INTEG 475 Special Topics: Interdisciplinary Collaboration

Addressing complex issues such as climate change, education, and developing ethically-sound technologies often requires researchers and other stakeholders to collaborate across disciplines and with those outside of academia.

In this course, we’ll examine the nature of interdisciplinarity, and collaboration more generally, by addressing the following questions:

  • What does it mean for something to be “interdisciplinary”? What is the difference between multi-, inter- and trans-disciplinarity?
  • When are interdisciplinary approaches appropriate and what are their benefits?
  • What are the barriers and challenges to working across disciplines?  How might they be resolved?
  • How can we foster and evaluate the success of interdisciplinary collaboration, and collaboration more generally?
  • What are the best ways to train individuals how to make collaboration work?

This course will be taught using collaborative learning techniques that will give students significant opportunities to shape the direction of the course and to work with the instructor to create course assignments. 

Students will be encouraged to do work that results in publicly available materials and resources on interdisciplinary collaboration. This might include helping to design and create content for a new website, developing activities for a new UW course that teaches students how to collaborate, or working together to create teaching modules on topics of students’ choosing. In the past, students in INTEG 475 have created educational resources that are now used by several instructors at UW, including a group contract template, a website (the “Compendium of Interdisciplinarity”), and materials for a new course called “Making Collaboration Work,” which was launched at Waterloo in Fall 2018.

Prereq: Level at least 3A

This course will count towards the KI Collaborative Design Specialization (CDS).

most recent INTEG 475 Interdisciplinary Collaboration syllabus (PDF) | INTEG 475 in course calendar