Interdisciplinarity in design education: understanding the undergraduate student experience

James A. Self, Joon Sang Baek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Interdisciplinarity is becoming a critical issue of concern for design schools across East Asia in their attempts to provide industry graduates with the skills and competences to make creative contributions in a global economy. As a result, East Asian higher education institutions are aggressively endeavouring to provide interdisciplinary undergraduate curriculum that combine traditional designerly skills with engineering knowledge and methods. The current study takes an interdisciplinary undergraduate course as case-study to examine how the pedagogic strategy of team teaching influences student learning experience. Two surveys of student learning were conducted for this research purpose. The first provided an indication of the holistic student learning experience, while the second explored the conditions of team and non-team teaching as influence upon learning experiences specifically. Results showed how students taught by a single instructor provided a more positive overall opinion of course quality and experienced significantly more encouragement to participate compared to team taught respondents. However, findings also indicated how team teaching significantly increased the students’ experience of a balanced contribution from different disciplinary perspectives and how the team teaching approach was significantly more effective in providing students with greater opportunities to understand the relevance of the different disciplines to the course subject. We conclude with a discussion of results in terms of the effective use of team teaching at undergraduate level as strategy for interdisciplinary learning experiences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)459-480
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Technology and Design Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Sept 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to extend our gratitude to all the students who took the time to respond to our call for participation and our institution in supporting opportunities for interdisciplinarity to prosper. This work was supported by the UNIST Creative and Innovative Project fund 1.150129.01.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Engineering(all)


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