“[T]he Empathy Project is a collaborative, project-based learning assignment in which students design a test of human empathy and pitch it to a hypothetical business,” explains Focused Inquiry Professor Micol Hutchison in an article in the latest issue of the peer-reviewed Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-Based Learning.
In the article, “The Empathy Project: Using a Project-Based Learning Assignment to Increase First-Year College Students’ Comfort with Interdisciplinarity,” Prof. Hutchison describes the goals and structure of VCU’s Focused Inquiry program, and explores how a single extended, collaborative project helps her students explore FI’s core goals.
As explained in the abstract:
“This paper describes a large, interdisciplinary, project-based assignment, the Empathy Project, which allows students to delve into and increase comfort and skill with interdisciplinary thinking and collaborative learning, while improving the core college skills of written and oral communication, ethical and quantitative reasoning, and critical thinking….Students reported that the project was interesting and challenging and appreciated the opportunity to work with other students, to create something entirely different, and to be able to bring creativity into their projects.”
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