Changing Track-Form Z to Sketch Up-rationale, tactics and outcomes, S Pietsch, S Shannon, J McCarthy

Tags: students, communication skills, design ideas, Student Evaluation, Annual Conference, skills, Likert scale, respondents, design, software problems, solid modelling, tool, Kalay, Sketch, design idea, sketch design, introductory design program, transition students, Science Association ANZAScA
Content: Changing track ­ Form Z to Sketch Up ­ rationale, tactics and outcomes
Susan M Pietsch, Susan Shannon and Joshua McCarthy The School of Architecture, landscape architecture and Urban Design The University of Adelaide, Australia This paper describes the conversion from a solid modelling computer-aided design program, Auto·des·sys's "FormZ", to a surface modelling computer-aided design program, @Last's "Sketch Up". FormZ had been employed for initiating first years into CAD for 15 years prior to the decision to switch to Sketch Up. It had been selected for its intuitive interface, internal rendering and animation capabilities. This paper describes the motivation to switch from FormZ as the design software of choice for first years, despite Yehuda Kalay, in Architecture's New Media, describing solid modelling as the "representation of choice...in architecture" (Kalay, p.146). It covers the selection of a suitable replacement program, the implications of using a surface modeller for designing, the creation/conversion of teaching resources and the process of familiarising teaching staff with the new software. Notably, the change has maintained the School's desire to immerse students early in 3D modelling while reducing some of the side effects that digital media can have on student's attention to the actual design idea. It concludes by reflecting upon the development of design skills and design sensibility in first year students, their evaluation of the efficacy of this program and whether Kalay's assertion is applicable to the early years of design education. Conference Theme: The Education of Future Architects Keywords: CAD, Sketch Up, active learning, design
1. INTRODUCTION 1.1 Objectives 3D Modelling provides students with the opportunity to design in representational style that most directly relates to the final result ­ a 3D object. Its strengths over traditional 2D representation are well documented (Kalay,p.133). The major drawback of this type of representation is that students are introduced to it late in their studies, at tertiary level, and are so less familiar and comfortable with it as a style of creative expression. This particularly affects professions such as architecture and landscape architecture that rely on visual expression for the development of design concepts and ideas. Thus the choice of tool to introduce students to this method of representation becomes critical in the success of developing 3D spatial awareness and that designing IS possible using a less abstract form of communication. For a school to choose one tool over another requires careful consideration of the school's approach to digital design, the affordances of the tool and its place in the overall development plan of student skills and knowledge. For the past 15 years the School of Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Urban Design at the University of Adelaide, Australia had chosen form·Z by auto·des·sys. After a recent review of the school's entire program it was decided to shift to a different tool for first year transition students for a number of reasons which are outlined in this paper. We used the terminology `transition students' to describe the students `in transition' from high school to undergraduate studies as they make up the majority of our first year intake. Firstly we review our original program and what led to the decision to change track on how we teach design to transition students. This is then followed by a detailed discussion and evaluation of the new track, from the practical perspective of how resources were created and staff trained as well as a reflection on the differences between the two tools. We then conclude by reviewing whether the new approach, undertaken for the first time in semester 1, 2006, has achieved our aim of increasing transition students' confidence in their developing design skills. 1.2 Background The school has been using the 3D solid modeller, form·Z by auto·des·sys, since the early 90s. It was integrated into our programs on many levels from design to construction, underpinning our emphasis on raising the 3D spatial awareness of our students. Long have we abandoned software training for its own sake, (van Merrienboer, J.J.G., 2000). This paper argues that:
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________
40th Annual Conference of the Architectural Science Association ANZAScA
302
A distinction is made between contributions concerned with task and Content Analysis, design and selection of instructional methods, and instructional message design. Three major trends indicate a shift in focus: · from narrow learning tasks for operating the software /per se/ to rich learning tasks for using the software in the context of meaningful task performance; · from methods that stress procedural descriptions and related exercises to methods that stress guided exploration and scaffolding and so aim at deep system understanding, and · from low-load presentation formats to formats that also evoke active processing and elaboration of presented information. These trends indicate the end of software training. It has grown up and is no longer fundamentally different from regular professional skills training. (van Merrienboer, J.J.G., 2000).
