Breaking boundaries: students’ motivation toward interdisciplinary learning in higher education

Amarpreet Gill, Derek Irwin, Ricky Yuk-Kwan Ng, Dave Towey, Tianchong Wang, Robert Wells, Yanhui Zhang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

Abstract

Interdisciplinarity is widely regarded as the future of Industry 4.0. It is at the core of the knowledge economy, and is key to solving complex real-world problems. Contemporary education therefore must provide students with the skills and understanding to engage in interdisciplinary studies. This paper explores the experiences, attitudes and motivations of students working on interdisciplinary projects at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China. A mixed-methods sequential explanatory study was conducted that included quantitative pre-experience survey data combined with qualitative data from weekly reports and supervisory observations. The study shows that students were actively willing to engage in interdisciplinary approaches and understood their value, in spite of initial concerns that their core disciplines might be devalued in this environment. However, qualitative results revealed that interdisciplinarity was the result of, and reinforced by, interactions over tasks. Ultimately, we use examples from our study to encourage higher education educators to integrate interdisciplinary learning activities and classes throughout their curricula.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Teaching, Assessment, and Learning for Engineering
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherIEEE Education Society
Pages268-275
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781665436878
ISBN (Print)9781665436885
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event2021 IEEE International Conference on Engineering, Technology & Education - Wuhan, China
Duration: 5 Dec 20218 Dec 2021

Conference

Conference2021 IEEE International Conference on Engineering, Technology & Education
Abbreviated titleTALE
Country/TerritoryChina
CityWuhan
Period5/12/218/12/21

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