Vignette 2 Facing the realities of implementing an interdisciplinary approach in institutions of higher learning in Malaysia
Interdisciplinary Higher Education: Perspectives and Practicalities
ISBN: 978-0-85724-371-3, eISBN: 978-0-85724-372-0
Publication date: 8 November 2010
Interdisciplinary higher education is becoming more important in learning across subject boundaries. This is occurring in global, national and institutional contexts. In Malaysia, interdisciplinarity is clear in the country's National Higher Education Strategic Plan (2007). While varying interpretations of interdisciplinary learning and teaching exist, there are also commonalities. These common elements address complex problems and focus questions by drawing on the disciplines. They also integrate insights and produce new understandings of complex problems. In this chapter, 21 senior administrators (deans, deputy deans and program chairs) from three public universities in Malaysia were surveyed, and 10 respondents were interviewed to determine their views on their use of the interdisciplinary approach: that is, their level of awareness, their perceptions of interdisciplinarity, and their self-reported level of knowledge of what interdisciplinarity means. The findings showed that 76% of the respondents were aware of interdisciplinarity, and that most respondents had a ‘moderately sufficient’ level of self-reported knowledge about the application of interdisciplinarity in current courses. The interview sessions also revealed that respondents interpreted the interdisciplinary approach in different ways. The implications of the results from this exploratory study suggest that public universities in Malaysia have various obstacles to deal with before effective interdisciplinary learning and teaching can be implemented.
Kaur, S. and Kaur Sidhu, G. (2010), "Vignette 2 Facing the realities of implementing an interdisciplinary approach in institutions of higher learning in Malaysia", Davies, M., Devlin, M. and Tight, M. (Ed.) Interdisciplinary Higher Education: Perspectives and Practicalities (International Perspectives on Higher Education Research, Vol. 5), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 133-149. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1479-3628(2010)0000005010
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