Context: Recent events across the world of academia have brought into full light the various agendas around online education and research. As universities, schools and colleges closed across the world in 2020, researchers, teachers and students scrambled to adapt to a whole host of new pedagogical tools, communicative techniques, learning methods and teaching styles almost overnight. Some survived, others thrived, while some struggled and ultimately went ‘out of business’.
For some disciplines, the transition was seamless, with lectures, tests and projects administered online with little or no change at all. Other disciplines writhed at having to forego the peer-to-peer learning environment of the classroom, the dynamic interaction of the design studio, or the personal contact of the open-ended seminar discussion. Skills-based courses such as model making lost their contact with ‘materiality’ while the physicality of lab experiments on materials or prototypes was totally lost.
Despite the ‘shock of the new’ all this represented, the debates around the virtual classroom, the online studio, the remote seminar, and distance education more generally, were far from new. Universities like Purdue Global in the US and the Open University in the UK had been operating this way for years. Experiments into how to teach design online had been happening for decades across the world, the evolution of remote educational interfaces had been evolving non-stop since the 1980s.
What then, is the “new present” for education in the discipline areas of this conference, and what will tomorrow hold?
The conference is thematically open and publishes works connected with key themes in:
Education | Teaching Practice | Theories of Learning | Educational Technologies | Pedagogy | Educational Psychology | Learning spaces
There is particular interest in cross-disciplinary approaches and, more specifically still, the initiative will set up platforms for researchers and teachers whose work connects to issues of life, design, representation and the quality of the built environment:
Art | Design | Architecture | Sustainability | Construction | Health | Sociology | Geography | Urban Economics | History | Media | Communications
Themes: This virtual conference welcomes presentations from researchers and teachers on how they operate in the ‘online classroom, studio or lab’ and how they function ‘in the field’ using the new technologies available to them.
It welcomes papers on:
Emergency remote responses to the ‘online switch’ produced by the Coronavirus; techniques for teaching traditionally ‘physical’ activities like prototyping online; technologies that facilitate real-time discussion on designed objects, buildings and places; the potential shifts in student demographics initiated by online education; how internationalization in the Higher Education sector will be affected by ‘place free’ universities; how place-focused disciplines such as geography and urban planning can respond to the ‘impossibility’ of place bound study; how do study tours get replaced by virtual tours in disciplines like art history… and more.