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Assessing Development of an Interdisciplinary Perspective in an Undergraduate Neuroscience Course

Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience
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Neuroscience is an intrinsically interdisciplinary (ID) field yet little has been published regarding assessment of ID learning in undergraduate neuroscience students. This study attempted to empirically assess the development of an interdisciplinary perspective in 25 undergraduate neuroscience students in a neuroscience program core course. Data were collected using two simple assessment instruments: 1) written responses to the open-ended question “What is neuroscience?” and 2) a term-discipline relevance survey in which students indicated all disciplinary perspectives to which terms (such as electrode, taste, dx/dt) were relevant. Comparison of student responses early in the course (week 1 or 5) and at the end of the course (week 15) showed evidence of development of an interdisciplinary perspective, with students using significantly more integrative terms in their responses and demonstrating an increased awareness of the complexity of the field of neuroscience.

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