Research in teaching

RESEARCH-TEACHING

  • university research often detracts from the quality of teaching (Pocklington and Tupper 2002: 7)
  • courses taught by those at the cutting edge of research will necessarily be of higher quality than those taught by those merely using the research results of others – whatever the apparent quality of their style of delivery (Lee 2004: 9)
  • there is clear evidence from a range of studies in different types of institutions of students valuing learning in a research-based environment (Jenkins 2004: 29)
  • students are likely to gain most benefit from research, in terms of depth of learning and understanding, when they are also involved in research (Healey and Roberts 2004)

A range of terms is used in the literature, often interchangeably, to describe the research-teaching nexus. Griffiths (2004) suggests that a distinction might be made between teaching which is predominantly:

  • Research-led: where students learn about research findings, the curriculum content is dominated by staff research interests, and information transmission is the main teaching mode;
  • Research-oriented: where students learn about research processes, the curriculum emphasizes as much the processes by which knowledge is produced as learning knowledge that has been achieved, and staff try to engender a research ethos through their teaching;
  • Research-based: where students learn as researchers, the curriculum is largely designed around inquiry-based activities, and the division of roles between teacher and student is minimized
  • Research-tutored: top left quadrant, which, although not recognized by Griffiths (2004), is student-focused and emphasizes research content (see image above)

research is context specific and multidisciplinary rather than pure and discipline based; it has social relevance rather than being hypothesis led; it uses fuzzy, rather than empirically based data; it is problem solving rather than deductive. In what might be termed the commodification of knowledge, how knowledge is managed, synthesized and adapted become as important as knowledge itself (Jenkins and Zetter, 2003: 11)

 

References

Healey, M., 2005. Linking research and teaching: exploring disciplinary spaces and the role of inquiry-based learning. In Barnett, R (ed) (2005) Reshaping the University: New Relationships between Research, Scholarship and Teaching. McGraw Hill / Open University Press, pp.67-78

Image available here

Use of VLE for threshold concepts

DS AS LIMINAL SPACE

First Year students/ 30 students – one tutor/ Phase One

collage workshop – evaluation of learning through anonymous post-it notes:

  • what did you grasp today? what’s still a bit confusing? (if a student didn’t understand something, however small and seemingly inconsequential, it would be
    heard (anonymously) and acted on.)
  • whose work did you find successful? ( to remind students that whilst their drawings grow from personal values and engagement, they succumb to the viewers’ interpretations)

collage workshop – online summary from the session was prepared

  • The online space of the VLE with content structured in the form of a tutorial session served to allow students to repeatedly go over moments of uncertainty or trouble from the workshop.

The demands of project based learning are rigorous: the need to generate elements of work continuously (or fear falling behind) puts pressure on students to sidestep conceptually difficult elements by creating works that seem correct yet do not demonstrate a grasp of the underlying principles

First Year students/ 30 students – one tutor/ Phase Two

learning orthographic projection – evaluation of mistakes & omissions

  • double approach: hand design and CAD design of the same process_images looked right but were not right in both design environments

learning orthographic projection – online tools for tutoring

  • fifteen minute podcast and sample sketchbook as online handout

Removing activities from the scheduled studio sessions offers a strategy for responding to a stuffed curriculum and frees up time to focus on elements of transformative learning

 

References

Williams, J., 2014. The design studio as liminal space. In Charrette 1(1) Summer 2014.

Image available here 

The “Connected Curriculum”

CONNECTED CURRICULUM

UCL’s twenty-year vision and a wholesale commitment to changing programs of study/ its goal is to enable students to participate in research and inquiry throughout their education/ allows students to make connections both vertically across a program’s year groups and horizontally across disciplinary divides, even beyond the university setting/ research-based education aspires to widen the notion of what constitutes legitimate research and who has the authority to contribute to it.

The University is changing: new ways of knowing in order to thrive in a unknown future/ in the age of supercomplexity a new epistemology for the university awaits, one that is open, bold, engaging, accessible, and conscious of its own insecurity (Barnett)

SIX DIMENSIONS OF CONNECTIVITY

  • students are encouraged to connect with staff and learn about ongoing research
  • connected sequence of research activities throughout students’ programs (scaffolding)
  • research is inherently social/ students are encouraged to connect their learning across the subjects they are taking and with the wider world
  • students are encouraged to connect academic learning with workplace learning and develop a full range of professional attributes and skills
  • assessments: critical questions concerning their forms or types of skills they address
  • interpersonal connections between people from different disciplines, cultures and backgrounds

 

References

Carnell, B., 2017. Towards a connected curriculum in architectural education: research-based education in practice. In Charrette 4(1) Spring 2017, pp. 14-26

Image available here

 

Critical Reflections on Schön’s Reflective Practitioner by Helena Webster

 

REFLECTIVE PRACTITIONER

Schön’s failures:

  • there are other cognitive, affective and corporeal dimensions to learning that take place both within the studio and in other settings/ he produced notions of reflective practice at a time when there was a significant paradigm shift from “behavioral” and “cognitive” psychology to “humanist” and “situated” theories of learning.
  • students experience arch education as the sum of its explicit and hidden dimensions and it is this total experience that effects the development of students from novices to professional architects/ Schön confines his notion of student learning to formal pedagogic encounters
  • in his long explication of students’ encounters with design tutors suggests that the role of the design tutor is to ‘correct’ students’ designs, he fails to acknowledge that arch is a dynamic and contested field or the ramifications that this might have on the design tutorial interaction
  • Schön’s description of teaching is arguably akin to a teacher-centered model; described by the learning and teaching literature as a ‘transmission’ model of teaching/ Schön fails to recognise that Quist, as a representative of a particular institutional habitus, uses his power to direct Petra’s learning towards alignment with his normative habitus
  • the plausibility of temporal aspects of Schön’s concepts are also questionable: at what point does action become reflection-in-action and at what point does reflection-in-action stop and reflection-on-action start?

