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Innovative Teaching Ideas - History and Theory

Design a Victorian Home: Relating the Design Process to a History of Interiors Class

The studio format is the mainstay of design teaching (Ankerson & Pable, 2008). Looking for ways to relate history to the studio and thus to professional practice, a group project was assigned to a history of interiors class to create a Victorian home. The Victorian period was selected as spanning many different styles and less familiar to students promoting research skills. The project replicated the studio culture with four phases covering programming, research, and precedent analysis; concept design; presentation drawings and materials boards; and final poster and verbal presentation. Four students were assigned to each group, balancing IDES and non-IDES majors. Groups could choose their character and select a location in London or New York. A house plan was provided focusing on the drawing room, dining room, and library. Time was allocated in class for critique. The final poster presentation provided an opportunity to practice verbal presentation skills.

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Design Philosphy, Process and Concept (1992)

Students examine design philosophies, the design process, and concept development of contemporary designers to identify ideas they can incorporate into their own emerging design philosophies and procedures they can use to identify appropriate design processes and concept development procedures for future design projects.

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Documentation of Historic Detail (1992)

This class assignment assists students in understanding how architectural/decorative details and forms are repeated throughout history, and their relationship to the current political, social and/or economic climate of the time. Students select an architectural or decorative detail that had its beginnings in one of the earliest documented art periods and trace the use of this element through history.

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Historical Columns (1992)

This is a collaborative team assignment allowing students to construct historic columns and gain a spatial understanding of their effect in a space.

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History Lookbook: A Visual Narrative of Interior Design Styles and Movements

This project invites students to translate the standard written historical narrative of a research essay, typically incorporated into undergraduate interior design history courses, into an annotated visual record. This project intends to help students broaden their understanding and application of design history by examining its concepts and ideologies through a visual medium in context to the past and present. At the completion of this semester-long project students are given a single compiled document, or LookBook, of all the historical design styles covered during the semester. The document is designed to function as a quick reference visual guide that students can refer to at anytime during their academic or professional careers. By collating the prominent components and characteristics of a style into a collection of images students can assimilate fundamental information regarding various styles through image association which allows them to easily access the historical information and confidentially apply it into a variety of projects.

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History Sketches (1992)

This teaching idea explores how drawing can be seamlessly included in a history course. The author suggests sketches furniture pieces on the board, discussing their detailing and proportions in the process.  The students copy the sketches and annotations to develop a better understanding of the evolution of furniture and architectural styles. Supporting materials include instructor process guidelines and student examples.

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Immersion Week: Beauty Is Only skin Deep and Partners In Design (1992)

This is a week-long learning opportunity for students and faculty that focuses on a topic or skill that is not covered in depth in the curriculum, promotes a real change in knowledge, skill or awareness that can not happen when exposure is fragmented, and brings students and faculty together in an atmosphere of shared learning. This week-long experience is held at the beginning of the semester.

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Movie Set Analysis Project (1992)

The analysis is intended to be presented in written format with illustrations.  Suggested movie titles are included.

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Post-Occupancy Evaluation (1992)

Students work as a team to conduct a hypothetical post-occupancy evaluation on an existing campus building. This class assignment introduces students to the process and purpose of post-occupancy evaluations, environmental research techniques, reporting skills, and group work. The assignment includes a safety checklist and criteria for evaluation.

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Promoting Awareness of Multicultural Diversity (1992)

This assignment is a semester-long term paper encouraging a better multi-cultural understanding through the development of a structured paper.  Evaluation guidelines are included.

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The Design of a Set of Tiles, a Textile or Wallcovering

Studio project encouraging the understanding and re-interpretation of historic details. Evaluation guidelines included

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