HYBRID HISTORIES

Presented by: Christoph Korner

HYBRID HISTORIES The use of hybrid class structure in a Contemporary Interior Architecture History course at graduate level In a traditional interior history course, be it undergraduate or graduate level, we usually spend the time in class with lectures. Images of interior spaces, furniture and other related items are shown and explained. In addition some of the time in the classroom might be spend with group discussions of readings and the material presented. This results in two problems: Problem 1: Most of the class time in History courses is used for lectures, which is a passive mode of learning. Problem 2: Interiors have to be experienced. Images, text and stories are not sufficient, in order to understand the space in its full complexity. The combination of the physical experience of instructor and classmates in the classroom and the virtual experience of the interiors on the screen makes it hard for the students to develop a close understanding of the value of our work. This class uses a different mode of course delivery, the method and strategy of the hybrid class. In this approach 50% of the classes are replaced by online lectures, while 50% are fieldtrips, in order to experience actual spaces. Online lectures: the traditional lecture consists of a series of slides with a commentary by the instructor. In many cases students have to rush, in order to take notes and at the same time pay attention to the images. Trying to actually sketch some of them is a challenge. By transferring the lectures to an online site the students can look at them repeatedly at their own leisure. At the same time the structure of the lectures has been transformed into the format of a blog, a presentation of content that the generation of our students is very familiar with. Short introductory texts are provided and link together video clips from different sources. The videos can include lectures by various designers and critiques, as well as actual footage of the space, which allows to experience the project in motion. In addition, links are provided for readings, drawings and additional material. Material can be added as well, in order to provide an expanded context of the projects and its time. These can be longer documentaries or feature movies. Fieldtrips: The fieldtrip component allows the students to visit the actual interiors and experience them as a group, under the guidance of the instructor. At the beginning of the class the group meets and a short introduction is given, as well as assignments for sketching and diagramming. The majority of the time is spent moving through the space. The travel budget is of course limited; therefore the original masterpieces from the lecture component cannot be visited. Projects that are conceptually or aesthetically related can be used. Outcome: Similar to the use of the blog as the structure for lectures, also the deliverables in the class are done in the format of a blog. The students can comment on parts of the lecture, ask questions and either answer each other, or are being answered by the instructor. The students are required to leave comments about the readings. They can also access the comments by other students, which results in a discussion between them. Again, this is a format many students are very familiar with and results in interesting interactions. They start to work on an academic paper, without realizing it. Also the diagrams and sketches from the fieldtrip are uploaded and accessible for everyone. Here the instructor starts with comments on them, which are picked up by the students and begin a dialog about more successful ways to represent the projects. This inversion of the class structure allows for the actual physical experience of projects, while the virtual experience of the instructor and the group through blogs creates a new form of discussion and delivery of outcome. After the first year of this new concept of course delivery a survey was performed, allowi

References:

  • Caulfield, Jay. How to Design and Teach a Hybrid Course: Achieving Student-centered Learning through Blended Classroom, Online, and Experiential Activities. Sterling, VA: Stylus Pub., 2011. Print.
  • Garrison, D. R., and Norman D. Vaughan. Blended Learning in Higher Education: Framework, Principles, and Guidelines. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2008. Print.

 

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