About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 662-670
Publication year: 2018
ISBN: 978-84-09-02709-5
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2018.0253

Conference name: 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2018
Location: Palma, Spain

LEARNING THROUGH PRODUCTION. RESEARCH AS A PEDAGOGICAL TOOL IN ARCHITECTURAL THEORY AND HISTORY COURSES

L.M. Lus-Arana, L.C. Pérez-Moreno

Zaragoza University, School of Engineering and Architecture (SPAIN)
Traditionally, the teaching of Theory and History in architecture schools has consisted of lecture-based courses, sometimes paired with seminar sessions, where students read texts and discuss them with the professors. This is certainly an option for upper courses, and even in the earlier years, where students have not gained yet a basic knowledge of History of Architecture, discussion on theoretical texts may widen the scope of the students' learning. Practice, however, has also been absent from this course design. In the case of the University of Zaragoza, where obligatory courses must have an assignment of 6 ECTS, this has opened up the possibilities to rethink the teaching/ learning structure of History Courses, introducing a 50/50 division of theoretical and practical classes.

Composición Arquitectónica 1 (From Prehistory to the Middle Ages), taught to incoming students in the first semester of the first year has always faced, however, three different issues, being aimed at students that a) have no previous knowledge of architecture, b) have not developed the critical abilities -or cultural background- that would allow them to engage critically with theoretical texts, and c) lack basic skills on graphic representation needed to analyze architecture. Thus, the practical half of the course has been focused on developing those skills, asking students to study seminal works of the History of Architecture, which they first explain to the class -thus forcing them to do some previous research and reinforce their communication skills- and then reconstruct graphically through orthographic projections, axonometries, et al.

Initially, the selected case studies were well-known buildings or architectural complexes, either those explained in theory lectures or other examples that complemented those. However, as the course evolved in subsequent years, the subjects of analysis veered towards lesser known case studies. Therefore, students not only had to produce drawings they could not find exact models to copy from -thus forcing them to understand the architecture they draw- but also had to make sound hypothesis about the very morphology of those architectures, of which there is sometimes very little information available. Counter-intuitive as it may seem, this strategy, which forces students to develop deeper research and analytical skills has proved successful: faced with a lack of immediate information, students organize among themselves, share information, look for alternative research tools, develop an inquisitive gave when analyzing different data, and engage in an active exchange with the educators.

Moreover, often these assignments have the added interest of surpassing their role as learning exercises and become a means of production of knowledge, which also increases the students' involvement. For those interested, tutored assignments are developed throughout the second semester, when students learn CAD, producing documents that can later be used as educational material. This increases a feedback which is continuous throughout the course, since introducing these exercises on case studies that are lateral to the main lessons also challenges the professors, who keep being forced to expand their knowledge of the very subject they teach.
@InProceedings{LUSARANA2018LEA,
author = {Lus-Arana, L.M. and P{\'{e}}rez-Moreno, L.C.},
title = {LEARNING THROUGH PRODUCTION. RESEARCH AS A PEDAGOGICAL TOOL IN ARCHITECTURAL THEORY AND HISTORY COURSES},
series = {10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN18 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-09-02709-5},
issn = {2340-1117},
doi = {10.21125/edulearn.2018.0253},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/edulearn.2018.0253},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Palma, Spain},
month = {2-4 July, 2018},
year = {2018},
pages = {662-670}}
TY - CONF
AU - L.M. Lus-Arana AU - L.C. Pérez-Moreno
TI - LEARNING THROUGH PRODUCTION. RESEARCH AS A PEDAGOGICAL TOOL IN ARCHITECTURAL THEORY AND HISTORY COURSES
SN - 978-84-09-02709-5/2340-1117
DO - 10.21125/edulearn.2018.0253
PY - 2018
Y1 - 2-4 July, 2018
CI - Palma, Spain
JO - 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN18 Proceedings
SP - 662
EP - 670
ER -
L.M. Lus-Arana, L.C. Pérez-Moreno (2018) LEARNING THROUGH PRODUCTION. RESEARCH AS A PEDAGOGICAL TOOL IN ARCHITECTURAL THEORY AND HISTORY COURSES, EDULEARN18 Proceedings, pp. 662-670.
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