The Comfort Pursuit

Blended learning for design communication studio

Photo by Sergey Zolkin on Unsplash

From next year I will be teaching Design Communication at JCU. This subject is a core subject in the new Major in Urban Environments and Landscape Design.

This is not a new subject for me, as this was the very first experience I had as a tutor in Brazil when I was still an undergrad student. Then I lectured the subject at UFT also in Brazil, and later on in New Zealand.

Despite all these years, the way it will be delivered this time is completely new and challenging to me. It is interesting to look back and think about those times when teaching perspective, sketching, and technical drawing were challenging. Then the day came when I’d have to teach all that in English, and I had to learn all the English professional jargon. Now this is a whole new layer, it is drawing, in English, and using technology, as the subject will be delivered both in Townsville and Cairns (347km apart) and I am the only lecturer/tutor.

To help the technology side of things, I applied for a Blended Learning and Innovation Grant (BLING) to buy equipment to make this distance learning design subject viable. I am going to make use of apps such as Doceri and Forge to use an iPad as a white board. Having it connected to a computer means that students in the other campus will be able to see drawings happening in realtime.

One of the most challenging things in this subject is to ‘see space’. To prepare a perspective it is necessary to learn first how to see, to understand how our eyes process what we see. This is probably one of the reasons why I haven’t yet seen architectural and urban design degrees being delivered as distance learning. And while this will be an exciting experiment, and I’d love to know about other degrees in the field that use distance learning resources. Anything to share?

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