Supervising the Interdisciplinary PBL Project: Scaffolding an Open-Ended Space of Scientific Possibilities

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The aim of this chapter is to discuss the scientific preconditions for establishing higher education interdisciplinary project work in a problem-based learning (PBL) setting. The question pursued in this chapter concerns what types of theory of science dialogue and reflection are needed between a supervisor and a group of students in order for students to master an interdisciplinary approach in their project work. The chapter opens by outlining what the key concepts of ‘PBL-setting’, ‘theory of science’ and ‘interdisciplinary project work’ mean. This is followed by three interrelated sections; in the first, a central dichotomy in the conception of the interrelations among the sciences will be developed. This dichotomy revolves around the notion of science as describing the world vs. science as constructing a language to talk about the world. Building on the developed dichotomy, a vocabulary will be constructed around Wittgenstein’s notion of a language game in order to conceptualise what would be required of students to work interdisciplinarily in an open-ended space of scientific possibilities. Finally, the chapter establishes an argument for a set of important practices in the supervision of PBL groups to facilitate interdisciplinary project work.
Translated title of the contributionAt vejlede det interdisciplinære PBL projekt
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInterdisciplinarity and Problem-Based Learning in Higher Education : Research and Perspectives from Aalborg University
EditorsAnnie Aarup Jensen, Diana Stentoft, Ole Ravn
Number of pages11
Publication date15 Sep 2019
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-18841-2
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-18842-9
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2019
SeriesInnovation and Change in Professional Education


  • interdisciplinary project work
  • higher education
  • problem-based learning
  • PBL
  • science dialogue and reflection
  • supervisor
  • group work
  • project work
  • PBL-setting
  • theory of science

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