Interdisciplinary Pedagogy for Pervasive Computing Design Processes: An Evaluative Analysis


MDeveloping intelligent computer products that are desirable, user-centered, and technically feasible requires interdisciplinary expertise and effective interaction across multiple disciplines. From an interdisciplinary design class that brings together students from industrial design, computer engineering, and marketing, we present an evaluative analysis of three hands-on, discipline-specific exercises designed to remove disciplinary barriers and promote cross-disciplinary appreciation. We examine the impact of these exercises through the theoretical lens of Boix-Mansilla’s construct of assessing interdisciplinarity, specifically focusing on purposefulnnes, disciplinary grounding, advancement through integration, and critical awareness. A coding system based on these criteria was expanded to include activities beyond writing and teaming processes. The resulting criteria was used to analyze transcripts of in-class team conversations and instructor facilitation. Results indicate that the interdisciplinary exercises achieved four outcomes: 1) the workshops encouraged disciplinary grounding for all the disciplines using domain knowledge from each participating discipline, 2) the workshops promoted team-level interdisciplinary integration, 3) the workshops helped students to reflect on their own choices and make more interdisciplinary decisions, and 4) the workshops provided integrative tools that led students to frame projects with interdisciplinary approaches.

Proceedings of the American Society of Engineering Education Annual Conference