Design of sustainable buildings requires collaboration among multidisciplinary teams who are equipped with knowledge and skill sets including architecture, construction, and engineering among others. In this paper, we report on an experiment, collected data, and learning outcomes of a multidisciplinary project involving students from three classes — a cohost of cross-college and cross-campus students with background in architecture, construction, and engineering.

Emphasis of this study is placed on how student performance in applications of thermal/fluid science in the design of buildings at different climates was impacted by multidisciplinary team research, design, and collaborative activities. Students’ academic performance before and after the completion of projects in multidisciplinary teams were compared across multiple academic semesters. The study found that learning outcomes in a multidisciplinary environment can be enhanced in topic that are aligned with students’ background. However, the extent to which students’ performance can be improved by this approach, will depend on the discipline. Interpretation of multidisciplinary concepts from different perspective was one of the biggest challenges that the collaborative teams faced in our experiment.

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