Purdue University (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2015 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Pages: 1599-1607
ISBN: 978-84-608-2657-6
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2015
Location: Seville, Spain
A challenge facing STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) higher education programs in the United States is an over-specification and over-emphasis of STEM content at the expense of what are sometimes collectively known as "soft skills" or "twenty-first century skills": critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, self-reflection, ethical thinking, cultural awareness, etc. The Purdue Polytechnic Institute's proposed Transdisciplinary Studies in Technology (TST) degree is an attempt to reintegrate these essential skills into the STEM curriculum in a substantive and comprehensive manner.

In the TST program, in addition to taking both core requirement courses and domain-specific courses, learners will engage in a sequence of eight humanities seminar courses and eight STEM design studio courses which will be loosely linked through annual and per-semester themes. Learners will demonstrate integration of cross-domain skills (including design thinking, information literacy, ethical reasoning, teamwork and social interaction, among others) through portfolios comprised of their work and self assessments, critiqued by peers, faculty, and outside respondents at regular intervals.

Combining elements of competency-based education as well as seminar and studio pedagogical practices, we believe Purdue University's Transdisciplinary Studies in Technology degree is a comprehensive new approach to STEM and transdisciplinary learning. To test this, a full-time evaluation team has been tasked with monitoring student progress, assessing instructional design efficacy, and gathering qualitative and quantitative data to shed light on research questions related to instructional design and pedagogy. This presentation will briefly examine the three major pedagogical approaches (competency-based education, the seminar model, and the studio model) and the rationale behind their implementation and integration in the TST degree. One primary rationale: student self assessment and observations of critiques of peers has a calibration effect on self-monitoring of knowledge acquisition; presenters will discuss the instruments and processes developed for Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 for collecting data pertinent to measuring the validity of this assumption which underlies the deployment of portfolios and the studio pedagogical model.
STEM, seminar, competency-based, studio, transdisciplinary.