IS2225: Course Schedule

This syllabus will change as the semester unfolds. Print at your own peril.


    • Interviews due to ePorts (make sure to add a new POST, not a new PAGE). You can see examples of great interview posts in our textbook in the chapter called “Academics on Interdisciplinarity: Professors Talk with Students.” Here are some tips. Post the link to our log (make sure you log the link to the POST, not to your general ePort, and make sure that “wp-admin” is not in the URL, since that is your editing page, not the link to the actual post). Posts due by 4pm.
    • Bring hard copies of your completed contract, Planning Guide, and Essay to class (see below for more info). We will be workshopping these documents.
    • REMINDER: Your ePort will be evaluated according to the checklist on 2/19/18 beginning at 4pm.
    • In class: Workshopping programs, and building your Personal Learning Network (PLN)
    • In class: Group B Discussion Network


  • Read Ristuccia: “Standing Alone” and annotate with H.
  • Submit IDS Application (Contract, Essay, Planning Guide) to All files must be Word documents. Check out examples of program statements in our textbook in the section titled “Creating an Interdisciplinary Studies Major” (see chapters that begin with “Creating a Program in…”)

Sample Planning Guide

On your Planning Guide, you do not need to fill out semesters that you have already taken or are currently taking.  You only need to fill out semesters that you have yet to take.  You don’t need to choose specific Gen Ed courses (you can just write in SSDI or WECO). If you have electives to take (remember, you need at least 120 credits to graduate) you can just write in “Electives” (you don’t have to pick specific courses to take right now). Stop by our office or Open Hours for help!

    • Remember that your advisors must tell you that they COMPLETELY APPROVE both your contract AND your essay.  Make sure they have reviewed both and agree to all of it before you write their names in and submit. If you submit without their full approval, you could find yourself in violation of the PSU Academic Integrity policy, so please be sure! They will be contacted by IDS to confirm their approval.
    • If you are applying for a WAIVER of one of the Directions requirements, fill out a Student Request Form.  Please meet with Robin or Janina before completing it. Waivers are most commonly given for SIDI (for students whose majors include mostly science courses) and for CTDI (for students whose majors include mostly art courses).
    • Remember to stop by the IDS office if you need assistance!



  • Read Nissani: “Ten Cheers for Interdisciplinarity.” Annotate with H.
  • Post: Explain what you think most attracted you to interdisciplinary approaches to learning. How do you think interdisciplinarity has or will improve your education and your future? What are your experiences with interdisciplinary learning (courses, projects, experiences, etc) so far, and how have they shaped your ideas about the world’s knowledge? Be sure to quote from Gregorian and Nissani in your post, and use terms and concepts from our readings so far. Don’t forget to post the link on our spreadsheet by 4pm!
  • In class: Advising
  • In class: Group [B] Discussion Network



  • Read “The History of the Academy and the Disciplines” and annotate with H.
  • Read “Where We Begin” and annotate with H.
  • Read “Disciplines as Social Communities” and annotate with H.
  • Post on your ePort: choose a discipline that is a part of your contract. Describe it. Use the “Terms & Concepts” to guide your description.What is the content/methods/epistemologies? Explore your discipline from the perspective of this week’s readings. What is the history of your discipline in the West or the US? or at PSU? What are classes like in your discipline? What is the space like? What do you love about how your discipline sees the world and organizes learning? What are the journals or Twitter leaders like? Take a deep dive into one of your disciplines and make this post ROBUST, COMPLEX, FUN, and INTERESTING. Use links and images to enhance your ideas. Take some photos of your books, classrooms, school supplies, etc!
  • In class: Group [A] Discussion Network


  • Read “The Benefits and Challenges of Interdisciplinarity” and annotate with H.
  • Read “How Do We DO Interdisciplinarity?” and annotate with H.
  • Read “Concrete Challenges of Doing Interdisciplinary Work” and annotate with H.
  • Identify a real-life interdisciplinary success story.  It does not have to be from academia.  Now write a news article for a general readership explaining the story and how interdisciplinarity (integrating knowledge from across disciplines), multi-disciplinarity (using expertise from different disciplines), and/or transdisciplinarity (partnering with stakeholders from outside of academia) made a difference in how the story turned out (example: the cleanup of Livermore Falls in Plymouth required input from environmental scientists, ecologists, business leaders, politicians, and community members). Review the Blog Tips before you finalize your post.  Post your writing on your ePort and log the link.
  • In class: we will follow-up to make sure everyone is ready for registration today and those who need to will retake the quiz.
  • In class: Group [B] Discussion Network


