I’d like to start off by saying that I never expected to be in this course. I never expected to be an IDS major, I never expected to deviate from my plan. Since about first grade I have been the type of kid to plan every detail in my life. I always know exactly what the next step is, where I am going, and what I need to do. But, I can assure you that becoming an IDS student was never in first grade Kennedy’s plan and defiantly not college Kennedy’s plan, but I am so grateful I deviated away from my plan. I took a risk and it paid off in more ways than I could ever imagine. I learned that it is good to have a plan, but it is okay to stray away and live life more fully. The knowledge I am gaining is more full, comprehensive, and enriching than I could have ever hoped for and without taking this leap of faith I would have had no idea what I was missing out on.
When I signed up for this course I truly thought we were going to spend an entire semester creating our majors. Why I thought that would take 15 weeks, I don’t know, but that is what I thought. I figured this course would be boring for me since I already knew what courses I wanted to take and what my plan was (since I of course had to create an entirely new after jumping off my previous plan). Yet, again I was surprised and learned about a whole different way of thinking and educating students. I never expected to learn about all these different concepts and ideas that were so much larger than just a singular discipline or course. I learned about open textbooks, creative commons, what a PLN is, and so much more. I opened myself up to another dimension of engaged learning that can be innovative and exciting. Before taking this course I truly that the translation for interdisciplinarity was create your own major. As if you were to look it up in the dictionary that would be the definition given to the word. However, I learned that yes, it was creating your own program, but it was so much more. It is now a word I use to define learning that is breaking the barriers of disciplines and joining forces to solve real world problems. As time elapsed over the course, my thoughts changed and I quickly became fascinated with this idea of melting disciplines together to create a program that was specialized to the goals of the student.
As I went through this course there are three main concepts that I felt truly changed how I looked at my education and those are open textbooks, creative commons, and creating a PLN.
First, I had never even heard of an open textbook, so I thought Dr. DeRosa was lying when she said our textbook was free (thankfully she was not).This idea of creating an openly licensed textbook is genius. It allowed us as students of the IDS program to learn more about our peers, scholars in the field, what IDS is, and the purpose of an IDS education. The ability to take different articles that are openly licensed and compile them into one central location to share thoughts and ideas is innovative. This allows us as peers to learn from one another and get different perspectives on the same topic without paying hundreds of dollars. The next concept that I’d like to touch on is this idea of creative commons. Prior to this course I heard of the phrase, but really didn’t understand what it meant. However, it wasn’t long into the course that I learned there are different levels of creative commons and rule that apply to those licenses. I had heard of flickr before, but just knew it as a common place google images showed pictures from. Little did I know that not all pictures could not be used freely and that this also applied to our ePorts. I continued to learn throughout the semester how to post pictures from flickr and how to make my ePort posts free to the public.
Lastly, we tackled the idea of a PLN. I was unfamiliar with this concept and quite frankly had no idea how to go about creating this PLN. But, with help from Dr. DeRosa and my fellow IDS peers, I quickly learned. I was new to twitter and thus extremely lost when it came to anything twitter related, but Dr. DeRosa simplified it by showing us Tweet Deck and other ways to target what we see on our feeds to make it beneficial to our education. I didn’t realize how much you can actually learn from Twitter and the research that by scholars that is often posted on social media. It was eye-opening to build my PLN throughout the semester and see all the different ideas I was learning about just by continuing to follow different scholars and organizations in the field.
Interdisciplinarity matters to our universities and our world in many ways. Interdisciplinarity allows students to build their own program in a way that will solve the world’s biggest issues. No problem in the world is one dimension so why is our education? Interdisciplinarity can draw students to those universities that offer those programs as well help retain students at the institutions. Interdisciplinarity pushes students to think outside of the box and outside of the traditional classroom. IDS creates innovators and motivators ready take on the world’s biggest challenges. In a world with constant change it is important to have thinkers who are striving to be the best every day and solve problems that didn’t occur 30 or even 5 years ago. We must prepare students to solve future problems when they might not even exist in today’s world.
As I move forward, I hope that I am able to inspire others who were like me, with a strict plan and saw no room for deviation. I hope that others consider an IDS education because the benefits are endless. My hopes are that IDS continues to grow at PSU and PSU encourages other departments on campus to use an open education like the one created here in the IDS department. I believe that this program will continue to benefit students for years to come and that more schools such adopt an open education model for students to feel pride and ownership in their own education. As for me, I hope that I can take this experience with me as I move onto graduate school and continue to learn and grow. I hope that I will be successful in the Occupational Therapy field and that I will be a leader in my field.