On Interdisciplinary Education for the Web Professional

Why Interdisciplinary Education for the Web Professional?

What Students and Educators Need to Know

Of all of the career industries, the Web profession requires perhaps the greatest cross-disciplinary interaction and development because the work in this profession requires elements of art and design, technology, business and communication, self-management and project management skills. Consequently, Web professional occupational titles and roles require a constantly varying combination of artistic imagination, linear thinking, symbolic connections, technical skills and business acumen.

School of Web Opportunity

* Multidisciplinary education and practices occur when several disciplines work in parallel, often with independent goals.
* In contrast, interdisciplinary education may include a variety of disciplines from the Web and other fields of study that collaborate through joint planning, decision-making, and goal-setting.

Successful career preparation involves in depth as well as a broad-range of academic preparation as well as the cultivation of such intangible assets as flexibility, problem-solving and interpersonal skills.

Careers in the Web profession currently fall into five general pathways:

•Web Design (artistic and visual)
•Web Development (programming, connectivity and database)
•Web Administration (hardware, software, telecommunications and security)
•Web Business (e-commerce, web consulting, organic and paid search content development and management
•Webmastering (Webmasters are typically generalists. They serve as Web project managers and oversee the design, development and website administration)

Web professional pathway resources make explicit the appropriate knowledge, skills and practical experience both students and those that teach them should have to pursue a career in the Web profession.

Web professionals share a common and primary commitment to serving the needs of their customers and stakeholders. While each discipline within the Web profession has its own core focus (Web design, development, administration and Web business) the scope of their work and the essence of the new medium require that they work collaboratively and often with a complete understanding of the various disciplines. Collaboration emanates from an in depth understanding and appreciation of the roles and contributions that each discipline brings to the quality of the customers experience. Such professional socialization and ability to work together is the result of shared educational and practice experiences.

Definition

Interdisciplinary Education – An educational approach in which two or more disciplines collaborate in the learning process with the goal of fostering interprofessional interactions that enhance the practice of each discipline. Such interdisciplinary education is based on mutual understanding and respect for the actual and potential contributions of the disciplines.

Background

Interdisciplinary education involves integrating diverse modes of disciplinary inquiry in order to produce fresh insights. This kind of work can be enriching for both students and instructors, offering opportunities to think “outside the box” and to examine the broader implications and applications of field-specific knowledge.

Teaching interdisciplinary topics also presents challenges. There is the inevitable challenge of balancing breadth and depth of inquiry. Often working beyond their expertise, instructors might also worry about misrepresenting concepts from other disciplines, or that they aren’t qualified to assess student work outside their own field. By shifting the emphasis of interdisciplinary instruction from content to process, however, it is possible to see these challenges as learning opportunities.

Interdisciplinarity calls for a collaborative approach to teaching and learning. Common strategies for creating interdisciplinary classrooms include team teaching, or inviting guest lecturers to contribute expertise on a topic. Perhaps the most effective strategy for creating interdisciplinary classrooms is to encourage peer-to-peer learning. Consider assigning multiple sets of reading and make students responsible for teaching these readings to one another. Over the course of the semester, have students generate a glossary of interdisciplinary vocabulary words important to your topic. Incorporate student’s presentations on relevant topics of their choice.

Collaborative learning techniques include think-pair-share exercises and structured controversy, such as formal debate, where students learn to develop multiple points of view. Group work is an fundamental component of collaborative learning. Tools for enhancing group work include jigsaw and fishbowl exercises. Assessing group work and interdisciplinary work can be difficult. Rubrics that emphasize integrative learning skills and teamwork skills can provide a helpful guide.

For further information including SchooofWeb.org Executive Committee perspectives on why Interdisciplinary Education is important click here.

Press Release

SchoolofWeb.org Announced to Unify the Web Professional Education Ecosystem

Leading Computer Science, Art and Interactive Design, Business education and industry professionals have come together to collaborate on a new initiative that will help support interdisciplinary education in the areas of Web design, technology, and business.

The membership supported WebProfe3ssionals.org organization is pleased to announce the formation and the SchoolofWeb.org to foster improvements in interdisciplinary education within higher education and pathways to jobs.

The goal of the SchoolofWeb.org initiative is to support students and teachers with an advanced interdisciplinary education ecosystem that is able to refresh itself with technology and design talent, creative thinkers and entrepreneurs.

The initiative is responding to a crisis of record unemployment, a higher than average drop out rate and U.S. government studies predicting a significant shortage of technology and New Media professionals within the next three to five years. The new initiative is designed to address the shortage of technology professionals and to answer the question, “Why Consider a Career in the Web Profession?”

“In order for the U.S. to continue to lead the world in innovation and creativity, we must develop an advanced information technology ecosystem that is able to refresh itself with technology and design talent and creative thinkers and entrepreneurs.” said Bill Cullifer, WOW Executive Director and Webprofessionals.org.

The SchoolofWeb.org initiative will advocate and promote interdisciplinary education and development and teacher resources that will support students in the classroom. It also will:

.Develop an effective communication strategy to articulate why interdisciplinary education is good for business, commerce, competitiveness
and jobs
.Improve collaboration between the Computer Science, Art and Business departments within secondary and higher education
.Improve collaboration between K-12, community colleges, 4-year colleges, universities, businesses, and government
.Aggregate an effective advocacy effort with state and national policy makers on behalf of the Web professional community in communities around the globe
.Deploy relevant, workable, accessible instructional design strategies for learners (traditional and online methods) in partnership with education including high schools, community colleges and universities

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