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BRIDGING DISCIPLINES FOR BETTER LEARNING: Interdisciplinary Projects at the College of General Studies, Boston University.

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Presentation on theme: "BRIDGING DISCIPLINES FOR BETTER LEARNING: Interdisciplinary Projects at the College of General Studies, Boston University."— Presentation transcript:

1 BRIDGING DISCIPLINES FOR BETTER LEARNING: Interdisciplinary Projects at the College of General Studies, Boston University

2 A 2-year, interdisciplinary, team-taught general education program (1200 students) Taught exclusively by full-time faculty with Ph.D.sNO adjuncts, T.A.s or T.F.s Freshman courses: – Humanities – Social Sciences – Rhetoric, plus an elective Sophomore courses: – Humanities – Social Sciences – Natural Sciences, plus elective THE COLLEGE OF GENERAL STUDIES AT BOSTON UNIVERSITY:

3 Because 80 students share the same 3 CGS faculty, creating projects that ask students to explore the connections between their courses is relatively easy But similar projects can be constructed in a non-team system as well We regularly run 3 joint projects on our sophomore teams: – Applying political philosophy to analyze an event in a communist revolution – Applying just war theory to analyze a recent U.S. military conflict – Capstone project TEAM SYSTEM FOSTERS INTER- DISCIPLINARY LEARNING

4 In Humanities 201 students survey ethical philosophy from Ancient Greece to the 19 th century In Social Science 201 students study the Russian and Chinese communist revolutions We ask them to focus on the political philosophy of either Rousseau or Hobbes And use it to interpret a key moment in either the Russian or Chinese revolutions 1 ST JOINT PROJECT: ROUSSEAU, HOBBES, AND COMMUNIST REVOLUTIONS

5 A LENS FOR ANALYZING REVOLUTIONS:

6 BENEFITS? UNDERSTANDING Without the philosophic lens, history can seem like just a series of events; without the historical framework, the philosophy seems too abstract.

7 APPLIED LEARNING: STUDENTS UNDERSTAND AND REMEMBER MORE WHEN THEY APPLY THEIR LEARNING Assignments in ANY class can encourage students to apply course material to other courses, whether students are in a team system or not.

8 In Soc. Science 202 students study U.S. foreign policy, including U.S. involvement in Vietnam and Iraq In Humanities 202 students study applied ethics, including just war theory which articulates principles that can help to determine whether and how war can be waged justly. This project asks students to take principles of just war theory and use them to determine if the wars in Vietnam or Iraq were just 2 ND JOINT PROJECT: JUST WAR THEORY & VIETNAM OR IRAQ WARS

9 Was there just cause for fighting? (i.e. response to an attack) Was war the last resort? (have all other measures been tried?) Is it reasonable to expect that the war will bring about more good than harm? Were the means used in proportion to the goals sought? Was every attempt made to protect non- combatants (civilians)? JUST WAR: JUS AD BELLUM & JUS IN BELLO

10 JUSTICE AND VIETNAM OR IRAQ

11 BENEFITS: THE WARS BREATHE LIFE INTO THE PHILOSOPHY; THE PHILOSOPHY PROVIDES A FRAMEWORK FOR INTERPRETING THE WARS.

12 Both projects helped students prepare for the Capstone project at the end of their sophomore year. Capstone is a group-written, 50-page research proposal that requires students to draw on all of their CGS classes plus research to analyze a current real-world problem and present a valid solution. E.g.: Ending Hunger in Boston, OR Stopping Deforestation in Chiapas Capstone enables us to assess our students development using a rubric-- CAPSTONE ADDRESSES THE CORE COMPETENCIES WE AIM TO DEVELOP AT CGS

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16 For more information, see our website: interdisciplinary-teaching- learning interdisciplinary-teaching- learning CONSIDER SUBMITTING ESSAYS FOR OUR JOURNAL IMPACT AT THIS SITE OR at THANKS TO THE DAVIS EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION FOR FUNDING FOR OUR ASSESSMENT PROJECT!


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