Other UNSW

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  • (2007) Longbottom, Carol; Bell, Graham; Vrcelj, Zora; Attard, Mario; Hough, Richard
    Conference Paper
    This paper describes the development and implementation of two multi disciplinary design courses at UNSW, dubbed Project X and Project X2. The courses were originally proposed by the Organising Committee of the ConnectED 2007 Conference, as demonstration courses that might embody the spirit of the Conference. They have been coordinated by representatives from the three design-based faculties at UNSW: Faculty of the Built Environment (FBE), College of Fine Arts (COFA) and Faculty of Engineering (FOE). These faculties are also the host faculties for the Conference. Project X (the Scheme Design Course), ran as an intensive course for three weeks in February 2007. Students from the three Faculties worked together in teams to produce scheme designs against a brief set by the Conference Organising Committee as ‘client’ for the design. The scheme designs were evaluated first within the course and then by an external Project X Jury. The Jury selected the winning design which was then to be developed and constructed by multidisciplinary teams in Project X2 (the Fabrication and Construction Course). This course is currently running in a standard once-a-week mode in Session 1, 2007. Together, Project X and Project X2 celebrate both the design process and the design education process, and both in their multi-disciplinary dimension. The Project X cross-disciplinary mix, with Faculty of Engineering students working alongside students from the College of Fine Arts, and Faculty of the Built Environment students, is so rich it has been described as ‘cross-cultural’. Whether despite or because of this richness, evidence so far from surveys of students and staff indicates a successful outcome in terms of design education experience.

  • (2007) Vrcelj, Zora; Attard, Mario
    Conference Paper
    While the education of civil engineers is presently considered to be at the expected level, the engineering profession consistently points to the lack of integration of technical content in problem solving activities, and the inadequate communication and team-working skills of many graduates. Very often we all come across the students who know the content but can’t seem to apply it and the question that comes to mind is how to re-energise the learning experience for both ourselves and our students? Literature consistently points out that any form of group activity will result in a better quality of student learning when compared to traditional delivery methods (Fink, 2003). Students often point to the obvious inconsequence of much of the course material learned in early years to real engineering problems. Once real design projects are encountered in later years, much of this knowledge has been lost; the application is not obvious or it is considered too theoretical for practical applications. The motivation of students to learn and integrate scientific and technological concepts from early on in their academic career is one of the key objectives for the creation of Civil Engineering Design Studios at a number of universities worldwide, as uncovered by the first author during her recent visit to several Universitas 21 (U21) member institutions as a U21 Fellow. This paper presents some of the findings concerning the Design Studios in Civil Engineering education, as revealed during the Fellowship.

