Online Tools, Studio Tasks

Measuring orientation methods to online tools for design studio tasks.

Danielle Oprean, Dan Meehan & Kelleann Foster

September 28 to October 31

The convergence of design education with online learning has presented several challenges over the years including a multitude of software and hardware available that require time and effort to master. With the onset of online tools and better connectivity to a more digitally savvy student population, better experiences now seem possible. Despite these promises of a better experience though, there remains the question of training students to utilize the online environment effectively without impacting the context of learning.

As in a physical studio, students in the online environment must also learn to use the tools required for course assignments. The challenge in teaching students how to utilize an online tool set without impacting learning the process taught in the studio is a multi-faceted problem. As in a physical studio, online studio students all come with difference learning capacities, strengths and weaknesses. Secondly, the online environment does not provide the conveniences often found in the physical studio. Students cannot simply look to their left or right to see how their peers are utilizing the online tools. Therefore, online students oftentimes must learn to master online tools on their own with the help of external sources. It is from this perspective that we are conducting our study, to better understand the use of these external sources for orienting and training students to utilize online tools.

For our research pilot study, we are seeking to explore the impact of three different types of orientation to online tool on design task effectiveness. To do this pilot, we aim to provide a series of tasks and explore how individuals use each of the software to accomplish them through different forms of orientation to a specific online tool. Our three types include free (learning by doing), written tutorials, and short instructional videos. We hope that by providing three ways of orienting individuals, we can make a group-wise comparison to identify the most effective method. The results of this pilot study will be used to build into a larger set of studies being conducted on student cognition and overall task performance. The results of these studies will be used to help with the first offered online Geodesign studio in the Spring 2016 semester.