To enable students to navigate the “wicked” problems of the world, many universities have introduced integrative learning as a significant component of their general education programs. Despite recognition of the value of teaching students to make connections, apply, and synthesize information from multiple sources, relatively few studies exist that explore how students experience this form of thinking across the curriculum. The present study analyzes the open-ended responses to a student survey (n = 1,967) to gain insight into how students at a large, public research university perceive the integrative learning that takes place in their general education classes. Through the application of three methods of discourse analysis, our findings suggest that the majority of students were able to make connections across disciplines. By looking at the language they used to describe these connections, we were able to identify linkages between integrative learning, course attributes (such as size), and gender. Based on these linkages, we suggest potential new lines of inquiry and practice related to the development of a shared language for integrative learning and thinking.

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