Making Course Connections

I know I’m not alone when I was forced to change my major 3 years in to college. The thought of having only 1 year left and wanting to graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree seemed almost impossible. Something that I am thankful for is having Interdisciplinary Studies save me and the position that I was in. This major helped me see that I wasn’t lost or stupid for changing my major 3 years in. Graduating with a Health Science degree is something that is fit for me. Because of IDS, I see how I can better integrate myself into courses. It is easier to think outside the box and make more connections with different subjects and find that adjunct of information in between the two. There are two courses that I am taking this semester that I want to discuss. The first one is Disease, Safety & Environment with Lynn Bates and the second is Science or Superstition with George Matthews.


Disease, Safety & Environment was a class that I wanted to take because I figured it would be information that was not new to me. I have taken multiple science & health

By Ryleigh Stearns

related courses at Plymouth State and with all of the knowledge I have, this class would be a breeze. So I was right about one thing, this class is a breeze for me. No, it is not because this class is easy, it’s because a good amount of the information discussed isinformation that I already know from previous classes. Professor Lynn Bates has a different teaching style that I am used to and because of that, I am learning the information better. Because I was previously a Nursing major, I have been taking multiple health classes. Nursing on it’s own is interdisciplinary but it is not until now that I truly understood why. The thought of this helps me feel much more confident in my study and helps me feel like I made the right choice with switching my major.

The next course I want to discuss is Science or Superstition. To be honest, I chose this class because it had the word “science” in it and I am all for a good science class. I’m pretty sure almost half of my 120 credits are science courses. So this class was absolutely nothing like I expected. We don’t have exams, we don’t have papers, and it is very informal assignments. By this I mean it is closely related to my Intro to IDS class. I get to

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choose what I want to write about on our class blog and I can seriously write about anything that I want that has to do with science. I have honestly learned so much from this class because it forces you to look up information that you have always wanted to know about like why people are so afraid of Friday the 13th. There is so much freedom in this course which is not something that I am used to at all. Professor Matthews is also hilarious and keeps my attention throughout the class that I am in. This course encourages me to explore more information on my own. To me, that is a big part of my IDS journey.

Something that I have learned through IDS, is that it is okay to not know exactly what you are going to do out of college. It is okay to go back to school. And it is okay to switch your major s year before you are going to graduate. By following what my gut has told me, I discovered two courses that have enhanced my learning and allowed me to expand my horizon. I have learned that I need to have more confidence in what I know because I am smarter than I actually think. Thanks to IDS, I see a strong future for myself.

From Saying to Doing

As I continue in my first interdisciplinary class, I am really getting used to the concept of interdisciplinarity. Although this concept is still extremely fresh to me, it has grown on me for the better and has assisted me in a higher level of education in this short amount of time. I now see interdisciplinary teaching as the way that teaching should be done. I also see the importance in separate disciplines, but the answer to solving problems in a more efficient and effective way is through the way of interdisciplinary learning in a problem-based setting. “Rather than supporting content learning of a single discipline, the problem-based approach puts the problem to be solved before the ‘tools to solve it’” (Stentoft, 2017). This article by the name of, From saying to doing interdisciplinary learning: Is problem-based learning the answer? by Diana Stentoft, truly resinated with me as well as did a great job of summarizing the main points about interdisciplinarity as I have come to know.

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One thing that is most important to me about interdisciplinary studies is how the student is in control of what they learn and how they choose to do so. I have always felt so strongly about this subject since I have always felt that if the student was able to create their own schedule of learning, the outcome would always be higher. I also believe that students will accomplish a higher level of education by being able to create their own way of mastering a subject. Interdisciplinarity separates individuals from the basic way of learning.

