About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 5364-5371
Publication year: 2010
ISBN: 978-84-613-9386-2
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-7 July, 2010
Location: Barcelona, Spain


R. Strazdina, M. Kirikova, U. Sukovskis, Z. Zitmanis, J. Grevins

Riga Technical University (LATVIA)
Cross-disciplinary education has not been a priority topic over the last years; however, lately it has become more and more popular. Such popularity is caused by the global integration of different functional areas and industries in new product and service development. So cross-disciplinary study programs are an essential constituent of an educational system geared towards serving continuously changing industries.
The paper reviews previous research on the development methods of cross-disciplinary study programs, instructional methods and results achieved. Key findings show that: (1) cross-disciplinary programs have a positive effect on building cross-disciplinary skills in students and successful cross-disciplinary programs can be very effective in generating new knowledge; (2) different speeds of discipline development can cause problems in cross-disciplinary integration and consequently require a higher degree of integration of the disciplines. This paper extends previous findings by looking at industry, methodology and administrative issues faced by a university simultaneously running specialized and cross-disciplinary study programs. The analysis includes a detailed investigation of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats faced by the academic institutions in the development and management of cross-disciplinary study programs.
We propose using an ecosystems approach to analyze cross-disciplinary education in order to identify the positive effects and to find ways to eliminate or minimize the negative ones. In an ecosystems approach specialized and cross-disciplinary programs are considered as cooperating subsystems that share common resources and thus create added value for each other. The key resources considered are study materials, instructors' knowledge, administrative systems and systems awareness of scientific and industry developments taking place. Study programs in Business Administration (specialized), Computer Systems (specialized) and Business Informatics (cross-disciplinary) are used for illustrating the approach discussed in the paper. The proposal is based on the previous research in development of a knowledge management system for an educational ecosystem in the field of engineering. We will illustrate how an integrated study program development and management information system can help utilize the synergetic effects of cross-disciplinary programs for specialized programs run by the same educational institution or institutional network.
The paper significantly contributes to the existing body of knowledge in the following ways: (1) extends the review of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of cross-disciplinary study program development and management, (2) introduces the ecosystems approach in the development and management of specialized and cross-disciplinary study programs, and (3) models an integrative application of information systems solutions for a specialized and cross-disciplinary study program. By this the paper will try to fill the existing research gap in a successful approach for development and management of cross-disciplinary study programs.
author = {Strazdina, R. and Kirikova, M. and Sukovskis, U. and Zitmanis, Z. and Grevins, J.},
series = {2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN10 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-613-9386-2},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {5-7 July, 2010},
year = {2010},
pages = {5364-5371}}
AU - R. Strazdina AU - M. Kirikova AU - U. Sukovskis AU - Z. Zitmanis AU - J. Grevins
SN - 978-84-613-9386-2/2340-1117
PY - 2010
Y1 - 5-7 July, 2010
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN10 Proceedings
SP - 5364
EP - 5371
ER -
R. Strazdina, M. Kirikova, U. Sukovskis, Z. Zitmanis, J. Grevins (2010) AN ECOSYSTEMS APPROACH TO A CROSS-DISCIPLINARY EDUCATION, EDULEARN10 Proceedings, pp. 5364-5371.