Integrated LearningMore than a buzz word...

What is integrated education?


By definition, it's the connection of disciplinary and interdisciplinary ideas to complex contexts, the building of knowledge across the curriculum and co-curriculum, and the application of this education to situations on and off campus.


Integrated Learning Themes

Each year, Cascadia adopts a theme around which instructors from different disciplines develop some of their course curriculum. The theme is supported by films, guest speakers, or other special events that are open to the entire campus community. The theme for 2013-14 is "roots"!

Last year's theme was "maps". Students in Jessica Ketcham Weber’s English 274 class, also known as Experimental Poetics and Digital Aesthetics, created what she describes as “a video poem, a poetic soundscape, or an animated GIF poem.”  Whatever you’d like to call it, the poems lead participants through an experience commemorating dozens of locations on the Cascadia campus. These maps are marked with crosshairs to identify locations where students have posted QR codes. To access a poem, you’ll need to have or download a free QR code reader.  Then, simply point your mobile device at the QR code and the poem will reveal itself to you.  This project is yet another demonstration of how a class has incorporated this year’s integrated learning theme as part of its coursework.

Learning Communities

A learning community is a pairing of courses that is team-taught by two instructors from different disciplines that allows students to develop skills and discover connections on multiple levels and across subject areas. 

In a learning community, you'll:

  • Synthesize knowledge and ideas across different disciplines
  • Understand patterns
  • Make connections among different schools of knowledge
  • Integrate your studies with personal experience
  • Build community among students, between students and their teachers, and among faculty.

How they work:


  • Students enroll in both courses for a double block of time and a total of 10 credits. For instance, a learning community might meet two days a week for four hours per day during a quarter.
  • The program may include workshops, lectures, field trips, and especially seminars, writing assignments, and group projects. In seminars, you learn to analyze and critique arguments, cooperate in group discussion, read critically, and debate logically. In writing assignments and group projects, you clarify and express your ideas and make connections among many subjects.


For current learning community courses, see the Schedules and Catalogs


Some past learning community courses have included:

  • "Seeing" Research Become Action: Talking Stories with Our Communities.Courses: Art Appreciation and Composition II. Combine research with creating visual and written documentation of the people in our neighborhoods, and take our growing understanding of what is happening to actively engage in ways that respect and honor them.
  • Swimming Upstream? The Environment, Power, and Democracy in the United States. Courses: Themes and Methods in Environmental Science and American Government. Focus on how U.S. political, economic, social, and cultural developments have altered the natural world in which we live.
  • Being Human: Reading and Writing in Cultural Anthropology. Courses: Cultural Anthropology and College Reading and Writing. Through an examination of social institutions such as kinship, belief systems, marriage and subsistence, as well as cultural taboos and the effects of development on indigenous peoples, students will find their distinct writing voice by exploring the human experience.
Linked Courses

Hard linked:

A combination between a cohort and a learning community. The same students take one course from one instructor and then a second course from a different instructor. The two instructors develop assignments that help students make connections between the two disciplines.


Soft linked:

Two courses tackling different subject matters. Students enrolled in one course interact on specific assignments with students enrolled in the other course and see how the two disciplines relate.


Simultaneous soft link:

Two distinct classes held simultaneously that interact with one another on occasion.

Experiential Learning

Through activities such as service learning, study abroad, or internships, Cascadia students have the opportunity to put their course learning to work in real-life situations. Likewise, peer teaching allows students to master skills learned in the classroom by serving as mentors, tutors, and/or intellectual and social support for other students.