Using and Abusing TBL to Sow the Seeds of Interdisciplinarity

Hauke, E. (2016) Using and Abusing TBL to Sow the Seeds of Interdisciplinarity. Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching: Frameworks and Practice. University of Sheffield. Sheffield, UK.

‘Lessons From History’ is an interdisciplinary cross-faculty module option available to all third and fourth year undergraduate students at Imperial College. It offers students the opportunity to learn about significant global events such as natural disasters, conflicts and humanitarian crises from a historical, cultural and scientific perspective.

Organised as a team-based learning programme, the students study set materials and draw key learning points from each historical case study. They then work in teams to apply this learning to the modern world, specifically thinking about policies for future disaster mitigation and managing global challenges.

With an emphasis on empathic engagement with real-world situations, the students are challenged to understand the multiple and complex perspectives involved including those of leaders, perpetrators, victims and the wider public.

We have adapted the team-based learning process to accommodate such an approach, with student teams undertaking to study varying perspectives from which we as a whole class then build up our understanding of the event. We use a range of interdisciplinary activities to introduce each new event studied to help the students think and work in completely new ways.

This presentation will introduce this module as a case study to explore the integration of some of these approaches within the structure of team based learning.

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