Implementing a new interdisciplinary module: the challenges and the benefits of working across disciplines

Morven Caroline Shearer


A new interdisciplinary module in Science Ethics has recently been introduced at the University of St Andrews. The staff teaching on the module come from a variety of disciplines, ranging from the physical and natural sciences, through to philosophy and economics; a diversity mirrored in the students themselves. As this module seeks not just to be multidisciplinary but rather interdisciplinary, the tutorials, readings, desired learning outcomes, small group work, case studies and modes of assessment are all tailored in such a way as to promote cross-discipline dialogue, and so to develop and nurture interdisciplinary learning. This article seeks to outline many of the issues that have been raised, the solutions that have been proposed, and the challenges and benefits for the staff and students involved.

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