Mixing it Up: Interdisciplinary Courses for Spring Quarter

Registration week is less than a week away, but some of you might be clueless about what classes you want to take. Another case that might not be as bad as the first one: You figured out what classes you want to take next quarter, but you are afraid that the courses will clash.

Right now you’re probably asking, “What should I do?”

One option you might want to consider is interdisciplinary studies, which combines different fields of study. SCC has offered different interdisciplinary courses every year, and in this issue, the Ebbtide covers two of the courses offered next quarter.
All questions in the following article were answered directly by the instructors of each classes.

IDS 100 – Asia Unmasked: Enlightened Revolutions & Hidden Stories

9:30-11:20 a.m., Monday to Thursday

Instructors: Mayumi Steinmetz, Neal Vasishth
Classes combined: EASIA 216 + ENGL 102 or ENGL 276
Number of credits: 10 credits
Item number: 4500
New class: Yes

What will students learn and do in class?

We will explore the art, philosophy and revolutions of East Asia. Through historical documents, cinema and fiction, we will examine questions such as: How were Confucianism, Buddhism and native religions used to both enlighten and to rule over the common people?; How did the journeys of China, Korea, Taiwan, and Japan interweave and conflict?; How did these intersections help transform each into a unique, prosperous and innovative culture?
We will also discover the continued life of these cultures in Seattle through field trips.

Will there be any textbook required?

Yes, the title of the textbook is “A History of East Asia: From the Origins of Civilization to the Twenty-First Century” by Charles Holcombe, the first edition. It will be less than 40 bucks. Plus, there will be a packet that we (instructors) make (ourselves).

Why are these classes combined as an interdisciplinary class? What makes it different than taking the classes separately?

We will be combining the history with literature. The history will help go deeper into the literature and the literature will help go deeper into the history. Plus the 102 research will allow students to explore the issues that interest them.

With two instructors, there is more personality and energy in the room. Interdisciplinary classes are often built from a special passion by the instructors, and that adds to the learning experience. When instructors work as a team, they feel more comfortable to take more risks and try to be more creative in their approach and assignments.

Is there any other information about this class you would like the students to know?

It could be the most memorable class they take at Shoreline. In interdisciplinary classes, students take two-hour blocks together with a break in between. Also, we will be going on field trips together, so students in these classes form closer communities and make valuable friendships. Since we will be mixing history, fiction, film, poetry and field trips, the content will be much more compelling.

IDS 101 : Intersextions

9:30 a.m.-12:20 p.m., Monday to Thursday

Instructors: Rachel David, Brooke Zimmers, Laurel Ecke
Classes combined: GWS 286 + CMST& 101 or CMST 295 + PSYC 210 or PSYC 295
Number of credits: 15 credits
Item number: 4501
New class: No (offered since 2002, typically offered every two years)

What will students earn and do in class?
This is from our syllabus — since all human relationships involve mental, social and biological influences, power dynamics and communication (or lack thereof), integrating these three courses will (hopefully) allow you to understand the complex dynamics in all relationships as well as gain a deeper understanding of the theories and concepts related to each course more so than if they were taught separately.

We will use the following for assessment: daily chapter maps, online discussions and assignments, public speaking, papers, a group research project, participation and in class activities

Will there be any textbook required?

We will use OER (open education resources—otherwise known as free and accessible) and a textbook titled Human Sexuality: Diversity in Contemporary America

Why are these classes combined as an interdisciplinary class? What makes it different than taking the classes separately?

First of all, the benefits of interdisciplinary learning are great and too numerous to list. Research indicates students learn the material better when shown the connections to their own lives and to the world around them. We situate our course content in real life applicable contexts, like our romantic and interpersonal relationships. Having professors from different disciplines brings different “lenses” of inquiry to the subject. This allows students to see a variety of perspectives, learn to ask questions and do investigative research using a variety of research approaches. Not to mention the fact that students can go deeper into the material. They also form a bond with each other and learn the benefits of a learning community which often produces better student retention and success.

The benefits are that many of the topics for each of the courses overlap, which will enhance your ease at learning the concepts; assignments will be coordinated; and you have three rather charming instructors to guide and encourage you.

Is there any other information about this class you would like the students to know?
As far as we know there isn’t a class like this anywhere else in the USA. It is an incredibly unique and special experience. We’ve kept in touch with a number of our students from the past who tell us the class was invaluable to their lives and their relationships. We’ve had community members take the class and students return or postpone their graduation just to take the class. Don’t miss out: It won’t be offered again until 2019.

Interdisciplinary class – Pros and Cons

According to Tiffany Meier, an academic adviser at SCC, here are the pros and cons of taking interdisciplinary classes:

1. Students will be immersed in the subject in two or three different lenses. Interdisciplinary classes let us experience different fields of study; for example, “Intersextions” combines gender and women’s studies, communication and psychology, so it lets the student learn a topic from three different perspectives at once.
2. Instructors are extra passionate about this class because it is something they created with other faculty, so they will put extra effort in teaching interdisciplinary classes.
3. The classes are pre-chosen, so students will not struggle that much in choosing classes. In some cases, interdisciplinary courses help undecided students find the right major after they complete the courses.

If a student registered for this class and changed their mind halfway, the whole thing has to be dropped. They can’t drop just one class and keep the other. This is even more difficult for international students because if they drop the whole set of classes and get under the minimum number of credits, their immigration status will be jeopardized.
Sometimes students like only one class in the set, but not the other, so they might feel forced to come to class just because they can’t drop it.
It would be hard for those who are working because these classes take two to three hours, which means it might not fit their working schedule.

-Adelia Sindunata