Three professors—Maggie Little (Philosophy/Kennedy Institute of Ethics), Francis Slakey (Science in the Public Interest), and Matthew Pavesich (English), are delivering a project-driven, studio-based collaborative in the spring of 2015. As a key component of the course, they are building the first iteration of a "Course Collaborative Digital Commons" that will provide a hub for cross-course project teams, facilitate intra-course resource management, and provide contemporaneous, multi-dimensional captures of individual and group progress.
The Studio Collaborative is innovative in several ways. The three individual courses meet separately for an hour once a week to scaffold discipline-specific content in a more traditional course format. The remainder of student learning effort and time is spent working in a highly resourced studio, in cross-course teams, on a variety of student-driven, authentic projects in the fields of bioethics and science in the public interest. Using methodology piloted this semester with an EthicsLab course on bioethics co-taught by Maggie Little and Arjun Dhillon, studio-based work is supplementing traditional disciplinary work with design methodology, in which students are driven to content and reflection by working to design novel solutions to complex problems, build effective public communication around them, and bring to life products that provide real value in the world. The team hypothesizes that when cross-disciplinary studies and collaborative design projects are integrated with a project- and community-supported software platform, student learning outcomes can be far more transformative than in traditional course settings.