Interdisciplinarity. How should I know what that is supposed to mean? No one ever talks about it. Before this semester, all I knew was that ‘Interdisciplinary Studies’ meant that I can create my own major. ‘Inter,’ ‘disciplinary,’ it seemed pretty simple if you just broke the word a part, the mixing of disciplines. Well it turns out to be much more than that.
This semester we discussed the many aspects of Interdisciplinarity. Come to find out it is more than ‘just’ creating your own major. It is not unique to only me and my classmates who share this major, but many professional goals are also interdisciplinary. A college admissions counselor, for example, must have some sort of understanding of many different disciplines in order to recruit students for their schools, such as marketing, statistics, writing, psychology, and counseling. Each component is important when trying to bring students into a school and understanding what they want and need. That is what interdisciplinarity is.
I found this course to be unique from every other class that I have ever taken. We don’t use Moodle?! What planet are we on? In this course, for the first time in my academic career, I own my domain instead of my domain owning me. I have created my own website where I post all of the assignments that I have put so much time into. So now I can not only keep the work that I have done, but share it with anyone that has internet. I am used to a system where I do my assignment, hand it in via Moodle, receive a grade, and never see the assignment again.
I would also like to speak to the fact that I have so much power over my education now that I created my own major. I have been able to not only hand select the courses that interest me the most, but I am also able to have my degree be tailored to the career that I am working to have upon graduation. I was able to do this by understanding the bigger picture of how knowledge from different disciplines works together to solve problems. By stepping back and seeing how interdisciplinarity works in the career that I dream of, I was able to also create a college education that is as interdisciplinary as the career that I will one day have.
One of my favorite concepts that we have done over the semester was learning about personal learning networks. A personal learning network is a way to create a circle of professionals that are sharing their knowledge and expertise via the internet somehow. I loved the fact that we were able to tie our Twitter accounts to our education. Many people who are on the internet today have their own PLN for their social life, so it only makes sense for students to create one for their professional life since it is so easy to do so.
Although The concept of interdisciplinarity is a somewhat new concept in higher education, it is not an overall new concept. For centuries, colleges have been teaching courses based on disciplines because that is what made sense for the time period. But with globalisation and the internet, it not longer makes sense to only educate students with a singular discipline. So although it may be obvious to many that a better education system is an interdisciplinary one, colleges are resisting. This threatens the way that they have always done things, and such a drastic change would involve lots of restructuring within the institution. So although it may take some time for institutions to change their education system, the world we live in is becoming more and more interdisciplinary.
With my interdisciplinary degree, being Cross-Cultural Marketing Studies, I hope that people will be able to see the value in combining anthropology and marketing into one degree. Some people are searching for a traditional degree, being from one single discipline. I am hopeful that there will be employers who will be able to see that I was able to think outside the box, to create a major in which I found to be even more valuable than a degree which focuses on one area of study.
I also hope that I will be able to help students to travel the world, and to have the opportunity to learn as much as I have while being outside of their comfort zone. International education is a valuable thing, that few people recognize. So I hope to put my passion to work and help others to have similar experiences that will also change their lives.
For the overall world of interdisciplinarity, I hope that in the near future, it will become a more widely accepted way to get an interdisciplinary education. Although it is not, and should not, be the only way to get a college education, it certainly should be a more common way to do so. I believe that Plymouth is on the right track to doing this with the up and coming clusters. The school is trying to have students from different majors work together on projects to become more interdisciplinary. To me, this makes the most sense since many of the jobs that students will have upon graduation will be interdisciplinary.
Here is a link to a video that CIEE made for the high school study abroad programs, like the one I did in the Dominican Republic! Don’t blink, otherwise you will miss the clip of me laughing in the beginning!(19 seconds in)