Breaking the Boundaries of the Traditional Curriculum to Develop Collaboration and Cognitive Diversity06/2020
Research predicts a growing demand for future skills that are difficult to automate. This paper argues that the situation is threatened by reduced emphasis on design and technology education, accentuated by the lack of inclusivity. To address this shortfall, UK educational institutions are recognizing the value of collaboration to enable innovation and creativity.
A case study methodology is used, with cases from two universities, where collaborative opportunities are embedded into the curriculum in recognition of the current industry requirement for cognitive diversity. However, the disruption to the curriculum poses a challenge and provocation to both staff and students through the mindset and culture shift to make a successful transition to new ways of thinking and working.
The paper explores the interdisciplinary educational experience at Nottingham Trent University, which involved collaboration between mobile app development students from the School of Science & Technology and fashion management students from the School of Art & Design to co-develop a mobile app proposal. The second case study involves students from the Manchester Fashion Institute investigating new initiatives within fashion and collaborating with industry professionals to develop sustainable products.
The shared findings were that students gained more strategic cross-industry knowledge, with an emphasis on self-critique and a greater understanding of inclusivity and cultural awareness. The conclusion discusses the positive impact of collaboration and cognitive diversity on the student learning experience and points to future directions for research and educational practice through the creation of a thinking space for participants to implement in their own discipline.