UBC MIX Program! (Sounds like a dating service, but not really)

Just a little heads up that the Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund has kindly green lighted funding for Geoff’s TEDxTt2008 Wish. Which, in case, you don’t recall, was all about figuring out how to get students of different disciplines to interact more in their classes.

In grant speak, this means that:

“UBC MIX aims to create lightweight and flexible partnerships between courses that allow students from different disciplines to interact on an academic level. Trek 2010 “recognizes interdisciplinarity as an important principle in academic planning.” UBC operates a wide variety of excellent joint degree and interdisciplinary degree programs. However, joint and interdisciplinary programs require a significant amount of commitment from both the students enrolled in these programs and the faculty members coordinating them. UBC MIX is an attempt to deliver interdisciplinary education on a much more accessible and less resource-intensive basis – i.e., between two courses already in existence. There are many opportunities to develop this kind of collaboration between courses at UBC. For example, the first UBC MIX pilot partnership brings together HIST 104 and Science One Biology and includes student interactions across the Faculties of Arts & Sciences around joint curricula exploring the ecology of BC’s First Nations peoples. With the UBC MIX project, our main objective is to facilitate and support additional course partnerships to provide a broader range of opportunities for interdisciplinary student learning at UBC.”

This is cool because I think the idea of mixing classes is very interesting, and certainly worth a go. Plus, as someone who has gone through the very formal mechanisms of getting course approval, it’s freaking brilliant to do this MIXING in informal ways (i.e. ways that are small enough so that they don’t require a faculty curriculum committee – examples include things like joint assignments or fieldtrips).

As an aside, this news is also cool because it’s technically our first wish via the TEDxTerrytalks process, as well as having the distinction of what might be considered a “TEDx related Wish” as well. This goes to show that programs like this, in principle, can be effective in mobilizing initiatives at least at the smaller scale.

Woo hoo… Anyway, just had to share.

First step? Who are the great professors and instructors on campus who would totally dig this. Suggestions in the comments section please…

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David (@ng_dave) is Faculty at the Michael Smith Labs. His writing has appeared in places such as McSweeney's, The Walrus, and boingboing.net. He plans on using Terry as another place to highlight the mostly science-y links he appreciates. In fact, if you liked this one, you might also like his main site generally - this can be found at popperfont.net.