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Teaching Interdisciplinary Design Between Architecture and Engineering: Finding Common Ground While Retaining Disciplinary Expertise

[+] Author Affiliations
Timothy Li, Nilanjan Raghunath, Katja Hölttä-Otto, Suranga Nanayakkara

Singapore University of Technology and Design, Singapore

Asli Arpak

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MASingapore University of Technology and Design, Singapore

Cassandra Telenko

Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA

Paper No. DETC2015-46873, pp. V003T04A010; 11 pages
  • ASME 2015 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 3: 17th International Conference on Advanced Vehicle Technologies; 12th International Conference on Design Education; 8th Frontiers in Biomedical Devices
  • Boston, Massachusetts, USA, August 2–5, 2015
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5710-6
  • Copyright © 2015 by ASME


Many educators agree that developing an interdisciplinary design curriculum is critical in creating the next generation of design professionals. However, literature surrounding the pedagogical challenges to undergraduate interdisciplinary design courses is limited. In this paper we study the initial challenges in developing and delivering an interdisciplinary design course. We observe from the perspective of the educators and the students in a newly synthesized co-taught design course that combines both architecture and engineering disciplines.

Through exploratory observations and analysis of student and instructor feedback throughout the semester, our findings suggest that disciplinary boundaries often influence pedagogical styles despite a concerted effort to create an interdisciplinary course that focuses on design. Despite agreement to interdisciplinary design teaching through shared lectures and activities, individual teaching methods varied, impacted by pedagogical norms from their respective disciplines. In response, students had mixed reactions to the varying presentation methods and critique feedback. This study, while preliminary in assessment, raises many questions about the challenges of teaching interdisciplinary design courses.

Copyright © 2015 by ASME
Topics: Design , Teaching



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