By Vartan Gregorian
By Audrey Watters
By Andrew Rikard
Interdisciplinary ~adjective~ Involving two or more academic, scientific, or artistic areas of knowledge: involving two or more disciplines. This Merriam-Webster definition is encompassed in the readings above. Much of what I take away from the reading is about the importance of providing students with creative freedom, rights, and responsibilities. When entering an interdisciplinary field of study, we are combining disciplines to expand traditional curriculum. In order to do so, it feels important to expand the learning network by providing students with their own domain. In the reading, Colleges Must Reconstruct the Unity of Knowledge, Vartan Gregorian tells us “Electronic communication networks like the Internet2 project provide new tools and opportunities for scholars to make connections among disciplines and share resources.”. Education systems need to understand the ability electronic networks have. The unlimited resources available to scholars for advanced grow and development in learning, is remarkable. When we want to combine disciplines, schools should start combining traditional learning styles, with new age technology.
Let’s be honest, almost the entire population is addicted to technology; especially social media. It is a frightful thought, but it also sparks debate on the topic of children and technology. How much should
kids be allowed to access? How do we keep kids safe on the internet? The Web We Need to Give Students touches upon the topic of how to promote expanded learning networks without the fear of misused power. Audrey Watters expressed an opinion I agree with. She stated “Schools routinely caution students about the things they post on social media, and the tenor of this conversation…is often tinged with fears that students will be seen “doing bad things” or “saying bad things” that will haunt them forever.”. To that I ask, why are schools so focused on the negativity of the internet? Instead of scaring students, schools should focus their efforts on teaching new generations how to use the internet appropriately. The internet allows students to demonstrate learning beyond the walls of the classroom. Giving students a domain to showcase their work allows the learning process to expand far beyond the goal of a good grade. Copious amounst of importance is held to the letter grade that is received on assignments. That same standards should be held to the continued presentation and implementation of what is learned. Learning is not confined to the classroom and neither should be the work we produce.
Andrew Rikard expresses the concern of how can students own a domain if it is being graded. The line between promotion digital ownership and assigning work in publicly accessible spaces is extremely thin. Rikard asks an important question “How often do traditional ‘assignments’ misrepresent student interest, passion, and rigor?”. Students are more than an assignment. By providing students the ability to take ownership in their work it can allow them to take pride in work that showcases their understanding of specific material beyond that of a letter grade. My conclusion of these readings is best represented in one final quote by Andrew Rikard who states, “…domains can engage broader audiences and promote high quality, original scholarship.”. Studying an interdisciplinary field requires engagement in networks larger than myself. There is never a time or a place where we utilize knowledge from a single discipline and it is time for the university system to adapt.