Discipline Awareness Exercise


  • Ben David Orlando George Mason University




Discipline, Discipline awareness, Cross-disciplinary, Research questions, Brainstorming, Collaboration, Adding to the conversation, Audience, Face to Face, Distance learning, 302M, 302S, 302H


For this discipline awareness exercise, students apply foundational components of their disciplines to real-world contexts. They then collaborate with students in other disciplines to create a cohesive action plan. For example, a psychology student might use the skills and core values of a psychologist or social worker to tackle some aspect of the homeless problem in the United States. For the second part of the exercise, that same student might work with a political science major and a kinesiology major to create an action plan that blends all three ideas.

This exercise touches on various SaS and 302 goals. By applying their disciplines to real-world issues, students see beyond the theoretical. They begin to consider how they might conduct research for a real purpose. Through this exercise students also practice creating and refining research questions. Additionally, through their collaborations students learn to transmit complex ideas to audiences outside their discipline, and by working across disciplines, students gain new perspectives that will help them later add to the ongoing conversations in their fields.

I use this exercise early in the semester. In terms of sequencing, I think itâs important that students spend a few weeks digging into their own disciplines before they work with classmates in different disciplines. I have students begin investigating ongoing conversations in their disciplines from Week 1, so I introduce this exercise by Week 4 or Week 5. I first designed this exercise for FTF classes, but have since adapted it for online courses.

Included files: Lesson Plan for Face to Face version of the exercise (OrlandoActivityF2F), Lesson Plan for online version of the exercise (OrlandoActivityDL), Instructor's Notes describing the exercise in greater detail (OrlandoInstructorsNotes). 

Author Biography

Ben David Orlando, George Mason University

302 Term Assistant Professor



How to Cite

Orlando, B. D. (2018). Discipline Awareness Exercise. Mason English 302 Open Educational Resources, 1(1). https://doi.org/10.13021/oerenglish302.v1i1.2279