdisciplinary teaching and learning.

Please RSVP!
Please let us know if you will attend! Light refreshments will be served.

Questions? Comments? Suggestions?
If you have a question you would like to address in future Interdisciplinary Community of Practice meetings, please be in touch with Natalie Baloy, the UBC Mix Student Coordinator (ubc-mix@interchange.ubc.ca). If you have questions about other Communities of Practice, please contact Mali Bain, the Community of Practice developer (ctlt.copdeveloper@ubc.ca).


Mixing It Up! Notes – CTLT Institute Session 2012

On May 30, 2012, UBC Mix teamed up with other UBC interdisciplinarians to offer the workshop “Mixing It Up! Collaborating Across the Disciplines,” part of this year’s CTLT Institute. Lead by a great group of facilitators, the session explored the benefits and challenges of interdisciplinary teaching and learning.

Panel Discussion

To get things started, a panel shared their experiences across the spectrum of interdisciplinary possibilities.

  • Gordon Bates shared his experiences with Science One and highlighted its unique ability to get students thinking through multiple disciplinary lenses in the sciences.
  • Christina Hendricks explained the structure of Arts One, emphasizing the rewards of working with an interdisciplinary team of instructors on a unique and thoughtful curriculum.
  • Justin Ritchie explained how students and faculty can get involved in interdisciplinary thinking around issues of sustainability through UBC Reads Sustainability and the AMS Sustainability Projects Fund.
  • Allen Sens discussed the genesis of ASIC 200, an innovative course co-taught by Sens (Political Science) and David Ng (Biology).
  • Eugenia Yu explained how a Mix partnership between statistics and biology last year has been expanded, with advanced Statistics students offering consultation to graduate students in the School of Population and Public Health and participating in an interdisciplinary journal club.

Group Discussions

The rest of the session was dedicated to small and large group discussions to get participants sharing challenges and ideas from their various disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives. The facilitation team posted the six potential discussion questions:

  • What are the steps for designing an interdisciplinary course from the ground up?
  • How can I make my existing course more interdisciplinary?
  • How does disciplinary diversity in the classroom affect our teaching practice?
  • What are the challenges and benefits of interdisciplinary team teaching?
  • What are the barriers and challenges that exist around interdisciplinary teaching and learning?
  • Which concepts work well for interdisciplinary teaching?

Participants selected their top choices in a ‘dotmocracy‘ activity, with the most votes going to “How can I make my existing course more interdisciplinary?” and “What are the challenges and barriers around interdisciplinary teaching and learning?” Below are notes from the discussions for each question. There are also resource guides for all six questions above.

Question 1: How can I make my existing course more interdisciplinary?

Group 1

  • Problem-based learning
  • Pick main concepts in course
    • Create problems around these (e.g. 7-8 per term)
    • Students bring interdisciplinary prior knowledge in course
  • Student group projects
    • Put teams together from different disciplines
  • Sustainability theme for project – students pick topic, but have to look at it from (2 out of) 3 perspectives:
    • Environment
    • Economic (if they have the data)
    • Social
    • They have to do research on these three perspectives

Group 2

  • Using sources that are outside of classroom (plays, arts, museums + culture; issue-based)
  • Guest speakers (Skype)
  • Trade teaching time
  • Provide provocation – challenge, process
  • Create opportunities for exposure
  • Release – ‘take no responsibility for the outcome’

Group 3

  • Extra + co-curricular projects
  • Fieldtrips
  • Tutorials (subjects + content)
  • Assignments
  • Conversation, dialogue, collaboration
  • Interprofessional curriculum
  • Team teaching
  • Student engagement (mixing students)
  • Guest speakers
  • Practice communicating knowledge

Group 4

  • Having students from different departments collaborate on projects/discussions
  • Invite guest speakers to lectures (with students writing reflections)
  • Students working on wiki pages/online form
  • Have more forward/strategic/effective planning
  • Create learning goals
  • Different styles of inquiry on same text/subject

Group 5

  • Teaching language using interdisciplinary approaches
    • Watching documentaries
    • Putting people in unfamiliar situations
    • Inviting other classes and people from other disciplines to speak on course topics (ask students to translate)
    • Combining cultural aspects to provide context to language courses
  • Letting go of content and allowing the learning objectives to be re-evaluated
    • What is really relevant in the course?
    • Are there aspects that aren’t necessary?
  • Case studies
    • Create interdisciplinary case studies through math, science, chemistry, arts
    • Interactions with courses in other departments (UBC Mix!)
    • Guest speakers with reflections after
  • Data mash-ups
  • Courses with students from varied backgrounds
  • Bartering course time/time trades

Question 2: What are the challenges and barriers (and solutions!) to interdisciplinary teaching and learning?

Group 1

  • How to keep the conversation sustained
    • i.e. not a ‘mix for the moment’
    • How to deepen and broaden the insights from different disciplinary perspectives?
  • Design of course expectations that allows for a range of types of engagement
    • Map out parameters
    • Create specific tasks/assignments that require students from different disciplines to engage with each other to problem solve
    • Use assessment as a starting point in some cases
    • Joint planning

Group 2

  • Language itself provides barriers – treading on others’ toes
  • Scheduling
  • Historical/territorial nature
  • Not enough time
  • Curriculum
    • Preparation
    • Students’ time
    • Monitoring
  • Marketing – convincing students it’s worthwhile

Group 3

  • Teaching is private, closed
    • You can teach how you want, others rarely come in and see what you’re doing
    • Solutions to open up:
      • Put course on the web
      • Invite people to come visit your course
  • Lack of expertise beyond your discipline
    • Being willing to not be expert/authority
    • Guest speakers
    • Students do research and bring to class
    • Students brainstorm how to bring disciplinary perspectives together
  • If teaching in another program, need support, mentoring, dialogue with other instructors in the program
  • Scheduling and logistics
    • How to get two classes in one place at the same time
    • Videotape and watch asynchronously
    • Discussion online, or through Skype, group-conference video

Group 4

  • Values, disciplinary customs, specialty, etc. at risk
  • Finding collaborators
    • Attend a ‘Mixer’
  • Bureaucratic structure (perception, $)
    • Small scale support
    • Skylight
    • TLEF
    • UBC Mix
    • Faculty sharing (teaching/T/A time)
  • Control (over content, disciplinary authority)
    • Conversation with others who teach from another perspective
    • Re-evaluate/prioritize content in relation to learning
    • Many perspectives on same subject – find them
  • Time (instructor and student)
  • Anxiety
    • How will I understand other disciplines? (apply ‘team’ to real problem)
    • Risk to GPA: build into degree requirements (Cr/P/F)
    • Natural to learning – expose this – explain why this is important

Group 5

  • Time
    • Burning idea = motivator
    • Course designer
  • Support
    • Sustainability fund
    • TLEF $
    • Expenses, staffing
  • Evaluating efforts
    • Demonstrating impact
  • Awareness of opportunities
    • Knowing who to go to/talk to
  • Comfort
    • Do I need to brush up on previous topics?
  • Curriculum
    • What if this is an existing course?
    • Teaching less, learn more (learning oriented)
    • Departmental/degree requirements (all, general)
    • Integrated curriculum
    • Department buy-in
  • Scheduling
    • Fitting
    • Planning in advance – WAY in advance
    • Organization
    • Communication
    • UBC Mix
  • Inspiration
    • Where do I get ideas around how to approach indisciplinary
    • Exposure
    • Resources on campus (talks, etc.)
    • UBC Mix examples
  • Buy in
    • Make it a part of the course
    • Can’t be extra-curricular
    • For credit