Designing Interdisciplinary Education
Designing Interdisciplinary Education
A Practical Handbook for University Teachers
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Table of Contents
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1 Introduction
1.1 Moving towards more complexity
1.2 Why interdisciplinary education?
1.3 Why this handbook
1.4 An overview of the content

2 An overview of the development stages
2.1 Starting with an interdisciplinary development team
2.2 Stages in programme development
2.3 Putting the theory into practice

3 Unravelling interdisciplinary understanding 28 3.1 The definition of interdisciplinarity
3.2 Embedding integration in education
3.3 Unravelling interdisciplinary understanding

4 Developing the raw sketch
4.1 Drafting the vision
4.2 Expressing thevision
4.3 Engaging stakeholders in the visioning process
4.4 Communicating the vision

5 Formulating interdisciplinary learning outcomes
5.1 Intended learning outcomes at the programme level
5.2 Intended learning outcomes at the course level
5.3 Creating learning pathways within a programme
5.4 Translating intended learning outcomes into learning activities

6 Embedding integration in the programme design
6.1 Four curriculum models
6.2 Deciding on a curriculum format
6.3 Working towards an interdisciplinary programme

7 Hiring and engaging faculty
7.1 Features of an interdisciplinary teacher
7.2 Recruiting, engaging and connecting faculty
7.3 Overcome hurdles in the interdisciplinary teaching team

8 Exploring the teaching philosophy and didactic methods
8.1 Assumptions of teaching and understanding
8.2 Formulating a shared teaching philosophy
8.3 Didactic methods that nurture interdisciplinary understanding

9 Assessment of interdisciplinary learning outcomes
9.1 Valid assessment of interdisciplinary learning outcomes
9.2 Make interdisciplinary assessment work
9.3 Developing a programme-wide assessment strategy

10 Interdisciplinary teaching in practice
10.1 Important prerequisites for interdisciplinary classes
10.2 The teacher as coach
10.3 Teaching reflective functioning
10.4 Enhancing collaboration skills
10.5 Teaching critical thinking
10.6 Teaching an integrative interdisciplinary capstone course

11 Programme assessment and adjustment
11.1 Formal and informal assessment
11.2 An evaluation approach
11.3 Accreditation of interdisciplinary programmes
11.4 Sustaining interdisciplinary programmes

Index case studies
Index activities
Index key advices

Designing Interdisciplinary Education

A Practical Handbook for University Teachers

Now, more than ever, higher education faces the challenge of educating students to see beyond the limits of their own discipline and to come up with innovative integrated solutions to our contemporary problems. Designing Interdisciplinary Education serves as a foothold for interdisciplinary initiatives in higher education, whether it be programmes, minors, courses or extra-curricular activities. It offers accessible guidance and practical advice for university teachers and curriculum leaders who aim to develop, implement and sustain a successful interdisciplinary approach to their teaching at the classroom, course or programme level.

The book’s ‘how to’ approach addresses several important topics such as formulating and assessing interdisciplinary learning outcomes, embedding integration in the programme design, the features of an interdisciplinary teacher, interdisciplinary teaching in practice, and didactic methods that nurture interdisciplinary understanding. This handbook incorporates numerous case studies, key advices, and exercises from a variety of interdisciplinary programmes in diverse countries. The ideas elaborated in this handbook are based on the theories and practices used at the Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies, the University of Amsterdam’s knowledge centre for interdisciplinary learning and teaching.
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Linda de Greef

Linda de Greef works at the Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of Amsterdam. She is the programme manager at The Teaching Lab where experiments, publications, workshops, guides and methods for interdisciplinary education are developed and shared.

Ger Post

Ger Post spent five years working at the Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies, including as a lecturer in academic skills for the Bachelor’s programme in Natural and Social Sciences. He now works as an educational specialist at the School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Melbourne.

Christianne Vink

Christianne Vink is a teacher trainer and consultant in higher education. She advises and coaches programmes in curriculum development and teacher professionalisation.

Lucy Wenting

Lucy Wenting is the director of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies. She is specialised in leadership, strategy and curriculum development.

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