Enhanced General Education

Curricular Best Practices

The General Education Council is continually working to develop recommended best practices for a variety of general education components. Please check back frequently for updates.

Interdisciplinary Teaching

An interdisciplinary course, broadly defined, addresses a question or a problem that is so broad or complex that it is best understood through the perspectives of multiple disciplines. The goal of interdisciplinary courses is to integrate the contributions of different academic disciplines or fields of study so that topics, problems, and phenomena under study are better understood. Purely multidisciplinary inquiry, by contrast, presents information and analysis from different disciplines without attempting to integrate the various viewpoints.

  • Interdisciplinarity should be fully integrated such that two or more instructors from different disciplines plan, develop, and teach the course content and the delivery method(s). Collaboration with instructors from different disciplines should be ongoing to ensure tightly-integrated content alignment and intentional cross-disciplinary connections are effected by all instructors during class sessions.
  • Ongoing collaboration can be accomplished by including guest lecturers/professionals from the different disciplines that are integrated in the course or by consulting with instructors/experts from the different disciplines periodically (at least twice per semester) to ensure the interdisciplinary course content is integrated appropriately.
  • A course can alternately be designed and taught by an individual instructor who has an extensive history of research and publication in an interdisciplinary field of study, post-secondary degrees of an interdisciplinary nature, or possesses significant experience in the interdisciplinary areas integrated in the course. An interdisciplinary course taught by an individual instructor should be designed with extensive input from persons who possess expertise in the disciplines that are integrated into the curriculum.

Written Communication

  • Written communication should cover a variety of genres (e.g., discussion posts, proposals, reports, annotated bibliographies, article summaries/analyses, research essays, self-reflection, capstone portfolio, etc.)
  • Written communication should include both low stakes and high stakes assignments
  • All writing assignments should include a writing prompt
  • High stakes writing assignments should include lower-stakes writing tasks scaffolded into the course schedule
  • At least one higher stakes writing assignment should involve peer and/or instructor feedback
  • This presentation provides tips for evaluating critcal thinking in student writing samples

Writing Prompt Examples

Below are eight writing prompts from Information and Data Literacy courses the GEC believes represent strong models to follow addressing general education SLOs and process writing embedded in a course. They represent a range of writing genres and lengths - including discussion posts, evaluating academic sources, reaction papers, term papers, and a portfolio with reflection component.