It is important and timely to publish this paper on more relevant software for first year design students. Following from Merrienboer's remarks we used digital `games' to explore issues related to architecture and landscape architecture as well as building skills in digital representation and presentation. At the heart of these games were form·Z models. The program was chosen to be the modeller of choice as it was considered to be better than comparable products in its time for its intuitive interface, sun study abilities, ease of object creation and efficient file size for result. The ability to create objects in a number of ways meant that complex models could be made without the drawback of having to follow a narrow procedure enabling flexibility for the budding designer in how they wanted to approach their digital designing. The integral rendering and animation components of form·Z also facilitated the creation of digital material that was impressive even at first year level.
Transition students attended one lecture a week and had one two hour workshop in the computer suites. Workshops focused on developing skill in the program and design using the above mentioned games, an example of which is available at http://www.arch.adelaide.edu.au/games/utzon_block_game/. Some games used pre-existing components; others required the creation of form. The first semester design course, Computer-aided design 1, focused on a form-making approach to design rather than conceptual. Form·Z supported this approach with many tools to create free form objects. This course was then followed by Composing Architecture and Landscapes 1 which moved the emphasis more strongly onto design, in particular design strategies within the same contact time format. Consequently transition students were given a full academic year immersed in design and 3D modelling.
Some of the positives of the form·Z program however worked against it when used with first year students. Its heavily moded interface, for example, while an advantage to the experienced user, left many new users confused. Having a large number of modes that affected the operation of the system meant that it was easy to accidentally set (or not set) modes correctly and thus not achieve the outcome expected. The impressive rendering capabilities of the software meant that some students became distracted with materiality and lighting effects which were well beyond what was required for a sketch design. Despite discussions of appropriate levels of detail, the ability to create superfluous detail and effects was too great a temptation resulting in image renderings that took many hours or days to finish. The tool offered too many inviting side distractions that resulted in less design exploration and idea generation. The student would then feel cheated that they had, in their perspective, spend many hours on a design to achieve a marginal result when in fact all the hours had actually been spent on the rendering not on designing.
As we were part of the joint Study Group for this program it often meant we were at the bleeding edge of the program's development. Each year we would report on our use of the program and issues that arose. From an early stage we were feeding back to the company that the number of bugs in the program had the effect of destroying student confidence in their instructors and the program. Program instability is a significant negative when developing design confidence in transition students. The need to gain mastery in a new medium while learning a new language, designing, often created an over emphasis on the medium. When that medium or rather the program exhibited unreliable behaviour, such as freezing or closing without warning, student confidence plummeted.
In 2005 it became apparent that form·Z had grown substantially in sophistication beyond what we required for an introductory design program. We needed a tool that could refocus students' attention onto design rather then becoming fixated with the tool and the 'eye-candy' renderings it could produce. We needed a simple tool that was directed at the concept and sketch design phase and this is where @last's, (now Google's) Sketch Up appeared to meet our requirements. We perused the relevant literature which revealed few studies comparing different design tools, other than software reviews. The only place we could find information of this kind was in blogs on SketchUp's website, (http://forum.sketchup.com/showthread.php?t=35423).
1.3 Changing track Sketch Up was chosen by the school as a replacement for form·Z, as the principle 3D modelling software program in first year for a number of reasons, but primarily because it is more suited to the conceptual nature of first year projects. As the name suggests the program concentrates on conceptual visualization ­ the initial stages of a design, which is where first year students should be aiming: concepts, design briefs, considering various design options. form·Z is a much more complex approach to modelling, is more time consuming and whilst it produces a far more polished, finalised piece this is possibly misleading for first year students where the focus should be firmly on developing communication skills in order to explicate design.
