With the 21st century well underway, the way in which students receive education nowadays is vastly different from the pre-internet age.

Online Education

With the increasing trend of receiving education online, we thought it would be interesting to note that architecture is no exception. The Harvard School of Design, which is where our Chairman William Hames received his education, is now offering a free online course titled The Architectural Imagination. The Harvard School of Design was ranked seventh best among global architecture schools in 2017 and sits among America’s Ivy League.

But Harvard isn’t the only one tapping into the new age of education. A range of other universities such as ETH Zürich, the University of British Columbia and Tokyo Tech are all uploading Architectural courses on the free education platform, edX, which can be found here.

Topics range from Future Cities and Smart Cities to Historical Chinese Architecture and Modern Japanese Architecture.

University Campus

The phenomenon for education to be received online begs the question, what do students do when they attend a university campus?

The Hames Sharley Education, Science & Research Portfolio has been involved in a number of campus projects, most recently the Murdoch Link Building, and the University of Technology Sydney Broadway Campus.

These designs revolve around the new method of the student experience and tend to have several things in common including:

1. Encouraging collaboration

Many courses have adopted a method of teaching known as the ‘Flipped Classroom’. This requires students to familiarise themselves with the content before class via online resources so that the real-time lesson on campus can focus on problem-solving and interacting with peers and the teacher. Today, the university campus is not so much a place for content delivery, but a place in which the content can be explored in a practical and collaborative sense. Another way in which this is achieved is through the rise of breakout spaces, designed for students to collaborate in a comfortable, less formal setting.

2. Being dynamic

With collaboration in mind, spaces within a university need to be adaptable to different types of learning. Dynamic, interactive lecture theatres are the way of the future. Many lecture theatres have been fitted out with movable chairs so that students are able to break away and do group work once an idea has been presented. Teaching spaces should be adaptable to various configurations depending on the teaching conditions and the attendance of students.

3. Imagining all parts of the campus as a learning space

The library, the café, the lawn, the common room, the hallway and other places around campus all are used for exchanging knowledge.

Each of these settings is designed to promote learning and group dynamics, offering a variety of informal and formal spaces to suit differing work styles.

4. Taking a transdisciplinary approach

Nowadays, students of a certain faculty are not just segregated to one area of the campus. Sometimes, the architecture building is often fused with design practices such as art, town planning, interior design and others, encouraging a cross-pollination of ideas and allowing knowledge to flow through various disciplines. Some course structures have even migrated towards encouraging students to enrol units outside their area of study.

5. Making students feel comfortable

If students are to be encouraged to spend more time on campus, its design should aim to make students feel comfortable and feel a sense of belonging. Especially since students tend to spend a lot of time on campus during stressful periods. This element of comfort is sometimes achieved with the addition of furnitures such as couches and bean bags, sleeping pods, and other elements that provide ‘chill out’ spaces for students.

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