AI, Ethics, and Geoethics (CS 5970)

Module 3: Enabling Interdisciplinary Research


  • Module presented by Dr. Imme Ebert-Uphoff, Colorado State University
  • This module should take 1 week to complete
  • The module involves a video and some reading as well as working in groups in class.  


At first glance, you may wonder why we are jumping away from AI & ethics but hopefully you will see quickly why we are doing this:  working in interdisciplinary teams is the wave of the future and we need to ensure both effective teamwork and that we can effectively communicate across teams.  Both AI & ethics are important topics within the field of AI but also for our applied work across disciplines. 

This module draws on strategies for enabling interdisciplinary collaborations, including interdisciplinary habits of the mind and uses insights from the science of team science.  The module is presented by Dr. Imme Ebert-Uphoff  of Colorado State University. 

Videos (Day 1)

Please watch the video before you do the readings.  The video is a recording made by Dr. Ebert-Uphoff specifically for this class.  It explains why the topics of interdisciplinary collaboration and science of team science are so important for AI & Ethics, then describes selected strategies for each.  

Video recording (44 minutes)

Note, if the link above doesn’t work, this YouTube link will work but it isn’t closed captioned except for auto-captioning.

Viewing options: 

  • Three viewing options at the top left – you can choose to watch with or without transcript on the side. 
  • In addition, once you started the video, there is a close caption (cc) button on the bottom right where you can turn captions within the video on and off. 
  • Apologies – because of my German accent the captions are less than perfect.
  • You can use the slide on the bottom to move to the corresponding part.

Feel free to view the 44 minutes in parts – when you come back you can use the slides on the bottom to navigate to where you left off or to refresh your memory.

OU students, don’t forget to do your canvas grading declaration on the video.  Today’s grading declaration is titled “Module 3: Interdisciplinary research video.”

Readings (Day 2)

After watching the video, let’s dig into the topics in more detail by reading the material below.  Many of them are just short blog posts.  Once you complete the reading, don’t forget the slack discussion at the end of this section.

Required reading

  •  Interdisciplinary habits of the mind
  • Leadership models

Length: 16 pages – large font – easy read

Optional reading

Slack discussion

 After you finish the video (day 1) and the readings above (day 2), go to the #general channel on slack and discuss the following.

  • What was the key point you took away from the video and readings on interdisciplinary research?
  • From your own experience, is there anything you want to add, e.g., strategies you have found helpful that were not mentioned?
  • Is there anything you disagree with?  For example, do you like the consensus model and think it’s realistic? Why or why not?  Are there situations where it works and situations where it might not?

OU students, don’t forget to do your canvas grading declaration on the readings and discussion.  Today’s declaration is titled “Module 3: Interdisciplinary research readings.”

Interview Assignment (Day 3)

Crossing disciplinary boundaries using the interview method described in the video above.


  1. Pick a partner in the class you don’t know very well.   It matters that you do not pick someone you know well!  This means the research students who work together already cannot choose to partner up for this assignment.  Use slack to find your parter.  Let Dr McGovern know if you have any issues finding a partner.   
  2. Your task is to interview the other person about their research (or some class project) topic for roughly 15 minutes.  It’s important that this is a topic you don’t know much about – if possible in a completely different discipline from your own.
  3. Write down what you understood, and send it back to the other person to give you feedback. 
  4. Go back and forth until you have a document (less than one page) that you both fully understand and fully agree on.  It can be at a very high level.  Now you have your boundary (crossing) object.
  5. Go through the entire process twice – once as interviewer and once as interviewee.
  6. Share your interview document on slack (use the #introductions channel again, it is part of learning who each other are!)
  7. Share on slack in #general what the process was like.  
    • What did it feel like as the interviewer?  
    • How about as the interviewee?   
    • Were you surprised about anything? 
    • Did you learn anything about crossing disciplinary boundaries?
    • What was easy?  What was hard?
  8. OU students: go to canvas and complete your grading declarations for this module.  Today’s grading declaration is titled “Module 3: Interviews”.