In conjunction with its sketch design approach, Sketch Up also has a wide range of support in the form of easy to follow manuals and workbooks, downloadable components and Internet tutorials. These tutorials in particular,
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________
40th Annual Conference of the Architectural Science Association ANZAScA
303
available to view freely from Sketch Up's website, are particularly valuable as it is possible to incorporate them into our curriculum. They cover most, if not all, of Sketch Up's tools and allow the workshop sessions to concentrate on design rather than just keyboard skilling. Students are made aware of their existence and know that if they have a technical problem they can run through these tutorials, at their own pace, to solve the problem. Form·Z does not feature such a powerful support network and as a result was much less suited to first year students, particularly first semester where students, most of whom are school leavers (65%) find the change from school to university a significant challenge. 1.4 Context: The Course Sketch Up was taught within a 6 point compulsory Level 1, Semester 1 course "Human Environments: Design and Representation". The aims of the course are stated in Course Outline: This course provides an introduction to the fundamentals of design with particular reference to the built environment including the relationships of climate/site, culture/history and technology, with the making of projects, and strategies for designing. The course engages students in active learning through research and project work, both individually and in collaboration with others, to translate ideas and concepts into form in a meaningful way. The course emphasises developing design communication skills; hand/manual and digital drawing, oral presentation with appropriate visual aids, and written communication (Shannon, 2006). The course objectives were instrumental and described the skills to be acquired ­ designing and representation skill sin manual and digital media. knowledge and understanding This course is designed to equip students with initial designing and representation skills in manual and digital media that will enable them to communicate designs of their own making. Communication Skills The continuing development of good inter-personal and communication skills is widely recognised as important for all graduates. This course specifically seeks to develop students' abilities to make individual oral presentations related both to work in progress and completed sketch designs. Students should be able to form and express criticism of their own work (Shannon, 2006). The six hours weekly contact time comprised Lectures (2); Design Workshops in the Computer Aided Design Suite (2) and Design Workshops in the Design Classroom (2). Sketch Up was introduced in Orientation week and students were also advised by email upon enrolment (online) to start investigating the Sketch Up online tutorials to be primed for the O-week Sketch Up preliminary familiarisation session .Two hour Workshop sessions were held three times a week enabling a flexible timetable. Some students completed their Workshop prior to Tutorial and one lecture, for other students the order was reversed. However, the ideal was to receive both the Lectures prior to undertaking the Workshop and Tutorial as the Lectures unpacked the theory for that week's Workshop and Tutorial. There were three design assignments ­ a Four Generation Retreat (handed in after 6 weeks); a Bird Hide at Banrock Station (handed in after 9 weeks) and an outdoor Sculpture Garden (handed in after 13 weeks). The Four Generation Retreat required students to design a small retreat for any one of four generations ­ teenagers, young couple, parents or retired. The assignment hand-in required was completely digital, demonstrating design skills communicated in Sketch Up and was handed into vGallery (Shannon, Roberts and Woodbury, 2001). An example is shown in Figure 2. Grade distribution is given in Figure 1. The Banrock Bird Hide hand in was a set of hand drawn orthographic projections accompanied by Sketch Up generated experiential views and sun studies. The medium for the final assignment hand-in the Outdoor Sculpture Park was less defined but the requirement to generate an accompanying 30-60 second animation as a promenade through the sculpture garden mandated the use of Sketch Up to create a site model. 2. METHOD 2.1 Creation and conversion of Teaching Resources The catalyst behind the move from Form·Z to Sketch Up as the principal 3D modelling package in first year was an intensive six-week Adelaide Summer Research Scholarship research workshop held during November and December 2005, involving five academic staff within the school and ten experienced and accomplished Design Studies students. The five academics included the course coordinator, digital media coordinator and three guest lecturers, while the ten students who would act as future studio demonstrators completed the workshop research team. The overarching goal of the research workshops were to compare Form·Z and @Last's "Sketch Up" as suitable interfaces for learning and design in first year. The key objectives of the workshop research program were a) to adequately train a group of teachers, consisting of both academics and students previously mentioned, to staff the digital workshops within Human Environments, and b) to devise a series of new digital `games' to be delivered within these sessions. The games are weekly, assessable exercises that introduce students to new tools in Sketch Up through design-oriented problems. The ten students involved in the Adelaide Summer Research Scholarship workshop spent the six weeks learning Sketch Up, experimenting with its compatibility with other software packages and devising new concepts for the workshop games. They were introduced to the software in a concentrated session at the start of the program from registered experts from the software suppliers, and also had training manuals, workbooks and web tutorials. Each week the academics met with the students to discuss their progress along with any new concepts they had developed for the workshop games.
