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Analyzing the meaning of interdisciplinary in the CDIO context
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Technology, Department of Mechanical Engineering.
Linnaeus University, School of Business and Economics, Department of Management Accounting and Logistics.
2016 (English)In: Proceedings of the 12th International CDIO Conference, Turku University of Applied Sciences,Turku, Finland, June 12-16, 2016. / [ed] Jerker Björkqvist, Kristina Edström, Ronald J. Hugo, Juha Kontio, Janne Roslöf, Rick Sellens, Seppo Virtanen, Turku: Turku University of Applied Sciences , 2016, 962-973 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Companies search for potential recruits with interdisciplinary skills. Consequently, to meet this requirement, universities and teaching institutions develop and offer interdisciplinary courses and programs. However, the meaning of interdisciplinarity varies between different actors. In order to be able to compare, monitor and evaluate concepts, it is important to ensure that the concept have the same meaning and content for all actors. Hence, the purpose of this paper is to describe the term interdisciplinarity and its application in higher education with specific focus on CDIO related literature. Moreover, dimensions of interdisciplinarity will be illustrated in an ongoing master program.

This paper consists of two parts. The first part is a theoretical study conducted in order to describe the concept and illustrate the width of applications of interdisciplinarity in the CDIO context. For this purpose, the content of the CDIO knowledge library was surveyed using the following key words: inter*, cross*, trans*, interdisciplinary*, crossdisciplinary*, and transdisciplinary*. The second part is empirical in nature and describes an on-going interdisciplinary master program named “Innovation through Business, Engineering and Design” offered at the Linnaeus University, Sweden, as well as its dimensions of interdisciplinary.

The CDIO approach advocates integrated learning experiences and the use of disciplinary competencies for solving interdisciplinary problems. This is reflected in the body of knowledge represented by the CDIO library: most of the articles reviewed in this study are describing interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary activities. The interaction could be between subjects, skills and courses within the discipline, i.e. in a cross-disciplinary or multidisciplinary mode, or between students representing different disciplines in multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary mode. Faculty staff acts as designers and enablers of these activities, both in terms of curriculum development on strategic level and activity creation and activity execution on the operational level. The practical example given in the paper illustrates the importance of an effective administration for succeeding with interdisciplinary activities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Turku: Turku University of Applied Sciences , 2016. 962-973 p.
, Research Reports from Turku University of Applied Sciences, 45
Keyword [en]
Literature survey, Master program in innovation, Standards: 3, 5, 7, 8
National Category
Pedagogical Work
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-52981ISBN: 978-952-216-610-4OAI: diva2:933139
The 12th International CDIO Conference, Turku University of Applied Sciences,Turku, Finland, June 12-16, 2016.
Available from: 2016-06-03 Created: 2016-06-03 Last updated: 2016-09-26Bibliographically approved

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Kans, MirkaGustafsson, Åsa
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