Part of the 4TU.Federation
4TU.
Centre for
Engineering Education

Project introduction and background information

In engineering education, interdisciplinary education has become increasingly important, bringing many advantages for both students and teachers. Instead of being individually responsible for a course, teachers collectively design and teach courses that integrate their areas of expertise and make interdisciplinary education a reality. However, to better support teacher teams and their professional development, higher education institutions require more information on their course design processes.

Objective and expected outcomes

This case study compares the course design processes of two teacher teams in the context of a university-wide educational innovation. One team chose to create an interdisciplinary course, whereas the other chose to design a multidisciplinary course. Design conversations of these teams were analyzed to study the similarities and differences between both teams concerning the design topics and design acts shown during team meetings

Results and learnings

Our findings show that both teams primarily focus on the same three design topics: the teaching practices, course organization, and their own teamwork. Other important topics such as the specific characteristics of the student population were mostly neglected. When comparing the specific design acts of the two teams, the interdisciplinary team more often engaged in collaborative planning and adaption of the course and also engaged in more collective reflection compared to the multidisciplinary team. In doing so, the interdisciplinary team created more opportunities for professional development of its team members.

Practical outcomes

This research has also been presented at the 48th SEFI Annual Conference on Engineering Education, SEFI 2020, Online, Enschede, Netherlands (20 Sep 2020 - 24 Sep 2020)

More could be found in the paper (at the downloads on the right): Collaborative Course Design In Engineering Education – A Case Study Of Teachers’ Design Process by I. Gast, J.T. van der Veen, S. McKenney, K. Schildkamp