Interdisciplinary Learning

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Exemplary Models of Interdisciplinary Learning

By Jaya Kannan
Feb 02 2016

In this section of SHU Square, we will be sharing several exemplary models of effective pedagogical design for courses that involve interdisciplinary learning at Sacred Heart University.This first case study focuses on the topic of “Human Computer Interaction” – a specific activity in which the disciplines of computer science and digital media have a purposeful converging point.  Prof. Bob McCloud taught the course, “Computer Mediated Interaction” in fall 2015.
Background and  Philosophical Approach to Interdisciplinary learning at SHU

This computer science course is a requirement for the undergraduate Digital Media Communications program. The course combines theory and praxis by first introducing students to the concepts of game design and then requiring students to build an object that studies human computer interaction. The heterogeneous mix of students in this classroom included students from the programs of digital media, computer science, and even business. The central challenge for students collaborating on this project was how to get the computer to interact with the human at the other end.
Human Computer Interaction: Pedagogical Design behind the task

In the video interviews with Prof. James Castonguay (Director, School of Communication & Media Arts) and Prof. Bob McCloud (Associate Professor, Computer Science) below, I am trying to capture the collaborative process that occurs when two departments come together to create such a course. Prof. Castonguay and Prof. McCloud discuss the several factors that have to come together for effective course design – the curricular vision for a thematic liberal arts, the collegial partnership between faculty from different disciplines, the pedagogical objectives behind the course design, and the concrete activity that solidifies the interdisciplinary approach for student learning.
Challenges for Course Design and Unanticipated Learning


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