Integrative learning in a Synthesis and Design Studio: A phenomenological inquiry

Joachim Walther, Nadia Kellam, Tracie Costantino, Bonnie Cramond

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Scopus citations


Engineering education is uniquely qualified to make strides towards both a more integrated curriculum and understanding the benefits of an integrated learning experiences, due to the vast amounts of experience with innovative integrative curricular structures. This paper briefly describes an innovative approach to integrate student learning through a four year Synthesis and Design Studio. This provides the context for a phenomenological research study that investigated the nature of students' integrative learning processes. More specifically, the study examined integrative learning through the lens of students' experiences of the focus on deliberate reflection and engagement in the authentic interdisciplinary setting during an interdisciplinary Studio offered in the Fall of 2009. This study consisted of the interpretive analysis of individual reflection reports written by each student after participating in a range of reflective activities over the course of the semester. In addition, the qualitative data included open-ended responses collected from a mid and end-of-semester survey that was conducted externally. The phenomenological analysis of the students' experiences suggests that their development of a professional way of being as a key aspect of integrative learning that emerged gradually from the complex influences of the interdisciplinary educational experience and can be fostered by deliberate, continuous reflection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication40th Annual Frontiers in Education Conference
Subtitle of host publicationCelebrating Forty Years of Innovation, FIE 2010 - Conference Program
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes
Event40th Annual Frontiers in Education Conference: Celebrating Forty Years of Innovation, FIE 2010 - Arlington, VA, United States
Duration: Oct 27 2010Oct 30 2010

Publication series

NameProceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE
ISSN (Print)1539-4565


Other40th Annual Frontiers in Education Conference: Celebrating Forty Years of Innovation, FIE 2010
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityArlington, VA


  • Authentic interdisciplinary experiences
  • Curriculum integration
  • Deliberate reflection
  • Phenomenology
  • Synthesis and design studio

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications


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