Learning across Specializations: Possibility, Lessons, and More Questions

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This paper continues a discussion on the iterative process of creating inter-disciplinary practices in higher education (HE). One of the emerging trends in HE is the desire of creating "world-class" research institutions. However, what is often overlooked in this “dream” are the basic teaching and learning processes. Technology is an integral component of a research university’s vision for current, as it is in the university within which this paper is discussed. However, the application and implementation of that technology is mostly limited within the confines of rigid academic disciplines and specializations. The skills to use technology are essential for the students major course of study. Understanding how technology, design and humans interact in real world communicative situations is not something the students readily experience as they do not engage in extensive fieldwork practices. Since knowledge cannot be adequately understood and learnt in isolation I undertook to break the barriers of specialization, which I believed would also help the students better appreciate the learning opportunities presented throughout their studies. The attempts to build bridges across the specialisations have resulted in a number of benefits for students, staff and the university. But, equally, they have created as many additional concerns and questions.


Keywords: Learning across Specializations, Research-Driven HE, Learning in Spite of Technology, Learning to Learn
Stream: Literacy, Language, Multiliteracies; Languages Education and Second Language Learning
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: , Learning Across Specializations


Prof. Malcolm Field

Professor, Communication
Design Course
School of Media Architecture, Future University

Hakodate, Hokkaido, Japan

Dr Field read Education at the University of Cambridge. He focused on the influence of culture on learning through ICTs. He has been working in Japan for more than 15 years and has taught at all educational levels over this period, though predominantly in higher education. He has written about Japanese education and learning. Dr Field is also particularly interested in global higher education (HE) and has co-edited several books on across-border education (the second due to be released late in 2008). This latter direction is raising a new interest in HE institutional, organisational and academic "learning-to-learn" culture.

Ref: L09P0277