Many educators agree that developing an interdisciplinary design curriculum is critical in creating the next generation of design professionals. However, literature surrounding the pedagogical challenges to undergraduate interdisciplinary design courses is limited. In this paper we study the initial challenges in developing and delivering an interdisciplinary design course. We observe from the perspective of the educators and the students in a newly synthesized co-taught design course that combines both architecture and engineering disciplines.
Through exploratory observations and analysis of student and instructor feedback throughout the semester, our findings suggest that disciplinary boundaries often influence pedagogical styles despite a concerted effort to create an interdisciplinary course that focuses on design. Despite agreement to interdisciplinary design teaching through shared lectures and activities, individual teaching methods varied, impacted by pedagogical norms from their respective disciplines. In response, students had mixed reactions to the varying presentation methods and critique feedback. This study, while preliminary in assessment, raises many questions about the challenges of teaching interdisciplinary design courses.