A multidisciplinary approach for science learning

McLoughlin, Eilish and Finlayson, Odilla (2011) A multidisciplinary approach for science learning. [Conference Proceedings]


First year undergraduate science students generally attend lecture and laboratory modules in introductory Chemistry, Physics, Biology and Mathematics, regardless of their ultimate degree programme. Students generally don’t see the links between these subject areas and in some cases, even question the relevance and importance of each discipline. In this initiative, students were engaged in connecting skills and knowledge from these disciplines through tackling interesting multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary problems. Students worked in small groups, facilitated by postgraduate tutors, to solve “real-world” problems from topics such as, nuclear energy, brewing, water treatment and environmental issues of oil pollution. As a result of this module, students reinforced their understanding of concepts in physics, chemistry and biology and gained an appreciation of the relevance of other science disciplines. Students also benefited through the development of skills to work as part of a group to collate, discuss and communicate information. A discussion of the challenges involved in student assessment and in devising suitable problems will be presented in this paper. Evidence obtained from analysis of student feedback, over a four year implementation period with over 600 students, indicates that while many students engage fully with the content, others find the open nature of the problems (e.g. locating information, lack of right answer) less appealing, and these concerns will be addressed.

[thumbnail of NAIRTL 4th Annual Conference (Cork) 2010 Flexible Learning Conference Proceedings_sm.pdf]
NAIRTL 4th Annual Conference (Cork) 2010 Flexible Learning Conference Proceedings_sm.pdf

Download (11MB) | Preview


Downloads per month over past year

View Item