Faculty members Arens, Trudell and Osborn are transforming the three-quarter Architectural Technology Fundamentals sequence of courses to integrate the topics of site systems, energy systems and construction systems into a fluid curriculum and to provide a consistent, reliable base of knowledge and skills, which that have been most improved in the activity, where Learn by Doing thrives.
In the activity exercises, students learn through a three-step design-thinking based process: sketch, refine, reflect. The aim is to provide a supportive and inclusive learning experience and assign work that is meaningful and useful.
Arens, Trudell and Osborn have co-authored three peer-reviewed papers, presented at three venues, and have been awarded one grant. Their goal, along with a team of activity instructors, is to drive refinement of their teaching methods, assignments, exams and course resources to improve alignment with learning outcomes. This has led to more effective, deeper and more meaningful learning.
An example is documented in the “Testing is Teaching Too” paper. Because this is a large class, they had previously relied on machine-gradable exams. They realized this was a missed opportunity; exams should also be a Learn by Doing experience. They have transitioned to learning-focused vignette-style exams based in architectural critical thinking as demonstrated through drawing and writing.
The impact of this, coupled with improved access to licensing exams earlier in a student’s studies, could prepare students extremely well for success toward licensure.
Robert Arens, Associate Department Head and Professor (B.S. in Architecture, University of Michigan; Master of Architecture, University of Michigan)
Carmen Trudell, Associate Professor (Bachelor of Architecture, Cal Poly; M.S. in Advanced Architectural Design, Columbia University; M.S. in Built Ecologies, Center for Architecture Science and Ecology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute)
Brian Osborn, Assistant Professor (Bachelor of Landscape Architecture, Cal Poly; Master of Architecture, Pratt Institute)
Architecture Department, College of Architecture and Environmental Design