There are some challenges to this way of learning. Something that I have learned is that there are multiple barriers to interdisciplinary learning. Stentoft mentions in her article that “The complexities of interdisciplinary learning may add to the discomfort of the teacher who may experience interdisciplinary teaching not only as an opportunity for learning but also as a challenge since he is not the expert within a confined disciplinary field”. This is something that I find agreeable because there has been such a finite way of learning things within a classroom that the teachers will not find it beneficial to stray form the norm. This statement also made me think more in depth on this particular barrier. It made me question why a teacher would not think they are an expert on the disciplinary they are teaching. If instead of learning one discipline, would they have found it more beneficial to learn in an interdisciplinary way? This is a barrier that is important for teachers to overcome. The teachers themselves are the shifters of knowledge and have the opportunity to incorporate interdisciplinary teaching and learning into their curriculums.

Stentoft made it known that her research in this subject has only just begun. “Clearly,

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interdisciplinary PBL is about much more than students addressing a real-life problem, and this should be reflected in the organization and implementation of learning activities” (Stentoft, 2017). I can’t help but wonder how different the concept of learning will be in the future. Although it is impossible to tell, I have confidence that interdisciplinary teaching and learning will become much more prevalent due to its growing popularity and discovery. I found this article one of many that I could truly relate with and one that has helped me better understand why this way of learning is so important.

Article Citation:

Stentoft, Diana. “From Saying to Doing Interdisciplinary Learning: Is Problem-Based Learning the Answer?” Active Learning in Higher Education, vol. 18, no. 1, 2017, pp. 51–61.



Sutherland Springs

Many people have a Sunday routine of going to Church every morning with family, friends, or alone. I remember my mom taking me to church when my sister and I were younger, but never made it mandatory as we were growing up. Church is a part of religion for some people, and a safety zone for others. Unfortunately, Church was a nightmare for the people in The First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

On Sunday November 5th 2017, at least 26 lives were taken when a 26 year old male burst into the church, gun in hands, firing at any person he saw. The shooter was by the name of Devin Kelley and had a history of domestic abuse. Kelley unfortunately did not care about the age of the victims. The youngest live lost was a mere 18 months old and the oldest being 77 years. After the shooting, Kelley fled in his vehicle and crashed it at a high speed, taking his own life.

Many different departments were called to the scene. Law enforcement attempted to figure out the motive behind the shooting. After doing some research, it was discovered that Kelley had sent threatening messages to his mother-in-law that day prior to the shooting. It was also noted that she attended the same church that Kelley had gone into that day, taking the lives of many. Kelley was a part of the US Air Force and was stationed in New Mexico. Because of his history of domestic abuse, he was not able to possess fire arms. Unfortunately Kelley proved himself a very dangerous man when he got his hands on 3 rifles. Since this man took his own life, we will not know the exact motive of what he has done, but with the help of detectives and law enforcement, we can come very close to what we believe was Kelley’s motive.


Fireman and EMT’s were on the scene right away, attempting to save the lives of the injured and bring others to safety. Along with the 26 deaths, 20 people were injured so paramedics had to act quickly to get people to the hospital to get the proper care they needed. There are still people in critical condition at this time, but if medical personnel did not show up the time that they did, more lives could have easily been lost.

Fortunately, 2 funds have been started to help with the victims of the Sutherland Springs shooting. One fund is by the name of Sutherland Springs Shooting Fund which provides donated funds directly to the victims of the shooting. This fund is run by the Hardest Hit Family Relief Fund (HHFRF), an existing charity that provides disaster relief. There is also a GoFundMe page that is aiming to raise money for the church where it all took place. The pages together have already raised approximately $12,000 in donations within the span of one day. Without the help from these funds, recovery would be off to a much slower start.171105200704-19-sutherland-springs-church-shooting-exlarge-169

All of these departments are working together to overcome this disaster that has occurred. Without them and the people that run them, this situation could have been handled in a much poorer way. Unfortunately, this situation can not be taken back, but because of the technology and departments we have access to, we can hopefully prevent another situation like this from happening again the future. Source

The Washington Post

New York Times