  • Read “Why Openness in Education” and annotate with H.
  • Read “Open Pedagogy” and annotate with H.
  • Read “What an Open Pedagogy Class Taught Me About Myself” and annotate with H.
  • Read “Excerpts from Connected Learning: A Context for Interdiscplinarity” and annotate with H.
  • Read one of the Student PLN posts in the “Open Pedagogy and Connected Learning” section of our textbook (your choice which one) and annotate with H.
    • Group [A] Discussion Network 4-5pm;
    • Group [B] Discussion Network 5:15-6:15pm


  • Select a full-text scholarly article on Interdisciplinary Studies, interdisciplinary teaching and learning, or interdisciplinary education.  Start by checking the library databases, and if you need help identifying a SCHOLARLY article, visit the Reference Desk in Lamson.  The article must be at least four pages long and it must be published from 2012-Present.
  • Write an ePort post summarizing your article and explaining why it is helpful to your thinking. Engage with the ideas, quoting passages that you analyze in further detail. Explain how the article’s main points interact with your experience as a beginning interdisciplinarian. Make sure you cite your article properly, and attend to the blog tips as you craft your post. Make sure you add images (your own or cc-licensed) to your post, and log the link on our spreadsheet.


  • ePort post: write a post that focuses on two things you have learned about this semester in two different courses (neither IS2225 nor IS4425). Summarize your learning, and explore why you found these ideas interesting, citing sources such as articles, professors, and textbooks as you go. Add a final reflection about how these ideas connect to each other, fuel your major, and excite you to continue your learning.
    • Here is a possible outline format for the post, which you can feel free to ignore:
      • Introductory paragraph
      • Idea #1 (describe the course it came from, explain the idea, quote–with citations–from a text or text, and discuss what is interesting about it)
      • Idea #2 (describe the course it came from, explain the idea, quote–with citations–from a text or text, and discuss what is interesting about it)
      • How these ideas integrate and how they connect to your major
      • Conclusion about where you hope this learning will take you in the coming semesters or years
    • (Make sure you add links, citations, and images to your post as appropriate.)
    • In class: Tutorial for PLN Portfolio, Textbook Curation


  • PLN Portfolio Due by 9pm: This must include a one-paragraph introduction (What is a PLN? Who/what is part of your PLN? How did you build your PLN?); a 1-2 paragraph discussion of open pedagogy and connected learning (use quotes and concepts from the reading for 4/9); a one-paragraph conclusion (how does your PLN affect your education? major? future? etc.); and documented evidence of the interactions with your network.


  • Take-Home Portion of Final Exam (due to your ePort and our spreadsheet by 4pm today, no wiggle room): Write an essay (not a bullet list of answers to these questions) summarizing your learning in this course. Be sure to cover the following points:
    • What did you think this course would be like?
    • What did you think the definition of “interdisciplinarity” was before taking this course?
    • How did your understanding of IDS change over the course of the semester, and how would you define it now?
    • Go back through the course and documents and readings, and explore how 3 or 4 of the ideas/concepts/terms/issues we covered relate to your own IDS program and plans. You may, if you wish, also discuss the pedagogy of the course (open education, OER, publishing to the web, connected learning, etc.)
    • Why does interdisciplinarity matter to universities?  Why does it matter to the world?
    • What are your hopes for your future?
    • What are your hopes for the future of IDS, at PSU and beyond?
    • Add hyperlinks and images to your post to increase its appeal and impact.
  • IN CLASS: Exam Peer Feedback, Hypothesis Assessments, Twitter Memes, Forced Choices,  Course Evaluations

Final Exam is Monday, May 14th, 6:30-9pm

Please plan to attend the End-of-Semester Celebration on Tuesday, May 15th from 5-7:30pm in Frost House.

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Group A

Emily S

















Group B












Emily B