Transdisciplinary collaborative research exploration for undergraduate engineering students

Atila Ertas, Heather Greenhalgh-Spencer, Utku Gulbulak, Turgut Batuhan Baturalp, Kellilynn M. Frias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This paper describes the creation of a Transdisciplinary Design Studio (TD2S) for Collaborative Research and Education (CORE) in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Texas Tech University and a study of this pedagogy for undergraduate engineering students. More specifically, this paper highlights a project-based TD design class which encouraged small student research groups to take on new behaviors of work-collaboration and teamwork-to solve complex problems. To create engagement in the class, an active learning and design-based research pedagogy was incorporated. Three main components (digital learning, creativity tools & techniques, and domain experts) of the TD design studio were examined for their contribution to student learning. We highlight the overlooked role of transdisciplinary design training in the undergraduate research experience and make specific reference to the impact of these pedagogical techniques on the learning outcomes for both Caucasian and under-represented minorities. Students' collaboration and creativity skills (TD skills) were tested and the results are presented. The ultimate goal of the TDclass is to promote the creative, innovative, and divergent thinking of students. This research study validated that TD-methods support the learning of underrepresented groups: transdisciplinary practice showed positive impact on underrepresented minority students' learning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1242-1256
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Engineering Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2017


  • Collaborative research
  • Collective intelligence
  • Engineering education
  • Transdisciplinarity
  • Transdisciplinary design studio


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