Developing a Collaborative Multidisciplinary Online Design Course

August 4, 2005


Technology is transforming the practice of architecture and design from the conceptual stages right down to the actual construction. One would assume technology is being readily integrated into current design education. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The purpose of this study is to explore the integration of online education into the curriculum of architecture and design. The three primary obstacles to integrating technology with education in these disciplines are identified as: 1) the limited evidence of online education in the fields of architecture and design (Sagun, Demirkan, & Goktepe, 2001); 2) the reluctance of design educators to teach in an online environment (Bender & Good, 2003); and 3) the lack of multidisciplinary coursework currently available between architecture, design, and other related fields (IIDA Report, 1998). This paper will discuss online education in the context of traditional architecture and design studio instruction. A case study of the development of a collaborative, multidisciplinary online course offered between five major universities will be presented as a catalyst for change. The paper concludes with reflections on the pedagogical advantages and disadvantages of this new educational model and its implications for instructors involved in online education.

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