Interdisciplinary Project-Based Learning


Interdisciplinary Project-Based Learning

One way we provide these unique educational experiences is through the creation of IPBL courses.  These are Interdisciplinary, Project-Based Learning courses.  All IPBL courses include the following three components:

  • INTERDISCIPLINARY - teams of students from a variety of disciplines are in the same class.
  • PROJECT-BASED - students are tasked with solving real world problems.
  • COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT - each course requires students to be engaged with either local, regional, or global community members.

If you have an idea for an IPBL course, we encourage you to contact us.  We want to hear your ideas! or 479-498-6050.

Within the Center for Community Engagement and Academic Outreach (CEAO), we want to "Recognize, encourage and promote the use of co-curricular and high-impact educational practices (e.g.,athletics, student research, student learning, internships, research, service learning, interdisciplinary project-based courses, study abroad, learning communities). - Goal 1, Action Item 9" 


IPBL Activity Grants:

In an effort to encourage the development of these courses, CEAO offers three annual IPBL Activity Grants.  Each grant provides the course with $500.  These include:

 Service Learning Grant

This is a $500 grant offered for a course that implements the service learning model in which students learn by applying their knowledge and skills to provide a service to a non-profit community partner.

Community Development Grant

This is a $500 grant offered for a course that involves students addressing a need in the community.

Community-Based Research Grant

This is a $500 grant offered for a course that involves students in conducting research to generate knowledge about a community need.

To apply for a CEAO Activity Grant, complete the following application found here.





Denali Water Solutions

Sponsored by Denali Water Solutions - each semester a team of six students are tasked with addressing a problem given to them by Denali.  Lead by an ATU professor with the assistance of two ATU faculty consultants, the students spend the semester learning about Denali Water Solutions, researching the problem, and finally providing a product at the end of the semester.

 participants in the 2019 collaborative solutions course

Collaborative Solutions

Sponsored by a generous ATU alum - each spring semester a team of 10-15 students are asked to explore a topic chosen by the CEAO Faculty Liaison Board.  The topic is chosen based on its significance and its adversity.  The focus of this course is for students to not only learn about the topic, but also to learn to discuss a difficult topic with individuals that may disagree.   A key component of this course is the mid-semester symposium that brings in a diversity of speakers who are experts on the topic. 



Food Facility Design and Development -- Spring 2019
This course provided students the opportunity to help two community members develop models for how to organize a food truck court on the property they owned close to ATU campus. The students were responsible for deciding what factors on the property can make the idea happen, what has to happen to make it successful, etc. This course was funded by CEAO's community-based research activity grant.

ATU and Main Street Russellville -- Fall 2019
This is a new course that will be offered in fall 2019. Collaborating with Main Street Russellville, the students will work on brainstorming different ways to bring ATU students into the downtown area of Russellville. This course is funded by CEAO's community development grant.

Our Food, Our History -- Spring 2020 
This is a course that combines THREE areas of study. Students will learn about the field of gerontology, the River Valley's food culture and history, and practice some hospitality skills. This is a service learning course. Students will provide service to a local assisted living facility by spending time getting to know and interviewing its members about the food of their childhood or family favorites.

Behavioral Neuroscience Advanced Research Methods and Statistics -- Spring 2020 
This is a course that is designed for students with a chemistry, biology, nursing, psychology, and sociology background to work together. Students will take a biological samples collected from the fall (DNA, cortisol, etc.) and behavioral data and use that information to build capstone projects. 

Russellville's Sesquicentennial: Celebrating Minority Histories -- Spring 2020 
Enrolling in this course allows the opportunity to gain experience in interviewing skills, videography and photography, multimedia, and much more. Students will assist with the planning of the sesquicentennial celebration by gathering the information and highlighting the contribution of the minority populations to the area. The Russelville City Council and the Sesquicentennial Committee will guide the students to a successful finish for their project. 


Our students and faculty documented their experiences in our Interdisciplinary Project-Based Learning courses.