Today’s truths are constructed by cultural groups, Webster argues. There are struggles of power between the groups about the dominance of their particular truths. Architectural professional knowledge is constructed and contested both within and between groups. In this context presenting arch knowledge as unproblematic is odd.

 

References

Webster, H., 2008. Architectural Education after Schön: Cracks, Blurs, Boundaries and Beyond. In Journal for Education in the Built Environment, Vol. 3, Issue 2, December 2008 pp. 63-74 (12)

Image available here

Appreciative Inquiry

Appreciative Inquiry

Appreciative Inquiry (AI) was pioneered in the 1980s by David Cooperrider and Suresh Srivastva, two professors at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University (…) Its assumption is simple: Every human system has something that works right–things that give it life when it is vital, effective, and successful (..) AI begins by identifying this positive core and connecting to it in ways the heighten energy, sharpen vision, and inspire action for change (1)

 

AI is a fundamental shift in the overall perspective taken throughout the entire change process to ‘see’ the wholeness of the human system and to “inquire” into that system’s strengths, possibilities, and successes (2)

 

Positive Core: human systems grow in the direction of their persistent inquiries, and this propensity is strongest and most sustainable when the means and ends of inquiry are positively correlated (…) the future is consciously constructed upon the positive core strengths of the organization (…) Discovery: to identify and appreciate the best of “what is.” (…) Dream: to imagine and envision its future (…) Design: attention turns to creating the ideal organization in order to achieve its dream (…) Destiny:  delivers on the new images of the future and is sustained by nurturing a collective sense of purpose (…) Stakeholders are invited into an open-space planning and commitment session during this phase (3)

 

References

  1. The center for Appreciative Inquiry, available here 
  2. Stavros, J., Godwin, L., & Cooperrider, D., (2015). Appreciative Inquiry: Organization Development and the Strengths Revolution. In Practicing Organization Development: A guide to leading change and transformation (4th Edition), William Rothwell, Roland Sullivan, and Jacqueline Stavros (Eds). Wiley
  3. David Copperrider and Associates: What is Appreciative Inquiry?, full article available here

Image available here

Virtual Village ancestors and the concept of Design Correspondence

VDS

Three experiments on what became known as ‘design correspondence

01:1 991, The Samarkand competition gave an excuse for collaboration between two designers who lived far apart. The exchange involved correspondence via modem and included updated revisions of the project on a daily basis. Soon, they accumulated a large database that was hard to manage.

02: a joint workshop that lasted two weeks between 12 students of architecture who worked in a computerized design studio in Macintosh and UNIX environments connected by an Ethernet local are network. they were given joint areas later called “digital pin up boards” where they could edit and post notions about the common project. again there were difficulties in naming files, managing the resources etc.

03: 25 participants by two institutions far apart, Harvard University and the University of British Columbia. they utilized WAN. students were given the same problem, to design a pre-fabricated warehouse utilizing the technology of concrete tilt-up panels. the exercise lasted two weeks, week one participants downloaded reference material and developed designs for their elementary panel, week two they developed design models for the building. tutors acted as editors. final crit was realized via phone with speakers. review material was exchanged between universities so thatrecords were identical. the list of proposals was displayed on computer screens in both institutions simultaneously. this was the world’s first electronic jury.

 

References

Jerzy Wojtowicz, James N. Davidson and Takehiko Nagakura, 1995, Digital Pinup Board-The Story of the Virtual Village Project. In Virtual Design Studio (ed. Jerzy Wojtowicz), Hong Kong University Press, pp. 09-23

Image available here

ZARCH Publication now available!

cover_issue_188_es_ES

I am very pleased to see our articlePedagogical approaches to embodied topography: a workshop that unravels the hidden and imaginary landscapes of Elaionas,‘ get published in ZARCH Journal and I am also very happy to share this with you. It is based on a collaborative project that began in 2015 with Prof. Nelly Marda and Christos Kakalis from the University of Newcastle along with the students of our postgraduate course in NTUA.

The article highlights the importance of mapping in urban design and uses the concept of embodied topography to describe how activating the human body through a series of sensory motor tasks can help individuals immerse themselves in the landscape to acquire a better understanding of the urban phenomena. This process is presented here as a tool of mapping and managing the complexity of the urban landscape as it enables the individuals to recover the more hidden or even imaginary aspects of the city and their own relation to it.

As this is an ongoing research I hope that there will be plenty of opportunities to discuss what we are doing with more people involved in this kind of research in urban design. So, feel free to comment and write back your own experiences on the matter.

ZARCH: Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Architecture and Urbanism, Num. 8, image available here