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EDUCATE: support the implementation of environmental sustainability as an integral part of architectural design education

EDUCATE partners are engaging with the implementation of a Pilot Study aimed at testing the pedagogical developments described within the ‘Framework for Curriculum Development’, available for download from http://www.educate-sustainability.eu/educate-framework.php
In order to support the implementation of environmental sustainability as an integral part of architectural design education, such developments have included the setting up of new module syllabuses and the utilisation of innovative educational methodologies and tools, such as those offered by the EDUCATE Portal.
The EDUCATE Portal has been designed as an interactive e-learning system centred around a comprehensive Knowledge Base, where the cognitive domains of Issues & Principles, Applications & Case Studies and Tools are extensively presented. Significant work is currently undergoing to develop and test the effectiveness of the facilities provided by the Portal in supporting teaching and learning in pre- and post-professional education. Given the novelty of the EDUCATE Portal, its structure has been developed so to incorporate considerable flexibility, allowing the system configuration to be adapted according to the pedagogical requirements of each participating institution.
Students enrolled in modules taking part to the Pilot Study are able to perform a number of functions on the Portal, including the possibility to interact with their peers and tutors. Students are primarily given access to the Knowledge Base, freely searching for contents or being directed via customised Reading Lists arranged by their tutors. A Discussion forum can be set up so that each group of users can share comments, posts, information, data, links, etc., with their fellow colleagues. If during the development of a project, students are unable to find a solution to a particular design problem, they can be given the possibility of browsing through a list of Frequently Asked Question or may decide to directly ask a question to a tutor, tagging their query with topics from the Knowledge Base chosen from drop-down menus. Questions can be accompanied by an annotated sketch to facilitate the answer by their tutor. The Portal also offers the possibility of managing design studios online. Students are in fact given the possibility to upload work for interim or final assessment during the course of a project and require feedback from a tutor or from their peers. The reviews of other students’ work may form part of a student’s final assessment. Finally, students may have an option to create an e-Portfolio of their finalized work, which can be available for public access.
EDUCATE partners are also collaborating with participating Chambers of Architects to set up customised Professional spaces, where practitioners can be given access to the Knowledge Base and eventually to CPD areas consisting of guided Reading Lists and dedicated Discussion forums. If agreed with professional bodies, during the Pilot Study practitioners may also be provided with a list of Frequently Asked Questions relevant to a specific topic, and engage with experts at participating institutions. Further information on the development and preliminary results of the Pilot Study will be given in following issues of EDUCATE News!
For more information about EDUCATE, please see the project website:
http://www.educate-sustainability.eu <http://www.educate-sustainability.eu/>

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