WSE 425/525 “Timber tectonics in the digital age” exposes students to integrated design practices, in which architects, engineers and fabricators are all engaged in the early design phases. In the actual practice, these different professional figures really learn from each other during the development of a project. Therefore, it is of paramount importance to avoid the Online Course Design Pitfall #5: Ignore the ways students learn from each other, and instead, support similar peer teaching & learning mechanisms in class.
In the past editions of this course, we used journals and blog which provided a concrete record of student’s growth and competency, and exposed students to the potential of the learned tools, also through the work of peers and professionals.
Key issue: we noticed that students were more inclined to follow a “sequential” collaborative approach, rather than a true “integration”. Because the projects were developed using a particular software platform, expertise with this software defined the leader of the design. In the preliminary steps, students with technical knowledge of timber, engineering or construction sometimes were less involved as their expertise was seen as coming later in the process.
My plan: Foster peer tutoring and collaboration by providing dedicated online and in class space for student-driven and student-led Q&A sessions, presentations, demonstrations and peer-review sessions.
Students familiar with the software will lead and moderate a “parametric modeling” Forum, helping less expert peers who are stuck on a model hurdle, pretty much as in a typical SW user forum.
In the past, student’s demonstrations, project presentations and peer-review happened late in the term; now I plan to engage students in these activities from the first weeks, thanks to the opportunity offered by the hybrid delivery to move most of the “instructor-provided” content online.