MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR CURRICULUM: MULTI-COURSE PROJECTS AND EXPANDED LEARNING OUTCOMES
Mississippi State University (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN12 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Conference name: 4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2012
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Interior Design an extremely broad professional field with a myriad of career opportunities. Interior Design educators are tasked with the arduous task of determining how best to meet the needs of our students in preparation for this career while also meeting the Professional Standards of the Council for Interior Design Accreditation. Balancing both of these goals with the fact that our curriculums are often limited by a finite number of college credit hours requires that educators and program directors to find new and innovative ways to pack a wide variety of experiences into a fixed time allotment.
Additionally, educators struggle with the appropriate depth and breadth of project experiences. School experiences by their nature are often in conflict with real world problems. Students cannot reasonably be expected to complete all of the work from programming to construction documents for a 30,000 square foot commercial office project in a month. However, many of our students may work on similar size and scope projects. Based on this set of constraints, educators must often review their projects and programs to determine that they are preparing students as much as possible for the real world of work.
There are several ways to deal with this issue. One way is to create longer time frames for projects. While this does allow a deeper study of some issues, in the example above, even a semester long course cannot meet the needs of an actual large scale project. A second option that one university has been implementing for several years is the multi-course project. In any one semester, students are in complimentary classes and parts of the projects are dealt with in these other forums, to extend the learning outcomes and create more complete project experiences.
Another benefit of this model is taking advantage of the experts within our department to guide the part of the project development particular to the professional practice expertise. For example, this process allows the lighting professor to help direct a project’s light and ceiling development, as part of a larger studio restaurant project. Rather than creating a similar project in the lighting class (that has had very little design development) students are already invested in the design project and have a better understanding of space in which to develop their ceiling and lighting solutions.
Because of the success of this solution, we have created several overlapping course study models. This presentation will discuss our current study models and answer questions about the technicalities of having multi-course projects, including a discussion of scheduling, grading and presenting projects.
This model has been employed for several years in our program and we are constantly looking for ways to make each project experience as relevant and engrossing as possible. We have found that the level of design thinking increases when students realize that this project overlaps into other courses, and allows them to immediately incorporate knowledge from multiple courses in the same semester.
Keywords: Curriculum development, project development.