Beginning students at many design colleges learn fundamental design skills applicable to a wide variety of design disciplines. These fundamental skills must be transformative to the following years of discipline-specific studies on different scales from product to spatial volumes to topography. Ideally, the fundamental skills acquired during the beginning design courses are transformative for their future academic and career endeavors.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, instructors were required to teach students in an online environment. Despite the challenges of teaching students in studio courses online, it was imperative educators be prepared to instruct students toward a transformative learning experience in this new format of teaching.
The purpose of this study is to understand the experienced faculty members’ online teaching experiences for the beginning design studios, with an aim to improve the transformative learning during and after COVID. Focus group interviews were conducted with instructors who had taught the beginning design studio during “lockdown” at the authors’ university and taught at least one semester online, if not two semesters. The key topics discussed from the focus group interview results will be presented in the forthcoming paper and are the following: 1) the fundamental design skills necessary to succeed in the following years of their discipline specific studies, 2) how to integrate cutting-edge technologies and media into beginning design education, 3) as instructors, how to adapt and be flexible as student learning modes change, and 4) how to engage students in learning and discussion of social issues and “wicked” problems we encountered today.
Byungsoo Kim is an Assistant Professor at the College of Architecture, Planning and Design at Kansas State University in the Department of Interior Architecture and Industrial Design. Byungsoo’s research interests are user experience and usability study, Design Thinking, technology and design, Universal Design, and interdisciplinarity in design research. Byungsoo worked for General Motors and JLG Industry. He is a global design awards winner, including the GM Interactive Design Competition, iF Design Award, Red Dot Design Award, and other national and international awards.
Katrina Lewis is an Associate Professor at the College of Architecture, Planning and Design at Kansas State University in the Department of Interior Architecture and Industrial Design. Katrina’s scholarly interests are focused on teaching methodology, especially with beginning design students and international educational experiences. She was named the 2020 Commerce Bank and W.T. Kemper Foundation Undergraduate Outstanding Teaching Award recipient, which is K-State’s most prestigious undergraduate teaching award.