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________
40th Annual Conference of the Architectural Science Association ANZAScA
304
In creating the new set of digital games for Human Environments it was important to firstly establish if any of the old games were compatible with either Sketch Up or the new direction the course was taking. Two existing exercises involving the study of the architectural languages of prominent architects Jorn Utzon and Frank Gehry, were maintained as they easily translated into Sketch Up and were central to the course objectives of Human Environments. Other exercises from CAD 1 were stripped down to their core theme and then transformed into new games. Such games involved topics including information hierarchy, materiality and terrain modelling. In conjunction with these refreshed topics, entirely new games were also introduced. In previous years in CAD 1 the first tutorial (now workshop in Human Environments) was a very basic introduction to Form·Z, where students were familiarized with the interface and elementary modelling skills. The two-hour session was not overly popular with students as there was no real sense of accomplishment at the end of it. Sketch Up's more intuitive nature allowed the opportunity to refresh this introductory session and create a more design-oriented game that would immediately introduce students to the world of architecture. Software packages, particularly CAD programs, can be quite overwhelming for beginning students and the idea of generating a 3D model of a building may appear somewhat out of reach. Bearing this in mind, it was felt that by creating such a model in the first week of the course, students would overcome this hurdle and progress much more quickly in both their design and communication skills. After much consideration and development this introductory session would see the students generate a 3D CAD model of Robert Venturi's Vanna Venturi House. The choice of Venturi gave students the opportunity to study the works of a Pritzker Prize winning architect, and introduced them to the concept of architectural language and precedent. Students were led by the digital media coordinator during the session and followed a step-by-step process to create the model. Students were assisted by a studio tutor and studio demonstrators and were encouraged to further develop the model alongside their fledgling Sketch Up skills over the course of the following week. Other workshop games that were developed during the summer scholarship program included a Four Generation Retreat, where students were required to produce concept designs for four different clients and study how the different clients' briefs altered their approach to the design. This game also led into the first assignment in Human Environments (Figures 1 and 2) where students were asked to further develop one of their concepts. Due to Sketch Up's intuitive nature we were also able to introduce topics such as materiality and animation during first semester, both of which were held back until second semester in previous years, due to their complexity within FormZ. The incorporation of animation in the course was the driving force behind the third assignment, the design of a Sculpture Garden, as it allowed students to explore the concepts of movement and experience, through digital representation. The ability to produce fast and accurate sun studies in Sketch Up also enhanced assignment two, the design of a Bird hide at Banrock Station, the only assignment retained from 2005. 2.2 Running on a new track The digital workshops often required students to research topics and complete work outside of course contact hours. The assessment criteria for each exercise covered three key areas ­ technical ability, design quality and reflection. Firstly, it was important that students learnt and retained the technical skills presented during the workshops. Technical processes were presented in front of the class, of around 40 students, on a projector by the lead tutor. These `instruction' periods would generally last for around 25 minutes and were followed by one-on-one help in a studio environment. If the instruction period was more complex it was broken down into two, or even three, sections over the two-hour session. Secondly students had to demonstrate a strong design quality in their work alongside technical ability. This was assessed through the students' responses to specific design problems, for example spatial arrangements in a small dwelling or sun analysis for a bird hide, as well as their understanding and implementation of specific design philosophies, such as an architectural language or ordering principles. Thirdly reflection was assessed through the students' 200-word statements which included feedback on the exercise, their personal understanding of any introduced design principles, and any problems they faced during the course of the week. This weekly feedback allowed an ongoing assessment of the workshops over the semester, making it possible to immediately address any serious issues. The feedback provided by the students each week proved to be extremely useful. The initial process regarding the workshops was as follows: once the students had submitted their work (online to a virtual gallery, vGallery) Author 3 read through their responses and extracted any prevalent