INTERDISCIPLINARY COURSES: A PROPOSAL
, C. De Castro2
1LEPIDA Networking and Beyond ltd (ITALY)
2IEIIT-CNR, National Research Council of Italy (ITALY)
On the crest of the wave for decades, several countries are currently technologically overwhelmed by globalization giants, such as US and China, and competition would run the risk of being one-side [1-3]. By contrast, powerful resources remain that, properly modernized, would contribute to economic revival.
In Italy, for instance, many opportunities can derive from traditional fields, such as Agriculture, Tourism and the immensely precious Cultural Heritage [4-6].
Yet, also due to grave fund lacking, these resources run the risk of falling into ruin themselves: increasingly safe food from other countries, properly assisted tourists, wide use of advanced technologies in industry, commerce and tourism, are strongly boosting competition [7-9].
Problems are countless, but a fundamental change would occur if a real, productive ability to cooperate would become a mental attitude. Cooperation and interdisciplinary work, in fact, play a fundamental role in both modernization and renewal.
Consider, for instance, restoration in the Cultural Heritage: experts from (at least) History of Art, History, Chemistry, Physics, Engineering, and ICT for Visual Environments are necessary and ought to be able to cooperate.
Several groups are at work (only a few in [10-12]), but interdisciplinary work is still difficult to handle with. On the one hand, individualism creates problems; on the other hand, a strong (and welcome) specialization makes it difficult to speak a common language.
Yet, the grave economic crisis requires flexibility, adaptability [13-15], capability to work in teams in evolving contexts and awareness of the enhancements which can derive from other people’s different skills.
Interdisciplinary work should become a mental attitude since the early school years, but a lot of work can be done at advanced levels and this is the aim of this proposal.
University lectures are taken into account and their structure revised. The interdisciplinary nature of ICT applications, very appealing for the young, is widely used.
In more detail, the app iTunes Store, running on an iPad2 and accessed through a 20Mbps DSL, is observed from the following viewpoints:
(i) data structure of iTunes products;
(ii) data analysis and iTunes market hints;
(iii) web Interfaces and related programing languages;
(iv) cloud computing observed through iCloud;
(v) telecommunication and wireless communications related aspects;
(v) iPad architecture and Electronics.
The proposed method is to transform a traditional course in Fundamentals of Database Systems into an interdisciplinary one, where databases are seen as part of an application involving the Cloud, local storage, data transmission, mobile devices and remote servers, web applications and languages.
Each expert is expected to explain the importance of his or her discipline applied to databases, but also to take the opportunity to address a course on his or her subject.
In this way, a sort of network of courses can be created and students can get used to a serious interdisciplinary way to face problems.
Another aspect is considered, i.e. how to make students from distinct specializations interact. The goal is (at least) threefold: (i) mix people and let them look at other companions’ way of thinking; (ii) face completely unexpected problems using unexpected tools; (iii) become ready to face rapidly changing and unfamiliar situations.