This thesis draws from current learning theories and pedagogical approaches to determine whether architectural education can benefit from online learning practices. The author examines the latest developments in the understanding of knowledge creation and how adopting new learning tools and practices impacts the learners, with particular focus in architectural studies.
How has the learning process evolved and what are the tools available for the production of knowledge? What is the profile of today’s learners? Has the role of teachers been affected? What happens when technology allows individuals to establish an online presence and seek the resources and information they need on their own and/or interact with other individuals? Could this development produce alternative educational models for architectural studies? And if so, what might these be? And what would be the consequences for those involved in the process?
Theoretical research covers three main areas; the first uncovers the complex landscape of the predominant learning theories -and to a certain degree-, the latest key shifts in the epistemology of knowledge. The second examines contemporary pedagogical approaches and monitors the changes in the perception of what constitutes a curriculum. The third area investigates traditional architectural education formats and how these have evolved over the years with the use of ICT technology. Finally, considering that the applied research involved mainly design studio courses, the theoretical research also monitors the changing nature of the relation between design and research.
Applied research was originally tested on a postgraduate urban research course. In the following years, however, it expanded to five urban design studios implemented both at postgraduate and undergraduate programs. Six different case studies are presented in total. The thesis describes the design of two basic course models based on blended and networked learning principles and their two subsequent variations introduced in the following years with the addition of new learning environments and networking tools.
A large part of the applied research examines the data retrieved from learning analytics and the systematic monitoring of the courses that describe the quantity and quality of learner attendance; the different taxonomies of interactivity between those involved in the learning process; the changes in the curriculum; the formal and informal activities that were developed; the multiple learning spaces the models accommodated and also the process of making meaning in this new setting.
The last section of the thesis presents the overall benefits of blended and networked learning in architectural education and how thinking in terms of open pedagogy can facilitate the design of design courses, culminating in the description of a new type of design course, hereby called Cooperative Studio.
This is a twofold graph I made up while working on my thesis to make sense of what I was reading and to handle receiving information as a consistent whole. On a first level, the graph represents the three main fields of my research: a. learning theories and the epistemology of knowledge (blue), b. contemporary pedagogy (green) and c. architectural education and design methodology (magenta). Each one of these fields manifests through a different set of entities, while the lines connecting them represent my interpretation on how i think they interrelate.
However, the graph also represents the most relevant entities to my applied research and the educational models I devised and experimented with in for the past five years. The thicker the lines, the more influential these entities have been to the models I made.
I meant this to be an open tool for use and reflection so, anyone interested can play with it and -why not?- change it. I made this graph on caccoo and I think that you can use it for free for up to 5 graphs. When you click on a term, you can also access to a short ppt file that describes it. So far these files have been elaborated in Greek, but in time I will translate and upload their English versions.
H. Chang: Stakeholder workshops as a pedagogy for experiential learning in collaborative planning education: An action research at the Department of Urban Planning, NCKU, Taiwan (photo credits: me)
This was perhaps one of the most interesting conferences I have ever attended. I followed the track of education since day 01 and I was amazed by the high levels of participation and engagement until the end. I met a lot of interesting people and I am very pleased to have worked with them, shared my thoughts with them and discussed with them on the future of urban planning education.
I was very excited to have been able to gain some relevance compared to what we have been doing, especially on transdisciplinary learning. The Round table on Friday was a great experience for me. I think that all of us present agreed on being advocates of collaborative practices, social inclusion and cultural empathy as basic prerequisites for co-creation in urban planning and planning education.
Round table brainstorming on the competencies of the future urban planners (photo credits: R. Rocco)
I am very pleased to see our article ‘Pedagogical 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
The paper contributes to the understanding of social learning in architectural education through the examination of online collaborative practices and the connectivist paradigm in particular. Urban research conducted by NTUA educators and PhD students was used to create the body of content for a postgraduate course that ran for two consecutive years. The course format was hybrid; beside the traditional in-class meetings, an online platform was used to share content and exchange information between teachers and students. Students also were requested to establish their personal blogs. Their interactivity was monitored and evaluated in regard to their submitted projects and their overall performance. The way individual learners appropriated the information and the way they collaborated in a learning community with shared goals opens up to another form of knowledge creation and sharing between individuals.
Keywords: learning community; interactivity; analytics; data contextualization; connectivity; learning patterns.