The Beauty of Teaching Interdisciplinary Courses: How Does a Combination of Technology-Based Lectures and Writing-Intensive Assignments Promote Learning?


  • Younsung Kim Department of Environmental Science & Policy, Global Affairs Program



technology-enriched, student writing, sustainability


Sustainability is not solely a scientific issue or an environmental issue. It presents enormous challenges to human and natural systems and includes political, economic, legal, and ethical dimensions. Instructors who teach sustainability-related courses face significant challenges following from the interdisciplinary nature of the subject. Some students lack an interdisciplinary approach, as they have been strongly ingrained in traditional natural or social science academic domains. In other instances, students are unaware of or unconcerned about environmental or sustainability issues, being less actively engaged in classroom discussions. This session presents strategic pedagogical techniques that have been implemented in a single interdisciplinary sustainability course titled, "Environmental Policymaking in Developing Countries." The course, which has been offered to upper-level undergraduate students in Global Affairs and other majors, also meets the university's writing-intensive course requirements. The findings suggest that technology-based learning tools, including video clips and game simulations, are useful in integrating multiple sources of information and ensuring students receive a more inclusive perspective than they would from consulting a single conventional textbook. Research-based writing assignments, in which students apply concrete learning concepts to real-world sustainability challenges, are shown to be a powerful vehicle for enhancing students' understanding of the multifaceted concept of sustainability. This session provides insights into how to build interdisciplinarity into teaching that are relevant for instructors in a broad range of courses in various academic domains.





1:00pm-1:40pm Mini-Workshops, Panels, & Roundtables