UNDERSTANDING CHARACTERISTICS OF MULTIDISCIPLINARY COLLABORATION USING CONCEPT MAPS
Editor: Erik Bohemia, Ahmed Kovacevic, Lyndon Buck, Peter Childs, Stephen Green, Ashley Hall, Aran Dasan
Author: Dhadphale, Tejas; Baughman, Jacqulyn
Institution: Iowa State University, United States of America
Section: Multi / Post / Cross Disciplinary Education
Integrating disciplinary thinking has become a critical component of higher education in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Within STEM disciplines, students are introduced to a wide range of multidisciplinary projects, courses, and programmes. Multidisciplinary projects require students to collaborate with other students, educators and professionals from diverse academic and professional backgrounds. Working in teams can be challenging for students especially when they are seldom taught how to collaborate with other
disciplines. The goal of the study is to understand students’ opinions on multidisciplinary collaboration. Students from engineering and design were asked to develop concept maps that illustrate aspects of successful multidisciplinary teamwork. Concept maps were scored by counting concepts, hierarchical levels and cross-links. Content analysis was conducted to qualitatively understand the key concepts and nature of relationship between the concepts. Characteristics of multidisciplinary teamwork were compared across disciplines. Communication, teamwork, conflict resolution, celebrating diversity and finding a common goal were identified as key determinants of successful multidisciplinary teams. The outcomes of the study have several implications for educators and institutions planning to develop or improve multidisciplinary projects, courses or programmes.