About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 3473-3482
Publication year: 2013
ISBN: 978-84-616-3847-5
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 6th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2013
Location: Seville, Spain

IN PRAISE OF MOOCS: CENTRED ON THE COURSE IN ARCHITECTURE & URBANISM AT THE AZRIELI SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE & URBANISM, “HOW ARCHITECTURE CAN SAVE YOUR LIFE (OR NOT!)” IS THE STORY OF A MOOC-TO-COME

R. Connah

Carleton University (CANADA)
Apparently The New York Times dubbed 2012 'The Year of the MOOC.' MOOCs have since become hot potatoes; one of the most well-known is edX, the MIT-Harvard collaboration. The scaremongering about these massive open online courses, and the customized education programs they suggest begun much earlier. However, this scaremongering has led, reasonably or not, to a fear that the elite universities and rock star professors will produce an ivy league for the mass student audience. This is not certain. Of course if funding follows then such courses can literally move in and take over smaller less funded universities. According to the Carleton University President Roseann Runte, “The campus experience will continue to be valued but will change. If students do a portion of their courses online, universities will need to look to strengthening the role of teachers as mentors in the old Oxford style.... Classrooms will be more interactive while fewer of them will be required.“ This paper asks and speculates whether it is possible to turn the tables and work within this development when coming from a smaller university like Carleton?

For example, both 'history' and ‘theory’ in architectural education is now being re-assessed in many institutes for the multiple readings offered and the various narratives available. When all this collides with social media and online technology it is also quite clear that even notions like history and theory are open to running redefinitions; critical histories, theory and criticality are themselves in flux. ARC1000 is an existing introductory first year open course on Architecture & Urbanism taught for the last four years by Professor James Vertigo (aka Professor Roger Connah) at the Azreili School of Architecture and Urbanism, Carleton University, Ottawa. It has progressed from an interactive index card lecture course delivered to about 120 students to a performance-based set of lecture-events delivered very much like stand up comedy: on the run, fast paced and often humorous. The students are architects, engineers, art historians, and others. In 3 hours it has to take on a room full of smartphones, ipads, tablets, pcs, macs and engage a wide variety of young students, mostly 17 or 18 years old; their very first university course. The scene – Fall 2014 - is now set for the larger format. The university, according to the President, is looking to increase sizes and income and respond to the economic climate. The MOOC may be one form of teaching to do this.

Of course we say that as if it is easy. It is not. In spite of the exaggeration and the hype surrounding this extension of the open university, suggesting a fall off in student concentration and an increase in superficiality, MOOCs could actually offer entirely new domains for study, and re-configure an education process that is struggling. How, for example, could such a course be scaled up to take 300-400 students in a live situation whilst also available online for active participation anywhere in the world. For this purpose we will explore how the course is re-named to “How Architecture Can Change your Life (or Not).” The interest in direct, self-help thinking, social media, immediacy and cognitive thinking will be turned into an intensive set of ‘teddy-boy’ talks; a humorous nod to ted talks. This paper will explore why and how this course might gain from becoming a MOOC.
@InProceedings{CONNAH2013INP,
author = {Connah, R.},
title = {IN PRAISE OF MOOCS: CENTRED ON THE COURSE IN ARCHITECTURE & URBANISM AT THE AZRIELI SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE & URBANISM, “HOW ARCHITECTURE CAN SAVE YOUR LIFE (OR NOT!)” IS THE STORY OF A MOOC-TO-COME},
series = {6th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2013 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-616-3847-5},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {18-20 November, 2013},
year = {2013},
pages = {3473-3482}}
TY - CONF
AU - R. Connah
TI - IN PRAISE OF MOOCS: CENTRED ON THE COURSE IN ARCHITECTURE & URBANISM AT THE AZRIELI SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE & URBANISM, “HOW ARCHITECTURE CAN SAVE YOUR LIFE (OR NOT!)” IS THE STORY OF A MOOC-TO-COME
SN - 978-84-616-3847-5/2340-1095
PY - 2013
Y1 - 18-20 November, 2013
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 6th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2013 Proceedings
SP - 3473
EP - 3482
ER -
R. Connah (2013) IN PRAISE OF MOOCS: CENTRED ON THE COURSE IN ARCHITECTURE & URBANISM AT THE AZRIELI SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE & URBANISM, “HOW ARCHITECTURE CAN SAVE YOUR LIFE (OR NOT!)” IS THE STORY OF A MOOC-TO-COME, ICERI2013 Proceedings, pp. 3473-3482.
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