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Integrating Interdisciplinary Thinking and Practice: a Case Study of a Victorian University in Australia

8 pagesPublished: October 23, 2017

Abstract

The value of interdisciplinary approaches to curriculum have been considered successful along multiple fronts; including reducing administrative burden from inter departmental collaboration, providing “intellectual” solutions to problems and breaking academic discipline boundaries. Criticism from industry often focuses on educators not preparing graduates for work in the real world. A major reason underpinning this criticism is that the students are not exposed to the requisite skills to make them work- ready. Despite the pressures to include interdisciplinary approaches from an ethical perspective, putting it into practice is difficult. This paper presents the findings of involving students from three different schools from a Victorian university in Australia: built environment, business and computer science. The project was developed as part of a state government competitive fund where industry, staff and students worked together to support each other and realize mutual benefits. The aim of the study was to develop an approach involving students in a theory-practice model of a real world project by selecting a building within the university as a case study to arm students with real world knowledge focusing on sustainability outcomes. The objective was to assist in preparing students from different disciplines for better workplace experiences, where they can bring in interdisciplinary thinking and practice into their day-day operations. The outcomes for the university, in using this building as a living laboratory, was to capture lessons learned through the process of improving future building developments from a sustainability perspective. Student involvement was successful, but true interdisciplinary engagement was not achieved.

Keyphrases: built environment, curriculum, interdisciplinary, Living Laboratories, students, Sustainability

In: Marsha Lamb (editor). AUBEA 2017: Australasian Universities Building Education Association Conference 2017, vol 1, pages 46--53

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