Out of the lecture and into the studio: a new take on teaching design history

DS 76: Proceedings of E&PDE 2013, the 15th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education, Dublin, Ireland, 05-06.09.2013

Year: 2013
Editor: John Lawlor, Ger Reilly, Robert Simpson, Michael Ring, Ahmed Kovacevic, Mark McGrath, William Ion, David Tormey, Erik Bohemia, Chris McMahon, Brian Parkinson
Author: Howell, Bryan; Christensen, Kimberly
Series: E&PDE
Institution: Brigham Young University, United States of America
Section: Learning Spaces
Page(s): 838-843
ISBN: 978-1-904670-42-1


Studio-based instructional models have been a central landmark of architecture and design education for nearly 100 years. However, studio models are typically found only in courses teaching design skills or practices, while design history and theory remain trapped in traditional, lecture-based formats. These traditional history courses offer little opportunity for active engagement and often fail to communicate appreciable values for young practicing designers who struggle with an instructional format that is so markedly different􀀁and more passive􀀁than the majority of their studio-based courses. In this paper, we discuss the conversion of a traditional, lecture-based, design history course to a studio-based model, where students actively engage in researching designers and subsequently apply their newfound knowledge by creating class presentations and leading class discussions. We begin by defining studio-based instruction, contrast that with lecture-based approaches, and provide a rationale for changing the course’s instructional approach. We then outline the basic structure of the new studio-based course format, including multiple phases of research, presentation development and execution, and evaluation. Finally, we discuss how student engagement and the quality of learning has improved under the studio-based model􀀁as indicated by students’ course and instructor evaluation scores􀀁and reflect on the overall experience and future of the course.

Keywords: Design education, design history, studio-based instruction, lecture-based instruction


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