topics, for example a general inability to perform a technical task in Sketch Up. With this information in hand a group discussion would be initiated at the beginning of the following workshop with the students (around 40 in total who attended the Workshop). While these issues were addressed within the class and either a response or a solution provided, depending on the issue, many students were unwilling to verbally communicate their concerns, in front of such a large group. Bearing this in mind, a different approach will be trialled next year, firstly addressing the cohort as a whole and then breaking the students down into groups of 5 to 7 for detailed discussion of issues. Generally the weekly feedback from the students was positive, particularly from two students who failed the corresponding course in the previous year, when Form·Z was in use. Both students commented repeatedly on the ease with which they were able to communicate their design ideas in Sketch Up as opposed to Form·Z. Their positive comments ranged from topics such as Sketch Up's interface to the simplicity of its approach to modelling, as one noted, "simply the way in which we create objects is so much easier." 3. RESULTS 3.1 Evaluation through Assessment Evaluation of students' competence and confidence with Sketch Up was sought ­ the former through assessmant submissions and the latter through Student Evaluation of learning and teacing (SELT). Figure 1 shows the grade
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________
40th Annual Conference of the Architectural Science Association ANZAScA
305
distribution for students' Four Generation Retreat submission in Week 6. Of 101 students who submitted assessable work (on time to the vGallery) 11% (11 students) failed. Whilst we are not happy that anyone failed, the competence with Sketch Up exhibited by the majority of students is admirable after only 6 weeks of immersive instruction. Tim Hastwell's distinctive submission is displayed in Figure 2 as an example of competent communication. The criteria based assessment focused on Formmaking, Relationship with the site, Functionality for users, Representation skills and the Number and qulity of design ideas incorporated in equal measure - but as the design ideas were all communicated using newly developed Sketch Up skills, competence in Sketch Up underpinned students' success. Human Environments: Assignment #1 (Four-Generation Retreat) Grade Distribution
100% 80% 60% 40% 20% 0%
5.0% HD
16.8% D
35.6% C
31.7% P
10.9% F
Figure 1: Grade Distribution for Assignment #1 in Human Environments, submitted in week six.
Figure 2: Tim Hastwell Images. Four Generation Retreat, Week 6 (used with student's permission).
3.2 Student Evaluation of Learning and Teaching Students participated in pre Course online questionnaire with questions based on a selection the School has used for many years to ascertain the base level of communication skills for beginning students. For the second time in 2006, this Questionnaire was delivered online through vGallery (Shannon, Roberts and Woodbury, 2001) to all commencing students. Response rate was 71/105 = 68 % which is acceptable for an online surveying technique (Dillman, 2000).
Question 5. How familiar are you with using a PC (personal computer)? 14. How familiar are you with object-oriented drawing programs (like Canvas, CorelDRAW?) 15. How familiar are you with other programs for creating 2D drawings?
Table 1a: Pre Course Student Evaluation
Mean
No and % of
7 point Likert scale
respondents who
where 1= never used it scored 5-7 on Likert
and 7 = thoroughly
scale
familiar
4.80
48 (68%)
1.76
4 (6%)
1.50
7 (10%)
No and % of respondents who scored 2-7 on Likert scale [showing some familiarity] 71 (71/71 = 100%) 32 (32/71 = 45%) 27 (27/71 = 38%)
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________
40th Annual Conference of the Architectural Science Association ANZAScA
306
Question 17. How familiar are you with SketchUp? 19. How familiar are you with autoCAD? 20. How familiar are you with archiCAD? 21. How familiar are you with other computer-aided design (CAD) programs?
Table 1b: Pre Course Student Evaluation
Mean
No and % of
7 point Likert scale
respondents who
where 1= never used it scored 5-7 on Likert
and 7 = thoroughly
scale
familiar
1.30
1(1%)
0.96
0 (0%)
0.20
0 (0%)
0.60
0 (0%)
No and % of respondents who scored 2-7 on Likert scale [showing some familiarity] 24 (24/71 = 34%) 16 (16/71 = 23%) 4 (4/71 = 6%) 9 (9/71 = 13%)
Post Course evaluations were conducted as anonymous Student Evaluation of Learning and Teaching (SELT) Course evaluations and analysed and reported centrally by the Centre for Learning and professional development. The post course SELT focused on understanding students' confidence with their new digital learning environment and their self statements about their confidence with digital modelling and designing. The questions were asked in Week 12 at the conclusion of the course. Response rate was 81% where there were 105 eligible students and 85 completed questionnaires (note, not every student completed every question). Table 2, following, describes the Mean on a 7 point Likert scale where 1= strongly disagree and 7 = strongly agree. The total number and percentage of respondents to each question who agreed with the statement and scored positively (Likert 5-7) are then given.
