Mix Formats

If you’re looking for inspiration, or just to get a better feel for what a Mix might look like, we’ve gathered some ideas here to help you get started. Check out the Resource Guides too for further inspiration!

Swapping classes for a lecture. This is a low level mix, but think about having another instructor come and give a lecture for your class and you can return the favour. For instance, how cool would it be to have a Medical Biologist come and talk to a Greek history class about the plague in Athens in the 5th century BCE and then have a Classicist turn around and explain the linguistic foundations of Linnaean classification.

Common Discussion Groups/Labs/Tutorials: A lot of classes are already interdisciplinary either through their discipline (e.g. Economics, Political Science) or through their region (e.g. Latin American Studies, Canadian Studies). Why not take advantage of this interdisciplinary foundation to expose students to research being done in parallel or adjacent fields. Students will be exposed to different ways of approaching a problem and start to think outside the box.

Joint out-of-class projects: This is a worthy endeavour for those of you looking for a challenge. There may be lots of reasons to do an out-of-class project. There may a good local resource such as a museum, archive, experimental garden, or laboratory that you can use as the basis for an interdisciplinary project. You may want to pair a set of students with a set of skills (e.g. GIS, statistics) with a set of students working with new data sets.

Establishing learning communities: Not all Mix ideas have to be based on classwork. Sometimes we learn more from our extra-curricular activities, so why not create communities of learning based on shared principles, ideas and themes. These can be long-term project or maybe just a few meetings to progress through a particular topic or trend. We can even help you set up webinars and digital learning spaces if you want to take advantage of asynchronous learning.

Data mash-up meetings: Research can be a lonely business, but it doesn’t have to be. Why not help organize an open day where students can bring their data and mash them together. Just imagine what the War of 1812 could look like if plotted on Google Maps. Or if political science students were taught some cool infographic tools for representing political expenditures. You could use a digital projector to show these data mash-ups happening live and even have prizes for the best mash-up.

Student Presentations/Symposia: The Terry Talks have already shown how successful students can be if given the right soapbox to stand on. Why not organize your own interdisciplinary gathering of student presenters? Or perhaps a symposium based on shared readings between disciplines? This would be a great way to explore ideas that don’t fit in any traditional curricula.

Joint Lecture Series: Lecturers are often invited by a single department. Why not open up the process and the audience at the same time by coordinating between departments. A joint lecture series is easier to market and could attract a crowd of thinkers for all sorts of departments.

Mixed Community Service Learning (CSL) Projects: Everything we do at university can be used for the benefit of society. Why not add a community service learning project to your class curriculum where your students not only learn to apply their knowledge outside of class, but also learn to coordinate with other disciplines at the same time. This has the added advantage of simulating a dynamic work environment.

Interdisciplinary Ethics Salons: We all struggle with ethics. The problem is that ethics is inherently bigger than our own discipline. So why not open up the dialogue between disciplines like the great rhetoricians intended.

3 thoughts on “Mix Formats

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