Abstract

The academic structure of most universities dictates that a student work with those of their own program and in conjunction with a program that is tangential to theirs. Interdisciplinary educational experiences that provide students with the opportunity to develop soft skills (such as communication, empathy and problem solving) are considered rare but are much more common in the working environment. As an example, working environments such as Universal Creative are comprised of multiple disciplines (i.e. civil engineer, mechanical engineering, illustration, user experience design, etc.) A function of working in an interdisciplinary team can also be to work on unknown or “wicked problem” that has no defined answer. This presentation will provide an overview of the Jag Challenge, an innovation sprint experience for incoming students to the university. Students work in teams of three as they are provided a challenge space, find specific problems within that space, conduct stakeholder interviews, develop empathy maps, ideate, conduct secondary interviews and then present their final solution. In Fall of 2019 over 210 incoming students participated from eight first year experience course sections. In 2020 over 350 students participated in a virtual or hybrid format of the Jag Challenge. While one section may be comprised of mostly engineering students or business students most sections were interdisciplinary (i.e. a nursing student working with an education student).

Share

COinS
 
Nov 19th, 12:00 AM

Developing Soft Skills with Interdisciplinary Teams in the First Year: Lessons Learned

The academic structure of most universities dictates that a student work with those of their own program and in conjunction with a program that is tangential to theirs. Interdisciplinary educational experiences that provide students with the opportunity to develop soft skills (such as communication, empathy and problem solving) are considered rare but are much more common in the working environment. As an example, working environments such as Universal Creative are comprised of multiple disciplines (i.e. civil engineer, mechanical engineering, illustration, user experience design, etc.) A function of working in an interdisciplinary team can also be to work on unknown or “wicked problem” that has no defined answer. This presentation will provide an overview of the Jag Challenge, an innovation sprint experience for incoming students to the university. Students work in teams of three as they are provided a challenge space, find specific problems within that space, conduct stakeholder interviews, develop empathy maps, ideate, conduct secondary interviews and then present their final solution. In Fall of 2019 over 210 incoming students participated from eight first year experience course sections. In 2020 over 350 students participated in a virtual or hybrid format of the Jag Challenge. While one section may be comprised of mostly engineering students or business students most sections were interdisciplinary (i.e. a nursing student working with an education student).