Table 2: Post Course Student Evaluation
Question
Mean
Overall Response rate 85/105 = 7 point Likert scale where 1= strongly
81%
disagree and 7 = strongly agree
I feel confident about my Sketch
5.60
Up communication skills.
Sketch Up was easy to learn.
5.60
I feel confident about learning
5.70
new graphics packages as a
result of learning Sketch Up.
My ability to represent a building
5.60
with Sketch Up is good.
I need a lot of help with Sketch
3.10
Up in every Workshop.
I feel confident about my
5.40
sketching (diagrams and field
sketching) skills.
I feel confident about my
5.30
orthographic projection skills
I feel confident about my
5.60
designing skills.
No and % of respondents who scored 5-7 on Likert scale 70 (70/79 = 89 %) 68 (68/80 = 85%) 70 (70/80 = 88%) 68 (68/79 = 86%) 20 (20/80 = 25%) 65 (65/80 = 81%) 64 (64/80 = 80%) 73 (73/79 = 92%)
3.3 Sketch Up Feedback We sought feedback from all staff involved in the instruction of Sketch Up. This included feedback from 7 immediate staff members to a series of co-constructed questions to determine the views of teachers about students learning Sketch Up.
Table 3: Teachers' views of students' learning Post Course
# Question on 7 Point Likert scale where 1= not successful at all and 7=
Mean and (no of Likert
extremely successful
responses Scale 5-7)
1 How successful is Sketch Up as a tool for beginning students for
getting what's in their mind down onto paper (aka the screen) as a preliminary
a. design idea
5.71 (7/7)
b. generating lots of alternative design ideas (formal idea generation)
4.71 (5/7)
c. Presentation of design ideas at a work in progress state for discussion over
5.71 (5/7)
the screen
d. Presentation of design ideas for formal assessment purposes
6.0 (7/7)
2. How successful were the Workshop topics as a device to sequentially lead
5.71 (7/7)
students through Sketch Up skills acquisition?
3.4 Student Evaluations The pre Course evaluations show that all students have used a personal computer with 68% very or thoroughly familiar with a PC. Very small numbers (6 and 10%) are familar, very familiar or thoroughly familiar with object oriented drawing programs and other programs for creating 2D drawings, although larger numbers have some
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________
40th Annual Conference of the Architectural Science Association ANZAScA
307
familiarity with these tools. Students revealed that they do not possess familiarity with architectural graphics packages Sketch Up (1%) and autoCAD, archiCAD and other CAD programs (0%) although a pleasing number (34%) have sampled Sketch Up before Semester commences. After 12 weeks of structured Sketch Up workshops 89% of students have revealed that they have attained confidence with Sketch Up (89% scored 5-7 on Likert Scale) and 85% thought Sketch Up was easy to learn. These are very encouraging results about acquiring skills in a graphics package ­ and 88% of students feel confident about learning new graphics packages as a result of learning Sketch Up. This augurs well for Semester 2 when they learn AutoCAD, with which none of them are familiar. Whilst 25% of students say that they need a lot of help with Sketch Up at every Workshop, clearly many of these students nevertheless feel that they receive this supportive help which allows them to declare that they are confident with their Sketch Up skills notwithstanding. Students were asked about their ability to represent a building with Sketch Up ­ as this is the principal reason for teaching Sketch Up or any graphics package. Eighty six percent of students agree that they have a good, very good or excellent ability to represent a building with Sketch Up. Looking at Designing skills, 92% of the class feel confident, very confident or extremely confident with their designing skills ­ and this is very encouraging too. Sketch up, along with the simultaneously taught manual sketching and orthographic projection skills are a means to this end ­ acquiring confidence with designing, representing and communicating a design of their own making. In their open ended answers, students were asked about their learning in the course "Human Environments: Design and Representation" in which the Sketch Up instruction took place. There were very few open-ended responses relating to Sketch Up and the Design Workshops at all. Some students commented about learning Sketch Up in the Question 30 "This course could be changed in the following ways to improve my learning" where we may be apprised of their concerns about learning Sketch Up. We have repeated all the Workshop and Sketch Up related comments to indicate just how little concern students felt about learning Sketch Up, and that generally students who commented wanted more CAD instruction, more slowly, although 2 students also asked for an industry standard program (they do autoCAD in Semester 2) and