G.M. Alalade, E.O. Ibem, O.A. Alagbe

Covenant University (NIGERIA)
Facilitating students’ understanding of structural principles and consequently developing a better appreciation for the design potentials associated with structural optimization is critical to the architect’s education. Achieving this fundamental goal in architectural education appears more of a mirage than a reality. Assessing what is taught (curriculum) in structures and how it is taught (teaching approaches) therefore becomes imperative. This paper aimed at assessing the curriculum of structures of four selected universities in southwest, Nigeria with a view to improve learning outcomes among students of architecture. The qualitative data on curriculum was analyzed using content analysis that employs deductive use of theory by identifying themes and patterns. The Stufflebeam’s CIPP (Context, Input, Process and Product) model was used to evaluate the curriculum. The quantitative data on students’ grades were also analysed using descriptive statistics. The content and emphasis of the curriculum was found to be different across the four universities. The sequence of the curriculum was however, the same and more importantly identical to the classical traditional sequence, which though represents a logical progression of information, was isolated from the architectural design process. The learning outcomes indicated that the students were more structurally literate than structurally competent. These findings imply that for a better understanding of structural behaviour, there is a need for curriculum review with emphasis on a design studio-oriented approach and harmonization of the content of the curriculum in Nigerian universities. They also imply that the curriculum should place more emphasis on structural behaviour, which engenders structural competence than on structural analyses that promotes structural literacy among architecture graduates.