TEACHING SENSE OF OWNERSHIP THROUGH DESIGN: A CASE STUDY OF DISCOVERY-BASED OUTCOMES IN STUDIO ENVIRONMENT

L. Trenkov

American University of Sharjah (UNITED ARAB EMIRATES)
How do you teach a sense of ownership and self-initiative to young students with limited life experience while accomplishing core educational goals? Many design programs are faced with this dilemma at the transition from second- to third-year studio - a project-based learning environment under the guidance of expert eyes. This study outlines a clear step-by-step method of cultivating sense of ownership and self-initiative in the context of studio learning.

During a one-semester period, students were asked to engage with an unfamiliar location within their reach and investigate its various social, cultural, historic, physical and other dimensions. The central tenet of this method is the absence of specific predetermined outcomes. The final product of their study is a summary creation conceived, shaped, and presented as a testament to the discoveries gained based on the students’ initiatives and self-investment.

The end results vary widely in scope, form, and conceptual boundaries, but all of them demonstrated a higher degree of maturity from the point of inception. None could be accomplished without their rigorous participation. By their own admission, the students said they had grown their initial apprehension of the new and unknown into an enlightening engagement with their world and its deeper understanding. Moreover, they were persuaded to show how their initiative and sense of ownership connect to their personal and professional application.

The process of creating discovery-based outcomes generates both infinite possibilities and contextually grounded creations. This case study outlines a distinct method to help develop a sense of ownership and self-initiative for young students, while still serving the objectives of a core design study.