one for less focus on computing and more on alternative means of communication. - Sketch Up should assist design skill development rather than using design to assist Sketch Up development. I think design Skills Development therefore became subservient; - The Workshop classes could be smaller or the microphone turned louder so that it is easier to hear; - Increased understanding of Sketch Up details - Use an industry CAD program - There is too much emphasis on the computer aspect, which is hard for students who struggle with it. Every single assignment required the generation of a sketch Up model; it might be good to have one that was manual - Clearer explanations while using Sketch Up - More Workshops - More CAD - Go slower in CAD Workshops ­ some people have trouble keeping up - Using an industry standard CAD program ­ or at least discussing them - More computer work - More workshops concentrated on skills that will be used directly in your assignments 3.5 teacher evaluations Two very experienced University teachers and five inexperienced first time demonstrators who had undertaken a six week Summer Scholarship to develop their Sketch Up skills taught in the structured Sketch Up Workshop sessions. All thought that the Workshop topics were a successful, very successful or extremely successful device for sequentially leading students through Sketch Up skills acquisition. All thought that Sketch Up was successful, very successful or extremely successful as a tool for beginning students for getting what's in their mind down onto paper (aka the screen) as a preliminary design idea. Similarly they all thought it was a successful, very successful or extremely successful as a tool for beginning students for presentation of design ideas for formal assessment purposes. Two teachers disagreed that Sketch Up was successful for generating lots of alternative design ideas (formal idea generation). One teacher, scoring 2/7, observed that "once the students have modelled their design they are less inclined to generate alternative ideas simply due to the time taken to initially model. I didn't really see much formal idea generation. Maybe we should have included a manual drawing tute on loose sketching and thumbnail sketches for generating lots of alternative design ideas". The other teacher, scoring 4 (neither successful nor unsuccessful) observed that "Sketch Up does limit the complexity of a design". Two teachers believed Sketch Up was neither successful nor unsuccessful for presentation of design ideas at a work in progress state for discussion over the screen. Both thought Sketch Up per se was neither successful nor unsuccessful ­ one thinking that students would benefit more from keeping images of "CAD models in the work in progress stages" [independent of the modelling program] and making "reference to how [your] their design has progressed and why [you] they have made certain decisions about [your] their design. The other said that "most students were happy to discuss their Sketch Up images as works in progress BUT with many sketches at hand to further aid them. The students basically saw the Sketch Up programme as a presentation tool designing on paper
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________
40th Annual Conference of the Architectural Science Association ANZAScA
308
first and then transferring the information at the end of the project ­ and this was very evident in the final submission of the Sculpture Park." In their open ended responses to the Question: What problems did students encounter learning Sketch Up?" teachers revealed that they were generally very positive about Sketch Up with a few exceptions: - compared to Form Z, particularly in 2005, very few - Sketch Up is much more intuitive, has far fewer bugs / software problems and is much more accessible (free download, online tutorials etc). Sketch Up's modelling capabilities aren't as sophisticated as Form Z ­ however they are sufficient to achieve our goals in first semester, first year. - Artificial lighting - When objects don't form such as faces don't connect, this is a Sketch Up dilemma. Trial and error used frequently. Though it is easy to understand how to follow an axis or use midpoints, endpoints and so forth, sometimes it can be an agitation waiting for that operation to activate. - Most commonly it was students not previously experienced with digital media for getting their ideas out; therefore I believe it was actually students relying on the program to generate their ideas for them rather than themselves sketching on paper to better understand what their ideas are. - I don't have any negatives about the session as week to week, they were perfect and most questions were answered immediately and understood by the students. I think that Josh's step by step procedures at the start of each lesson was very valuable to the learning of