In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, those who teach architectural design hastily ‘relocated’ architecture’s signature studio pedagogy into online formats. Academics worked from home with basic and often inadequate technology and support, facing internet connectivity issues and dealing with physical and social distance from students and their shared materials. In Australia, casual academics make up to 77% of the academic workforce. They are known as tutors in the design studio and include practicing architects and doctoral/masters’ students. Tutors are not ‘starchitects’ and do not have an extensive portfolio of projects unlike established architects who are hired as adjunct professors. Within the prevalent apprenticeship model of teaching and learning in architectural design education, tutors are seen as role models and their relationship with students undeniably encourages learning and engagement. This paper provides tutors’ perspectives on studio teaching in both face-to-face and synchronous online formats at five Australian universities. Research methods include observations of teaching in design studios, semi-structured interviews, and focus group discussions. Tutors in my study emphasize the importance of physical spaces and students’ shared materials to studio pedagogy which stresses learning by doing, alongside peers in design studios. Observations of tutors’ behaviors provides a baseline for understanding verbal, nonverbal and tacit behaviors of casual tutors in design studios. Interviews and focus group discussions help to understand tutors’ conceptions of design, designing, and studio teaching in both settings. My research speculates that tutors are primed to ‘relocate’ their teaching practices into online settings due to their readiness to improvise and ability to adjust their affective and pedagogical communications. Investigating the face-to-face and synchronous online interactions and communications of tutors helps to interrogate the apprenticeship model of teaching and learning. This paper discusses the opportunities and challenges that the ‘pandemic moment’ presents for architectural design education.
Aparna Datey is a higher education researcher and educator. Datey has a Master of Science in Architectural Studies (SMArchS) degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA (USA) and a Bachelor of Architecture from the School of Architecture, Center for Environmental Planning and Technology, Ahmedabad, (India). Datey has extensive experience as a practicing architect, academic advisor, and casual academic and expertise in studio- and research-based teaching, casual academics and studio pedagogy, and practice-based research. Datey’s research on studio teaching practices of practicing architect casual academics within institutional and pedagogical cultures emphasizes the complexity of individual work and practices, explores their conceptions of design, designing, and studio teaching, and their professional development and academic identity as university educators. Her study elaborates on reflection-in-action to provide a behavioral lens on studio teaching and highlights the importance of interactions, conversations, spaces, and shared materials in architectural design education. Datey’s research shows that the academic identity of casual academics as university educators is shaped through learning ‘on the job’ or on site in design studios which provides accessible discipline-specific professional development of casual academics to complement formal programs offered by universities.