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Reflections on designing a Biology/Humanities interdisciplinary module

Stack, D. and Battey, N. (2013) Reflections on designing a Biology/Humanities interdisciplinary module. Bioscience Education, 21 (1). pp. 1-11. ISSN 1479-7860

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To link to this item DOI: 10.11120/beej.2013.00016


This paper uses the reflections of a recent workshop on biology and the humanities subject areas to consider the potential for designing a first year interdisciplinary module that brings together teachers and learners in the Biosciences with their counterparts in English and History. It considers three building blocks of module design: aims and objectives; teaching and learning strategies; and assessment; and provides a commentary on the discussion of interdisciplinarity in the broader literature. The authors argue that interdisciplinary teaching and learning must be transformative, but not in the way many previous advocates of interdisciplinarity have assumed. Rather than transcending disciplines, the authors contend that the aim should be to enhance disciplinary understanding. Learners should emerge from the interdisciplinary module not having lost their identity as biologists, but having enhanced it. They should have become ‘better’ biologists in the sense of having developed a broader, critical understanding of the precepts of their discipline, as a first step to an understanding of biology inflected with a literary and historical awareness.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences > Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
ID Code:36390
Uncontrolled Keywords:Interdisciplinarity,‘two cultures’, module planning, interdisciplinary assessment, transformative interaction
Publisher:UK Centre for Bioscience, The Higher Education Academy

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