The effects of interdisciplinarity and internationality of group compositions in student fieldwork

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Arnold, Hannah
Felgentreff, Carsten
Franz, Martin
Higgs, Bettie
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Routledge - Taylor & Francis Group
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There is much anecdotal evidence of the benefits of fieldwork, but a small amount of research has been carried out on the value of fieldwork for student learning. Existing studies have focused on analysing fieldwork in mostly disciplinary and national contexts and the effects of interdisciplinary fieldwork on student learning have not been fully analysed. This paper aims to fill this gap by providing empirical evidence of the impact interdisciplinarity and internationality have on student learning while carrying out fieldwork. The case study consists of three field courses in Portugal in which biology, geography and geology students from Germany and Portugal took part. Based on a group interview with twelve students, their experiences, perceived learning outcomes and overall success of the fieldwork are evaluated. The results support the initial assumptions that interdisciplinary and international fieldwork adds value above and beyond the traditional field experience, and has a positive effect on the learning experience of the students. The students agree they have learned to better define their own study field and the interconnections with other disciplines. They also reported improved communication skills and methodological abilities and now feel better prepared to meet academic challenges and careers beyond campus.
Field course , Field trips , Field-based learning , Interdisciplinarity , International field research
Arnold, H., Felgentreff, C., Franz, M. and Higgs, B. (2022) 'The effects of interdisciplinarity and internationality of group compositions in student fieldwork', Journal of Geography in Higher Education. doi: 10.1080/03098265.2022.2119474
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