  • (2007) Loveday, Thomas
    Conference Paper
    This paper is about a studio design project for third year interior architecture students, which challenges notions of cultural identity through the milieu of politics. The studio project emerged from a recognition that traditions of interdisciplinarity, especially between the discipline of anthropology and architectural theory, have contributed to generally unreflective assumptions about the cultural identity of building designers and students. These assumptions make cross cultural design teaching problematic. Investigation led to the conclusion that through risky and new approaches to studio projects anesthetised interdisciplinary assumptions can be overcome. The paper focused mostly on the theoretical context for the studio rather than the processes or outcomes within the studio. In that sense, the paper is not so much educational as theoretical and so it sets the scene for the type of studio project described. The studio design project is based on the premise that the Communist Party of Australia, in order to remain financially viable, must adopt the same policy towards capitalism as other communist parties. In short, this means that the Communist Party of Australia will have to become involved in new open-ness, private property and, in short, a commercial venture. The premise is then that the Communist Party of Australia agrees that the only ethical possibility is a nightclub for the workers. This, of course is a western style club in which people go to enjoy each others’ company while listening to contemporary musical performances. To where would such a project lead? At first glance, it seems worrying that politics is being treated here as light-weight, careless and stylistic. But then the issues for design begin to emerge, as follow. The question of the role of political ideologies in everyday life emerges for each student as they move from one country to another. Countries vary considerably in their political social and economic balances. For example, the Australian Communist Party is little more than a private club for the alienated intellectual middle class. On the other hand, in countries such as China, Communism is a major and dominant feature of everyday life. The difference between countries is not only between nominal political systems, but is also between the significance of aesthetic expression in each country. The Communist Party of Australia’s aesthetics are alien to most Australians whereas in other countries, such as China, this is not so. Students in design, who have come from a range of cultural and political settings, have a vastly different view of what politics, especially the question of political ideology, is about. The project offers a way for those differences to become apparent without the trauma of direct ideological confrontation. This takes place within a special kind of harmonious discourse that might otherwise have been impossible. The design becomes a venue for discussion in a way that cannot be done in speech of writing. The source of ideas for each student’s design is their own experience. In this project, the question of each student’s background becomes significant. It is both enlivening for international students from communist countries to see that their experience is valuable for their design work in a western university, but it is also an interesting experience for local students to see that there are other forms of experience than their own, that are important sources of ideas for design. The success of this studio relies upon the establishment of a studio culture assembled from all students’ cultural backgrounds. As such the project is not only cross cultural but deals with the lived “reality” of those cultural differences, rather than seeing cultural difference through the “anthropological lens”, in which difference is treated as an “object of study before an omnipotent and omnipresent “subject”. Politics is a sensitive area precisely because it is important and lively. Providing a safe and enlivened way for this sensitive area to be discussed creates a truly cross cultural experience for design students. This is why politics or more precisely the culture of politics has been chosen as the milieu for this studio project. The paper is structured by briefly tracing the effect of anthropological lens in architecture and what to look for, followed by a short explanation of an example of the project from student work. The general method for the paper is “archeological” in the sense that philosopher Michel Foucault uses in The Order of Things.1 Argument is by association between ideas from which links and lineages are formed and new ideas exposed. At times this can seem irrational, especially where design is discussed. This is because, for the purposes of this paper and for design teaching, design is not a rational activity.

  • (2008) Wells, Andrew
    Conference Paper
    Issues in e-book developments are examined from three perspectives. First, the role and potential of e-books in the spectrum of scholarly content in electronic form is discussed. Librarians need to bring fresh thinking to e-books instead of treating them as surrogates of print versions. Second, issues facing e-book service development at the University of New South Wales Library are described in the context of use of electronic content in research and teaching. Finally, an account of consortial activities for licensing of e-books undertaken by the Council of Australian University Librarians Electronic Information Resources Committee (CEIRC) is given.

  • (2005) Russell, Carol; Lee, Adrian
    Conference Paper
    In this paper we describe an institutionally funded Fellowship running 2001– 2004, which seeded and cultivated new communities of practice in innovative teaching using educational technology. The literature identifies some inherent challenges in such schemes. The Fellowship was able to surface and deal with these through a team-based action research approach. Key features were the buying out of staff time for a semester and the development of discipline-based projects in a supported cross-disciplinary group. The Fellowship has been central to shifting systemic institutional blocks to educational innovation.

  • (2007) Chan, Leong; Parker, Wendy
    Conference Paper
    The experience of postgraduate research students has been evaluated and analysed in numerous surveys by the Australian government and by universities over the last eight years. This is spearheaded by the government’s expectation of the university sector’s responsibility in matching competitive federal funding of postgraduate fees with appropriate training to meet employer/industry needs. The exercise requires universities to address pertinent issues regarding the postgraduate research experience, in particular, research resources, supervision quality, ‘research culture’ and research training. This paper is a longitudinal study of a continuing scheme which addresses key aspects contributing to research training and a ‘research culture’ for the burgeoning Masters by research and PhD programmes in the School of Design Studies during 2002-2006. Responses from a university-wide exit survey of postgraduate research students in 2002 identified supervision, research skills and research culture as important factors contributing to positive experience. The survey results are significant for design studies where postgraduate research and experience in supervision are relatively new compared to engineering, science and social sciences. The scheme focuses on a series of seminars and workshops to address research training and research culture for a group of postgraduate students with diverse backgrounds and experience including Honours graduates and professionals who graduated from the university more than five years ago; practice-led and/or thesis-based research; local/international students; and fulltime/part-time modes. Results from student evaluations of the scheme demonstrate that responses to postgraduate research experiences have been satisfactory even though participation in the programme is optional. However, the scheme has resulted in an increasing level of student successes in grant applications for conference travel, acceptances of conference abstracts and papers, and confidence in thesis writing. The paper concludes by suggesting research training as one of the key contributors to a positive postgraduate experience and ‘research culture’ complemented by appropriate supervision.

