Interwovenness at Krea

How does Interwoven Learning open up minds to disciplines that are conventionally considered unrelated to the subject of your choice? How does exploring a subject through the lens of another help unravel strands of thought that are no longer in silos and go beyond the classroom?

At Krea we are developing a view of the future through rigorous and interdisciplinary research and education that continuously feeds the design of Interwoven Learning.  A rigorous process weaving together academics with experiential learning, broad based learning experience with a deep dive into specialisations and creating well rounded minds, adept at problem solving in a change driven future.

This article is one in a series, an attempt at discovering the experience of the Interwoven Learning at Krea through the lens of a Krea student and how over the years the distinct pedagogy at Krea enables them to explore pathways that are uncharted and novel.

Hear from Arya Lovekar

This term, I will complete my undergraduate degree at SIAS, Krea University. At the start of term, I made a spreadsheet to count all the credits I’ve got so far, just to make sure I had enough for my major and minor. Those boxes got ticked, no issues. But I found something surprising – I had also taken enough courses in a third subject I was interested in, and so I’d unwittingly also completed a concentration, or a half minor. Beyond this, I had taken courses here and there that didn’t contribute to either my major, minor, or concentration, but I had had the opportunity to take them anyway, just because I had found them interesting. It would have been impossible to do this at a more traditional university.

All of us here have interests beyond the major we’re doing. In most terms, I made sure to take at least one course that’s outside my major and minor, a small peek into another discipline. We’re given the chance to put these types of courses in conversation with our required courses. Projects and end-term papers for any class can draw upon things we learned in other classes. For a social studies and history course, I submitted a research design for historical literary research. We’re encouraged to bring in other interests too. As part of an assignment in a course on postcolonial literature and arts, I once submitted a picture of an embroidery project I was doing in my free time. No one else has the exact degree I will get, even if we shared the same major. Although we get a framework of required courses, we put the rest of it together ourselves, with some help from faculty and our peers.

Courses can be cross-listed under very different disciplines – literature and psychology, math and history, environmental studies and literature. When a course is cross-listed, it can count towards any of the disciplines it’s under, so the course brings together something from each of those disciplines. For example, in the course under literature and psychology, we read a lot of fiction through a specific psychological lens, balanced out with theory texts. Cross-listed courses are usually a great place to swap notes with people taking a different major than I am, because they always have perspectives I might not have been able to pick up otherwise.

Literature courses very often have links to other topics, even beyond cross-listed courses. There is always something to be learned about the history of what we’re reading, the psyche of the characters, the sociological and political aspects of the text.

Every week, the whole cohort gets invites to guest lectures from a range of fields. Even if a lecture isn’t in your field, it might be interesting to you. These lectures usually start from basics, and so even if you know nothing about the topic, you may have something to gain. In such guest lectures I’ve learned about things like black holes, ethnography, genetics, and translation.

Interwoven learning happens outside the classroom too. Walking around campus or sitting in the dining hall and other student spaces, I’ve talked to students doing projects in disciplines far away from mine, and I’ve learned something new each time. We’ve had star-gazing sessions where a professor pointed out specific stars and told us their names; I went back to my laptop later and read about the mythology behind those names, and how that’s linked to where they’re positioned in the sky. We’ve had workshops teaching pottery, and lighting for photography. Student-led clubs hold quizzes on literature, theatre, math, history, general knowledge – you name it.

Many of us come from schools where each subject was taught in isolation, but once you see the links between the different things you can choose to learn about, it’s increasingly easy to make those links yourself. It takes a bit of work at the start, but weaving together ideas from different disciplines can make each of those disciplines more interesting, and give you new ideas for a project, paper, or informal conversation with a professor or peer.