Brooke A. Carlson, Ph.D. and Peter D. Steiger, Ph.D. with students from English 102 and Philosophy 100 in Hale Hoaloha 301

Hale Hoaloha’s renovations were completed over the winter break and part of the work includes Hale Hoaloha Room 301, an expansive teaching space with some great technology and new digs.  Students can sit around pods of eight to ten, with a screen that can be accessed centrally, all of which contributes to more creativity and collaboration in the classroom. Chaminade received grants from the Atherton Family Foundation, the Matson Foundation, and the First Hawaiian Bank Foundation, some $100,000 in total, to craft this cutting-edge open and active-learning space.

Peter D. Steiger, Ph.D. (Philosophy) and Brooke A. Carlson, Ph.D. (English) took this opportunity to collaborate interdisciplinarily, bringing some 55 students together four times across seven weeks.  The two had been discussing such a collaboration for years, as texts for their Philosophy 100 and English 102 courses overlap thematically via notions of love and friendship; but it was the new space that allows for active learning and twenty-first century technology that really launched them into action.  The two began with backwards design, and the learning outcomes they wanted students to experience, mostly on research, critical thinking, writing, information literacy, and mobile learning.

EN and PH Interdisciplinary Collaboration Spring 2018 Hale Hoaloha 301

Even more important, however, was the space for students to participate in small group efforts, as teams, to unpack texts from literature and philosophy, make connections between the two fields, brainstorm, and assemble arguments based on their interpretations.  Writing as a team requires students wield soft skills, like listening, adaptability, facilitating, politeness, respect for others, and patience.

Working asynchronously digitally and meeting four times together as a group at night, students had to schedule; balance work, life, and family; innovate with new tools; delegate tasks; and manage conflict.  The professors were hoping this experience would help build Chaminade community and a number of students mentioned this in the feedback. 66% of the students who participated would do it again; indeed, both professors are planning to continue the process next spring, if not this fall.