Enhancing interdisciplinary teaching and research collaboration: Two tools shared and compared

Interdisciplinarity has become a natural element in successful applications for research funding and in the majority of educational programmes, developed and established in recent years. Nevertheless, interdisciplinarity remains a concept known by many, but in practice understood by few. Integrating content from different disciplines into a coherent educational programme or research project is a challenge.

In this seminar, we will discuss two tools that aim to address this challenge. We begin with an introduction and demonstration of the tools, then move on to comparing the tools and discussing how to facilitate successful interdisciplinary collaboration.

The seminar is open to everyone and we welcome examples and experiences of interdisciplinary collaborations.

About the tools:

Michael O’Rourke will present the Toolbox dialogue approach, a philosophically informed method designed to structure reflection on implicit commitments that frame deliberation and decision making in complex collaborative research. The method is grounded in a dialoguebased workshop that increases communicative and collaborative capacity through enhancement of mutual understanding. The Toolbox dialogue approach is the primary research and outreach focus of the Toolbox Dialogue Initiative (TDI), a US National Science Foundation sponsored effort based at Michigan State University.

Line Hillersdal, Katrine Lindvig and David Earle will discuss their work on CoNavigator – a tool for fast-tracking interdisciplinary collaboration. The tool is based on the assumption that, in order to solve a problem across disciplines you first need to understand what the problem is. If you do not have a shared and articulated understanding of the issues at hand, you may neither be solving the same problem nor reach a joint solution. The tool has so far been implemented at the interdisciplinary Studies Programme at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and is in the process of implementation in interdisciplinary programmes at University of Michigan, University of Sydney and University of Copenhagen.