Flipping, Blending and Integrating: A Model for Accelerating Interdisciplinary Knowledge Integration in Higher Education

Concurrent Session 2

Brief Abstract

This session introduces a flipped, blended and integrated model of learning design and delivery to accelerate knowledge integration based upon active and collaborative pedagogies. We examine students’ perceptions of integration across the three courses and their experiences with developing an integrated final project. We review lessons learned and best practices for enhancing the student experience through an integrated model.


Karen Schlumpf is an epidemiologist and biostatistician within the Department of Clinical and Translational Research at the George Washington University. She is the director of research curriculum within the School of Health Sciences. Prior to becoming full-time faculty in 2013, she served as an adjunct professor for 10 years. Ms Schlumpf's research experience include transfusion medicine, neurogenetic linkage and gene mapping, infantile feeding disorders, and health service utilization. She is currently working on her dissertation, exploring the sensemaking process of families experiencing terminal illness.
Paige McDonald is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Research and Learning at The George Washington University. She is currently working to promote blended learning and develop blended courses in Health Professions education. Paige's research interests include blended learning, collaborative learning, reflective practice, and course design for higher levels of learning.

Extended Abstract

“Interdisciplinary” (Klein, 1990; Klein & Newell, 1997) has become a buzzword in higher education, particularly with regard to health professions education in which graduates will work in interdisciplinary teams to optimize patient health in increasingly complex contexts. Yet, little guidance is available on how to achieve “interdisciplinary” in higher education programming, particularly with regard to integrating disciplinary perspectives and curricula to develop measurable competencies and encouraging innovative, collaborative models among faculty who teach different courses but must foster knowledge integration across the courses to achieve programmatic goals.

In August 2016, the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) launched an interdisciplinary PhD in Translational Health Sciences (THS). Designed as a blended, low-residency program of study, the curriculum integrates knowledge from multiple disciplines to develop future scholars who can enact interdisciplinary knowledge generation in future research.  To achieve this pedagogical goal, we have adopted an active, collaborative, flipped, blended model to accelerate interdisciplinary knowledge application and integration.  Our motto, “We do not lecture!” exemplifies the active approach we adopt in our residency weekends. We have found success with active, collaborative and integrative learning activities, which challenge students to apply knowledge from all courses both during on-campus weekends and in final assignments. Though adopted in a doctoral program, we believe this model of learning design and delivery can be applied across higher education to accelerate knowledge integration and application.

In this session, we present our model of learning design and facilitation, to include best practices that we have developed for faculty teaching our courses. We will also share insight on the students’ perceptions of integration and experience in developing an integrated final project. In addition, we will share learning artifacts as evidence of knowledge integration resulting from our model. Attendees will take away a copy of our model and best practices for course design and delivery and curriculum integration. They will also take away our recommendations for systems and processes to support faculty collaboration in interdisciplinary programs. Our objectives for the session include:

  • Review a flipped, blended, integrated model of learning design and delivery to accelerate interdisciplinary knowledge application and integration
  • Discuss students’ perceptions of and experiences with the integrated learning model
  • Review best practices for learning design and facilitation
  • Review evidence of interdisciplinary knowledge generation resulting from the presented model