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Interdisciplinary Teaching Malcolm Potts, Qatar University, February 2008 3. The Freshman Seminar.

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Presentation on theme: "Interdisciplinary Teaching Malcolm Potts, Qatar University, February 2008 3. The Freshman Seminar."— Presentation transcript:

1 Interdisciplinary Teaching Malcolm Potts, Qatar University, February The Freshman Seminar

2 Typical Course One Instructor/Evaluator One Subject Weeks of Lectures Several Tests/Exams

3 A Typical Student’s Schedule Isolated courses – very different learning experiences Students must be helped to make purposeful connections otherwise their learning will be hindered

4 Modular Teaching – A New Concept at QU New Program in Environmental Science (Begins Fall 2008) Seminar Taught in Semester 2 Multiple Instructors/Evaluators Theme-Based Teaching Multiple Topics Interconnected Themes Student- Interactive Intensive Meta-Goals – Ambitious for Freshman

5 A Module Module = 1Theme + nInstructors + nTopics +nEvaluations

6 Challenge 1 – Linking Topics

7 Example Module Theme 3 Departments3 Topics

8 Week 9 – The State of Qatar Environmental Systems Research Institute ESRI QU – GIS Technology Diploma Program Training and Job Opportunities in GIS

9 Week 10 – The Environment of the Gulf Did you know? You are here! A survey in Kuwait showed corrosion in the construction industry cost ($798 million), nearly 0.5% of the gross domestic product Connect to an Engineering Theme Or even a Business Theme! Landsat imagery was used to map corals in the Gulf. The map was produced in collaboration with Abu Dhabi (EAD) and Qatar's Supreme Council for the Environment and Natural Reserves (SCENR). Connection within the Theme Qatar Institute for Integrated Environmental Research (QIIER)

10 Week 11 International Laws and Treaties GIS as Theme Water Resources as Theme Marine Environment as Theme

11 Challenge 2 – The Key! Linking Modules How? What common thread can be found to link them together? Finding the link is an issue for: 1)The instructors (course design) and… 2)The students A perfect opportunity to assess students through questioning and debate – What links do you see? How are these topics interconnected? The students should carry this knowledge from their freshman year through to graduation and beyond

12 Enduring Knowledge Holistic Appreciation

13 Freshman Seminar A Summary Each theme consists of three different lectures, with some overlap or cross-reference Each review session may include a group debate of the theme a discussion of connections between the 3 lectures or… a student presentation Students must appreciate the connections between themes in an interdisciplinary context As well as within themes in an interdisciplinary context Topic 7 Topic 9Topic 8 Examples of Assessment

14 Example Pre-Course Test Which country has a per capita (per individual) generation of carbon dioxide that is 44 times more than India, and 15 times more than China? Its greenhouse gas emissions per capita were 33.6 metric tons in 2003 – the highest in the world. a) Oman b) United States c) Tunisia d) etc. etc. …………….n) UAE√

15 Example Pre-Course Writing Assessment What are your interests and career goals? Give four different examples of job opportunities for graduates of the program Students are asked the same questions in the “exit exam”

16 Team Involvement At the first meeting of the class, students are asked to organize themselves into groups of 5 to 6 students and to elect a spokesperson (leader) The teams make presentations during exam week and lead debates throughout the course

17 Example Theme Reviews – Assessment Metrics What are the important principles to be learned from the last module? easy What connections can you identify between Modules 1 and 3?.... harder By 2010 the largest aluminium smelter in the world will be built inمسيعيد What environmental issues can you expect this to generate? harder

18 Example Final Debate Meta-Cognition "This house believes that the environment of Qatar, and Doha in particular, is degrading in an exponential fashion“….. hardest

19 Course Goals Instructors attend professional development workshops for the program All instructors meet with students on 1 st day Instructors interact during debates with students throughout the course Instructors share experiences Instructors share assessment responsibilities Instructors meet together and design the Seminar for 2010

20 Freshman Seminar A Model for Interdisciplinary Teaching

21 Don’t for one moment think this is easy!

22 Group Discussion (Consider what you know about the different methods of interdisciplinarity that were discussed in Presentation 1). What problems do you see for implementation of the Freshman Seminar?


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