Collaboration among disciplines has been popular in education because of its flexibility in expanding scopes of knowledge and versatile approaches. In an interdisciplinary course during September - December 2017 at Washington University in St. Louis, students and professors across five different disciplines worked in collaboration to design a special sportswear for people in wheelchairs with spinal cord injuries. A qualitative research was conducted to investigate how participants’ educational background influences the design process in such an interdisciplinary course setting through methodologies involving observations, documents, interviews and audio-visual materials of the course participants. This report is a documentation of the research. Findings of this research prove the effectiveness of such an interdisciplinary collaboration. It is recommended to optimize the recruitment process and results of students and faculty members from different disciplines, such as involving sufficient fashion design and engineering students, and reforming the syllabus in an effort to achieve more desirable course expectations. It is hoped that this research may foster more interests in interdisciplinary collaboration among Art and the STEM fields to further break down barriers among these disciplines.

Document Type

Final Report

Author's School

McKelvey School of Engineering

Author's Department

Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Class Name

Mechanical Engineering and Material Sciences Independent Study

Date of Submission