each of the students. On a few small cases the students that had problems following Josh were ones that showed up late and left early weekly. Overall students and teachers agree that Sketch Up is a suitable graphics program for commencing students with little prior Computer Graphics background. The majority of students agree that they are now confident users and that they also have confidence in learning new graphics packages as a result of learning Sketch Up. The majority of students say that their ability to represent a building with Sketch Up is good, and the highest number of respondents (92%) say that they are confident with their designing skills. Whilst it cannot be said that Sketch Up created this confidence ­ clearly Sketch Up did not suppress it either. In regards to Kalay's assertion that solid modelling is the "representation of choice...in architecture...for visualisation" (Kalay, p.146), it cannot be substantiated that for transition students that this statement holds. The advantages gained using a simpler surface modeller included a greater focus on design rather than the complexities of the tool, less time lost rendering realistic but superfluous detail and less stress experienced with software failure. This course illustrated to us that the hybrid approach, paper and digital, is still the most comfortable for transition students. 4. CONCLUSION The tool is only one part of the overall strategy for teaching design to transition students. In this paper we have outlined how we have `wrapped' the tool around the design exercises and skill development, rather than making the tool the focus. In developing material for using digital means in design, the tool must be kept in its place behind developing design skills. Approaches which emphasis the tool fail to illustrate to students how design and digital representation are complementary in exploring ideas. The lack of familiarity with digital expression, as highlighted by comments earlier in regards to design exploration, is perhaps the most challenging of areas to overcome. The expectation that this familiarity with 3D modelling will increase with each new intake has not yet been realised. This requires recognition that transition students will still carry a digital naivety in respect to 3D expression for some time. The decision to change the tool of choice for 3D modelling and design was not one taken lightly. It required a significant amount of work in changing and updating resources, training staff and developing new material that took into account the differences in using a surface modeller. Overall we consider it to be a success at addressing the issues that the use of form·Z raised for beginning designers. Areas of further development for next year include strategies for increasing idea generation and greater integration of paper and digital so it is not seen as one OR the other but both methods informing the designer in the creation and development of an idea. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Professor Robert Woodbury, now at Simon Fraser University, Canada, led the introduction of Form·Z in the School of Architecture, Landscape Architecure and Urban Design from 1990. Ian W Roberts mounted the online questionnaire about students' familiarity with IT and analysed and reported the results in Tables 1a and 1b. The University of Adelaide provided, through the Faculty of the Professions, ten Adelaide Summer Research Scholarships to the research project which were half funded by the School of Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Urban Design. REFERENCES Dillman, Don A., (2000) Mail and internet surveys: the tailored design method, New York: Wiley 2nd edition. Shannon, Susan J, Roberts, Ian W, and Woodbury, Robert F (2001) vGallery scaffolding reflection in action for students & teachers In G. Kennedy, M. Keppell, C. McNaught & T. Petrovic (Eds.), Meeting at the Crossroads. Short Paper Proceedings of the 18th Annual Conference of the Australian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education. (pp.141-144 ). Melbourne: Biomedical Multimedia Unit, The University of Melbourne. Kalay, Yehuda E., (2004) Architecture's new media: principles, theories, and methods of computer-aided design, Cambridge, MAss. : MIT Press. van Merrienboer, J.J.G., (2000) The end of software training?. /Journal of Computer Assisted Learning/ 16 (4), p366375.
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________
40th Annual Conference of the Architectural Science Association ANZAScA
309

S Pietsch, S Shannon, J McCarthy

File: changing-track-form-z-to-sketch-up-rationale-tactics-and-outcomes.pdf
Title: Flash
Author: S Pietsch, S Shannon, J McCarthy
Author: blue
Published: Thu Aug 21 17:39:03 2014
Pages: 8
File size: 0.48 Mb


Nemasket River Myths, 41 pages, 0.19 Mb

, pages, 0 Mb

, pages, 0 Mb
Copyright © 2018 doc.uments.com