Interdisciplinary

Interdisciplinary classes are something I have found rather amazing during my time at Geneseo thus far.  The idea that a class is made up of students from both humanities majors and majors in STEM is an opportunity for rapid growth. Because a class that is not a general education requirement, that students chose to take, that mixes disciplines gives students the opportunities to learn something they would’ve never learned from their own majors.

In the beginning of the semester, I was very hesitant to decide if I would enjoy an INTD class, seeing as it was not just a class for my major, it was a class any major could enroll in. This made me nervous because I was very comfortable in my English classes. I knew most of my peers in the English department very well and overall was just overly comfortable with the course load I was receiving from most of my classes prior. This class was different. The class make up included English, mathematics, natural sciences, psychology, sociology, and many other majors. Once the class actually was held, I was not so nervous anymore. Everyone in the class seemed eager to learn and actively participate in conversations. The atmosphere of the class was different than a class that students specifically have to take to fill a general education credit or just a class for a student’s major filled with all students from that same major. It was an environment I really enjoyed being in. No one walked in the class on the first day thinking they were more prepared than others and that alone contributed to what made the class such an incredible place to be in.

During the middle of the course, the class talked about our a-ha moments- when we figured out what each guest lecture or lecture from McCoy had to do with one another and how those intertwined with our readings and Prince’s artwork.  As Doctor McCoy would say, we were collecting our ingredients to cook our final product. The final product being this assignment. My a-ha moment had to be during the class where we split up into groups and focused on two or three pieces of Prince’s artwork. During this time, my group members and I pulled apart all the symbolism in his pieces. While doing this activity, my group members all had different knowledge of different symbols in the artwork due to their own personal academics. My group was discussing a certain symbol and what we potentially thought the purpose of it was and I realized the conversation that was being held was truly amazing. It was so amazing because when you have students from a range of disciplines sit down and engage in a conversation, they bring information they have learned in their major related classes. Information that a student might never would’ve the chance to know unless enrolled in that specific class. This is something incredibly powerful. Students can now access information through each other and that is extremely extraordinary.

Towards the end of the course, I began to feel sad. The learning environment that the class had become was something I had becoming very appreciative of. Because the class was filled with students from different disciplines, students began learning from each other and not just from the readings or the professor. I also noticed throughout the course people were not afraid to be wrong. This happened again I believe due to the environment. For many questions, there was not a specific answer. Most questions we were asked both in and out of class had us deal with our personal experience. Your experience of something cannot be wrong, your experience of something is truly a personal one. The structure of the class was a structure I have never experienced. The environment and structure are set up in an open -minded way and that I think is why this class had such a great impact.

I will miss this class. It was such an awesome experience to be involved with an experimental interdisciplinary course. Especially one that was concentrated around art, seeing as the art program got cut years ago. There has been in my opinion, a lack of art around campus that is terribly sad. Overall, the importance of interdisciplinary classes to students is something I cannot stress enough. Students are able to grow their own opinions, learn from their peers, learn from their professor and learn from their readings. But the true greatness in the course is how we tied it all back together. I think that is an important asset to a successful interdisciplinary class. I cannot stress enough how great the environment was for this class. I always felt like I was welcome and able to voice my opinions and ideas to the class without criticism. I will truly miss this class and the people in it.

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