  • (2007) Hough, Richard
    Conference Paper
    Some design firms develop their own internal educational programmes to strengthen employee skills in areas relevant to the firm’s plans and aspirations. International multidisciplinary design firm Arup has developed a programme of ‘design schools’ for younger staff, intended to strengthen the firm’s design culture. The schools are very broad in concept and execution, and based loosely on the traditional university ‘studio’ method of design teaching. This paper describes the programme, reviews available evidence regarding need and value, and considers possibilities for further study to develop the programme.

  • (2007) Pratley, Andrew; Whitty, Mark
    Conference Paper
    Work in the 21st century is vastly different from what it was as recently as 15 years ago, work is technological and multicultural, teams dominate the workplace and computers are ubiquitous (Landy & Conte, 2004). Internationally, skills shortages are being reported across both first world and developing economies (Woodridge, 2006). To combat this, a wide range of programs have been set up to cater for the needs of students interested in a career in design and engineering. These range from programs for individual students to international competitions with multimillion dollar budgets. The programs involve four distinct groups; schools, universities, professional bodies and industry. Due to the range of expectations among stakeholders, providing a measure of success is difficult. A model entitled ‘Pathways of engagement’ has been developed which proposes six distinct pathways of engagement between these groups. From this model, several hypotheses have been proposed from which analysis of the interaction of these groups can be undertaken and the effect of these interactions on the success of the programs noted. Comparison of this model with the work undertaken by the Great Engineering Challenge as well as a selection of existing and past programs is made.

  • (2007) Talbot, Jonathan
    Conference Paper
    Industrial Design education in Australia tends to promote a comprehensive view of the role of designers; commercially aware form-givers who can deal with the technical, material and production issues related to the implementation of their designs. The Design Studio experience is generally regarded as the central educational device which is used to expose students to the principles, practices and possibilities of designing. It is also seen as a venue for acquiring understandings of various concepts and disciplines related to the field, and learning to integrate these within designs. Collaborative and multidisciplinary activities are often used within the design studio to connect students with these contributing disciplines. While much has been written on the nature of the studio as an educational setting, this paper identifies some of the challenges in contemporary design studio teaching using examples from an Australian university context. One central aspect of these challenges is the manifold nature of learning outcomes intended to be gained through the studio experience. Each student is expected to develop a capacity to define and resolve design problems; to understand and internalise the discipline’s ways of operating and to appreciate and identify with (industrial) design as a discipline in its own right. In addition, each student has to develop some understanding of particular knowledge areas related to the design of products and systems; the social, cultural, technological, commercial and environmental where-with-all that is required in designing. Further, the studio typically seeks to foster the students’ ability to collaborate with other designers and other specialist disciplines in the corporate activity of designing, developing and distributing new products. The management of these different types of learning outcome is being affected by issues such as the changing technology used in design work, the bourgeoning complexity of products and systems (and services) being designed and the increasing sophistication of all the disciplines involved in product development and their own methods of inquiry and knowledge-building. This paper presents the view that contemporary industrial design is now a field of such breadth and complexity that the traditional undergraduate studio teaching model is unable to provide a comprehensive educational response.

  • (2007) Judd, Bruce; Baldry, Eileen; Corkery, Linda
    Conference Paper
    Addressing problems of highly disadvantaged public housing communities requires multi-faceted, multidisciplinary approaches to both the social and physical environment. Accordingly, over the last decade and a half Australian governments have developed a suite of community regeneration initiatives involving both social and physical design interventions. These also provide an opportunity for valuable learning experiences for university students to learn about the complex problems faced by disadvantaged communities and how design interventions need to work hand in hand with social initiatives to help improve quality of life. This paper outlines a unique 12 year partnership between schools of social work and built environment, a state housing department and public housing communities in inner Sydney. It outlines the background to the approaches used, the range of project types, participatory mechanisms, the educational benefits for both students and public housing tenants, and ethical issues in this collaborative community based learning. Its conclusions are supported by quantitative and qualitative evidence from a variety of sources during the life of the project.