Editorial – Interdisciplinary teaching and learning (2): Emerging practices within HKU and across institutions – Tracy Zou
Similar to what has happened with the theme of internationalisation, the discussions on interdisciplinarity cannot be fully contained within one issue of Teaching and Learning Connections. To acknowledge its complexity and richness, we have decided to launch two consecutive issues on interdisciplinarity (i.e., Issue 5 and the current Issue 6).
However, the themes of the two issues are slightly different. In the previous Issue 5, we mainly showcased practices within HKU with the only exception of Learn together, work together (by Dr. Chan, Dr. Ganotice, and Prof. Wong) that involves two universities. In the current issue, we include four articles that highlight cross-institutional collaborations and international partnerships. I would also like to refer to the Message from the Director of CETL, which discusses a recent significant news about HKU-HEA partnerships and its role in creating space for interdisciplinarity. Here is a brief introduction of each article:
Arts Science and Artifacts in Chinese Cultural Heritage: An exciting new HKU led innovative interdisciplinary pedagogical project by Prof. Quentin Parker presents the innovative idea to integrate Arts and Science contained in a recent UGC-funded cross-institutional teaching and learning project. Other than introducing the idea and illustrating its connection to all of the 3+1 I’s (Internationalisation, Interdisciplinarity, Innovation, and Impact) in HKU’s strategic goals, Prof. Parker also shows a precious collection of Chinese antiques.
Transdisciplinarity at Work: The Common Core@HKU by Prof. Gray Kochhar-Lindgren builds on the earlier article entitled Catalysing interdisciplinarity in Issue 5 and introduces the three newest initiatives in Common Core: Transdisciplinary Minors, GLADE (Global Liberal Arts Design Experiments), and Learning Partners in Hong Kong. From interdisciplinarity to transdisciplinarity as well as from within HKU to local and global partnerships, the two articles from Prof. Kochhar-Lindgren have shown an evolving process of Common Core.
Promoting Interdisciplinary Learning in Graduate Teaching Assistant Programme by Mr. Peter Lau highlights the discussions and debates in a forum on Maximising the Impact of Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) – Effective Training and Development Programmes. Academic developers and scholars from five institutions attended the forum and acknowledged that GTA training is a collaborative undertaking. Peter has also provided an insightful discussion on building teaching capacity among graduate teaching assistants through the promotion of interdisciplinarity.
The essence of interdisciplinary teaching and learning: Reconstructing understandings through daily discoveries by Dr. Angela Yuen discusses an interdisciplinary teaching approach that can help Science and non-Science students construct understandings of Science principles through daily discoveries. Angela’s sharing gives important clues on how to effectively engage students from multiple disciplines in one course.
Is Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) an Interdisciplinary Undertaking? contributed by myself presents my personal experiences in undertaking SoTL in collaboration with teachers from different disciplines and how I gradually realise and start to appreciate the elements of interdisciplinarity in the process. In this blog article, I also draw on the lively conversations taking place during my Teaching Exchange Fellowship in National University of Singapore.
I am aware that there are still many more exciting practices, courses, and projects that have not been captured by these two issues on interdisciplinarity. I also acknowledge that interdisciplinarity is interrelated to many other initiatives, for example, teaching innovations and internationalisation of teaching and learning. In future issues, I look forward to sharing more contributions that celebrate interdisciplinarity and also welcome contributions that challenge or critically review the notion of interdisciplinarity.
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Preview of the next issue (Issue 7)
Issue 7 to be published by the end of March 2017 will focus on innovations in teaching and learning. We have a broad definition of innovation, which may cover and is not limited to: innovation in pedagogy; embracing new technologies; new assessment practices; and new learning spaces.
Stay tuned with us.