The end of 2020 brought some exciting news to the LIS community. We were granted our own degree-awarding powers; this means students who attend LIS will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in Interdisciplinary Problems and Methods. We also announced our Whitechapel campus. Based in the heart of East London, our campus will give students access to a range of exciting organisations, events, and resources in the city.
As we move closer to opening our doors this autumn, we have spent the first part of 2021 refining our Interdisciplinary curriculum and student experience activities ahead of our founding cohort joining us in September.
We’ve done this by running the Sprint: Two five-week, full-time courses, developed to test parts of the Interdisciplinary Problems and Methods curriculum as well as aspects of the wider LIS environment. These courses are a key step in our vision to prepare students to tackle some of the most important and complex problems faced by the world today.
The first Sprint ran from early January until mid-February, and the second Sprint kicked off at the end of February and will be running until the end of March.
We received over 250 applications from a brilliant and varied group of students and selected between 25–30 participants to join us for each of the Sprints. Together, the Sprinters form a community who are interested in a range of subjects and are passionate about solving real-world problems.
But they are also the types of students who are comfortable feeling uncomfortable; and understand that, although challenging, participating in the Sprint is a rewarding opportunity to acquire new skills, meet like-minded individuals, and learn from a team of exceptional faculty. Through sharing their learning experience and giving direct feedback, the Sprinters will play a crucial role in shaping LIS for the future ahead of welcoming our founding cohort of students in September 2021.
How do students learn on the Sprint?
Our mission is to teach students how to cut across disciplinary boundaries, make new connections and find new approaches to help tackle some of the most important and complex problems faced by the world today.
That’s why during the five-week learning period of each Sprint, students follow the LIS approach to learning by exploring a problem statement using different disciplinary perspectives. At the same time, Sprinters study a range of qualitative and quantitative methods that allow them to produce their own knowledge, as well as critique knowledge gained from the course. These methods will serve as an interdisciplinary toolkit that Sprinters will be able to use beyond the Sprint.
At the end of the five weeks, students work in groups to deliver a final project, with the objective of identifying ways in which to tackle the proposed problem.
Following the five-week Sprint, students switch into feedback and co-development mode, spending two days assessing what went well, what could be improved, and what could be added. The Sprinters’ participation and feedback on the learning environment, content, and overall LIS experience will pave the way for a new generation of interdisciplinary learners and future leaders.
We’ve enjoyed sharing some of the Sprinters’ profiles on social over the last few weeks and will be sharing more about the Sprint, the Sprinters and what they’re learning in the coming weeks. You can follow along on Instagram, Facebook, and other LIS social channels.