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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Martha Groom
BIS 300
Bothell Campus

Interdisciplinary Inquiry

Introduction to advanced work in interdisciplinary studies centered on broadly based questions and problems. Stresses the skills necessary to engage in upper-division research and learning in the Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences Program.

Class description

The purpose of BIS 300 is to introduce and orient students to upper-division work in the Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences program. It encourages students to take intellectual risks with the goal of improving their abilities to read closely, write and think critically, communicate clearly and creatively, research effectively, and work collaboratively. We will work closely with the staff in the library, the Writing Center, and the Quantitative Skills Center. Students will conclude the course acclimated to the rich variety of resources and support services available to them at UWB, and with a new awareness of their own role as not only consumers but also producers of knowledge.

This section of BIS 300 will examine from multiple perspectives the influence of petroleum in our lives, and our current efforts to find sustainable substitutes for oil. This topic lends itself well to multi- and inter-disciplinary approaches, but is mainly a foil for gaining skills for use in further study in any of the IAS majors.

Student learning goals

To understand how knowledge is produced, and how interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary approaches can serve us in addressing compelling questions of our era.

To become a better critical thinker-one who is capable of posing, answering and reposing a variety of critical questions.

To become a better speaker--one who is able to communicate clearly and engagingly about complicated topics, arguments and issues.

To learn effective and efficient research techniques.

To learn how to work well collaboratively, as both a learner and a researcher.

General method of instruction

Short lectures, small-group work, class discussion, film and image analysis, and short presentations. We will make an effort to try on several distinct modes of conducting research, and discuss how these different methods tend to help us observe and understand different aspects of problems.

Recommended preparation

Enthusiasm for learning is the most important preparation for this course. Willingness to try new approaches is also a very helpful trait.

Class assignments and grading

Students will develop research proposals iteratively (building new skills, and hopefully trying multiple research modes, at each iteration). In addition, you will be responsible for informal and formal presentations and written work. All students will also create an e-portfolio, as the first stage in the IAS program-wide portfolio requirement. Active participation is essential in both in-class and online discussions.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Martha Groom
Date: 01/28/2013