Suggestions for Reframing a Course as Interdisciplinary

Following is a list of some types of ways that a course could be organized in order to fulfill interdisciplinary requirements.

  • Shared credits: two faculty split the credits of the same course.
    Faculty will not receive double workload hours for the same course. For example, a course with three contact hours equates to a total of three workload hours that are appropriately split among teaching faculty (there may be more than two faculty). Although a one-credit lab will not meet the criteria, it could be part of a 4-credit science interdisciplinary course.
    If a 3-credit course deems 6 workload hours for two faculty, then this course should be reconfigured so the 3 workload hours can be amicably split.
  • Trading credits: two faculty agree to teach two separate sections of courses, both interdisciplinary, but not necessarily the same course. They trade lessons between the two courses, so that workload is equalized, but both courses gain the interdisciplinary designation.
  • Guest lecturers: the course provides multiple perspectives via experts who deliver the interdisciplinary content. This may include, but should not be limited to, site visits.
  • Learning community: two courses are assigned as a learning community, and two faculty provide the divergent viewpoints. One course becomes officially labeled with the interdisciplinary designation and the other course is assigned credit to some other area in the student plan of study.
  • Independent study: a learning experience that allows for self-directed study relating to an area of academic or professional experience. Key elements of the course include critical analysis, application or development of ideas and concepts related to the area of inquiry and guidance by two or more faculty mentors. [1]

Faculty teaching interdisciplinary courses are encouraged to, and should strongly consider, using free/open-access course materials whenever possible to avoid requiring students to buy double books.

As an interdisciplinary course will probably be new to students, background information should be included in course syllabi including a clear explanation of the scheduling of participating faculty and needed contact hours.

To facilitate scheduling, an interdisciplinary course designed to be offered fully or partially online should be considered, as appropriate, and is encouraged.

[1] Refer to page 39 of the New York City College of Technology Catalog 2015-2016 for additional guidelines.