Maximising students’ creative potential to address contemporary issues and fostering cross-disciplinary learning are on the agenda of both top-down and bottom-up educational initiatives. Within the framework of research about cross-disciplinary learning and collaboration, this article argues for the capacity of cross-disciplinary online collaborations to prepare students for the complexity of working in today’s interconnected, digital environment. The study presents the intricate curricular design of a cross-disciplinary collaboration project implemented by students and faculty at one European and two US universities. This multiyear project connects three university courses of different disciplines through virtual collaboration: Hungarian students in a business English course, students in Michigan preparing to engage in website building work, and students in Washington studying the field of accessible design. These three disparate disciplines are combined in a single project that integrates and applies discipline-specific knowledge acquired in each of the classes into a cross-disciplinary team assignments, where one team creates a website for the proposed business of another team with the help of accessibility advice from the third team. The analyses of student interactions from the third year of this ongoing collaboration and pre- and post-project surveys revealed that students demonstrated increased awareness of cross-disciplinary learning as well as improved effectiveness while collaborating to create cross-border solutions.

Practitioner Notes

  1. Online collaboration projects provide a rich environment for cross-disciplinary learning.
  2. Students and faculty connected by online collaboration projects can work towards the same goal while sharing their disciplinary knowledge with their collaborators.
  3. While participating in cross-disciplinary activities, students enrich their disciplinary know-how.