Guided Reading in Interdisciplinary Studies

Instructors Name: Dr. Stephen Freeland, Samirah Hassan
Emails: freeland@umbc.edu, shassan1@umbc.edu
Office Location: FA 019, FA 022

INDS 399 Course Description:

The purpose of the class is to develop a student’s idea for capstone project, as described in their degree plan proposal, into a formal research question of suitable scope and focus. This involves obtaining a thorough grounding in key literature, including the appropriate scholarship of interdisciplinarity.

One academic credit of this course requires a total of ~40 hours work, divided into four modules. In order to pass the class, a student must complete each module by the due date stated within each modules. The only exception to this guideline is if a student applies for an “incomplete”, according to the standard rules of the INDS program (i.e. a formal email petition to the director that explains the reasons for the request, and a detailed timeline of when and how the student intends to complete the course).

Please note that it is entirely possible to fail this course – that a one-credit course does show up on your transcript, and an “F” in this course will impact your GPA and your progress to graduation. Each of these points has surprised one or more students in past semesters – please do not make the same mistake! Please note also that it should be straightforward and even enjoyable to pass the course – if not, then something is wrong (a student has not chosen well the topic of their capstone, has made an unfortunate choice of degree mentors or has encountered some other difficulty): in all cases, the key point is for the student to communicate with their INDS advisor ASAP). A different way of stating the purpose for this course is that it exists to get each student pointed at the right capstone question before further changes start to cause major problems with a degree.

INDS 399 Learning Objectives:

INDS399 figure

The overarching learning objective of INDS 399 is for each student with an approved INDS degree proposal to evolve their broad concept for a capstone research project (as expressed within the approved INDS degree proposal) into a scholarly research question, suitable for further detailed development to take place in INDS 480. This overall objective entails the following, more detailed, learning objectives:

1. To learn the skills for searching and identifying scholarly sources relevant to a chosen topic of capstone research

2. To apply this knowledge in creating a knowledge-base of appropriate sources for the intended capstone project

3. To build/develop professional relationship with faculty mentors, INDS advisor and other key human resources as appropriate

4. To identify the scholarship of interdisciplinarity (SOI), including primary sources, that applies to the intended capstone project