Theory and Practice of Spatial Planning | Number 3 | Year 2015 | ISSN 2350-3637
Architectural Education Online and In-Class Synergies: Reshaping the Course and the Learner
DOI 10.15292/IU-CG.2015.03.30-37 |
UDK 72.01:378 |
SUBMITTED: 06/2015 |
REVISED: 09/2015 |
Author's affiliation: School of Architecture, National Technical University of Athens - NTUA, Athens, Greece
Architectural courses have been traditionally planned in the context of a physical classroom where the direct rapport of the students with the instructor is an unswerving condition for learning. This model was formed, however, at a time when learning was not impacted by technology. Although digital media have infiltrated architectural practice, they still elude architectural design education. The author argues that the integration of online educational practices in architectural curricula can benefit design education immensely by raising interaction and making students assume responsibility for their learning.
To demonstrate the gains of online and in-class synergy in architectural education a blended course was set up at the postgraduate program of the National Technical University of Athens, School of Architecture. Current trends of online learning were carefully examined in regard to their compatibility with the architectural design culture of “learning by doing”. The course was eventually founded on the core principles of the connectivist model where learning consists of the ability to construct and traverse networks of connections (Downes, 2012). This approach was chosen because of its affinity to the design praxis where similarly students are required to make critical connections in order to map spatial phenomena and reconstruct the real. Course content was redesigned to comply with its new medium. Students were offered multiple channels of communication. They were also asked to contribute to the content material. Course data analysis demonstrated an unprecedented level of participation, exchange and student satisfaction as expressed in the surveys that followed the course’s completion.
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