360° Course Clusters

360 students and faculty in Hamburg, Germany 2013

360° is a new interdisciplinary experience that creates an opportunity to participate in a cluster of multiple courses connecting students and faculty in a single semester (or in some cases across contiguous semesters) to focus on common problems, themes, and experiences for the purposes of research and scholarship.  Interdisciplinary and interactive, 360° builds on Bryn Mawr’s strong institutional history of learning experiences beyond the traditional classroom, placed within a rigorous academic framework. 360° participants hone their arguments and insights through writing and research, develop strategies for teamwork that push the limits of their talents and creativity, and work with professors and scholars to promote big-picture thinking. Travel associated with the 360° program is funded by Bryn Mawr College.

360° is defined by the following five characteristics:

1. 360° offers an interdisciplinary experience for students and faculty.

360° clusters may involve two or more courses bridging the humanities and the natural and social sciences; collaborations within each broad division, or even two or more courses within the same department with very different subfields. What is central is that these courses engage problems using different approaches, theories, prior data and methods.

2. 360° is unified by a focused theme or research question.

These unifying themes can be topics that cut across disciplines such as “poverty,” refer to a particular space or time like “Vienna at the turn of the 20th century”, or define a complex research question, such as the impact of Hurricane Katrina in the city of New Orleans.

3. 360° engages students and faculty in active and interactive ways in a non-traditional classroom experience.

Essential to 360° is a component beyond traditional classroom walls. This could occur through data gathering or research trips, praxis-like community based partnerships, artistic productions, and/or intensive laboratory activity.

4. 360° will encourage students and faculty to reflect on these different perspectives in explicit ways.

Over their course of study, students often informally put together a set of related courses. 360° makes these connections explicit and explored reflectively among faculty and fellow students.

5. 360° participants enrich the entire community by sharing their work in some form.

All 360° participants will share their experiences through such activities as poster sessions, research talks, web postings, panel discussions and/or sharing of data, research, visuals etc.  Materials produced in 360° are archived for later use by others within the College community.