Proposal Title

Assessing interdisciplinary thinking using a novel card sort activity

Session Type

Presentation

Room

P&A 150

Start Date

7-7-2017 1:00 PM

Keywords

interdisciplinary learning, assessment of learning, card sort

Primary Threads

Evaluation of Learning

Abstract

The natural complexity of the world around us, coupled with the need to solve societal problems, has driven the demand for interdisciplinary thinking. The increased desire for interdisciplinary outcomes and the increased expectation from students for an interdisciplinary education is fundamentally changing the way we approach teaching Science. Interdisciplinary programs, like Science One at the University of British Columbia, are unique programs that explore teaching in this changing landscape. While one of the goals of any interdisciplinary program is to break down the pre-existing silos of knowledge that students may possess, few tools exist to assess development of such interdisciplinary thinking.

At WCSE 2015, Kimberly Tanner introduced us to the idea of card sorting, in which participants sort cards (containing representative textbook problems) into groups based on their identified characteristics. This technique has previously been used to distinguish expert-like versus novice-like thinking within disciplines, including physics, biology, and chemistry.

We have developed an online card-sorting tool that allows us to differentiate between disciplinary and interdisciplinary thinking. Students are provided with 9 cards containing representative problems from Biology, Chemistry and Physics, and the manner in which participants sort these cards provides insight into their extent of interdisciplinary thinking.

In this session, we will discuss the theoretical basis for our work, outline major steps in the development process, and discuss results from offerings of the instrument to students in traditional and interdisciplinary science courses. Implications for teaching, both in the interdisciplinary and traditional classroom, will be discussed.

Elements of Engagement

Subject to available wireless internet access, we will have attendees explore our card sort activity (available online) to get an understanding of how it is used and what participants experience when completing the activity. (No data will be collected from session participants.)

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Jul 7th, 1:00 PM

Assessing interdisciplinary thinking using a novel card sort activity

P&A 150

The natural complexity of the world around us, coupled with the need to solve societal problems, has driven the demand for interdisciplinary thinking. The increased desire for interdisciplinary outcomes and the increased expectation from students for an interdisciplinary education is fundamentally changing the way we approach teaching Science. Interdisciplinary programs, like Science One at the University of British Columbia, are unique programs that explore teaching in this changing landscape. While one of the goals of any interdisciplinary program is to break down the pre-existing silos of knowledge that students may possess, few tools exist to assess development of such interdisciplinary thinking.

At WCSE 2015, Kimberly Tanner introduced us to the idea of card sorting, in which participants sort cards (containing representative textbook problems) into groups based on their identified characteristics. This technique has previously been used to distinguish expert-like versus novice-like thinking within disciplines, including physics, biology, and chemistry.

We have developed an online card-sorting tool that allows us to differentiate between disciplinary and interdisciplinary thinking. Students are provided with 9 cards containing representative problems from Biology, Chemistry and Physics, and the manner in which participants sort these cards provides insight into their extent of interdisciplinary thinking.

In this session, we will discuss the theoretical basis for our work, outline major steps in the development process, and discuss results from offerings of the instrument to students in traditional and interdisciplinary science courses. Implications for teaching, both in the interdisciplinary and traditional classroom, will be discussed.