Remote Delivery of an Introductory Architectural Engineering Design-Build Activity

TitleRemote Delivery of an Introductory Architectural Engineering Design-Build Activity
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsArbuckle, S., P. Andersen Angkiriwang, J. Nathaniel, R. Al-Hammoud, and S. Walbridge
Conference NameASEE Annual Conference and Exposition
Conference LocationOnline

The first Architectural Engineering (AE) class at the University of X (UX) began in fall of 2018. The mandatory co-op work experience, studio component each semester, and collaboration with the UW School of Architecture are features of the program that make it unique in North America, just to name a few. In order to provide an introduction at the beginning of the school year that would adequately capture the essence of the program, a tried-and-true hands-on engineering project model at UX called ‘Design Days’ was adapted for the AE program. In 2018, the inaugural two-day design-build project called ‘AE Design Days’ was held wherein first year students worked in groups to design a piece, or set, of furniture that enhanced an assigned site in a UX Engineering building. The objectives of the project were to provide an ‘ice-breaking’ opportunity between students, as well as with the faculty; introduce the students to the AE course content, especially as it relates to the design process; provide opportunities for the students to work with their hands building models; and, to allow for the course instructors to gauge the skillset and prior knowledge of the incoming students[1]. Following the success of the first AE Design Days event, the same project model was implemented 2019, with minor modifications to improve the event logistics and student experience. Following the transition to online learning as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, a dramatic overhaul of the event was required to hold the most recent iteration in the fall 2020 semester. The intention was to have the same objectives for the project; however, with the students learning entirely remotely, and most doing so from home, some objectives were emphasized (e.g. student interaction). The event objectives were set to prime the students for the project-oriented courses in the AE program, through aspects inductive and experiential learning, and combined with an effort to address the specific challenges of online learning. The online format of the event lent several constraints, as it would not be possible to build models to the extent that it had been done in previous years. This paper discusses the planning process and implementation of the virtual AE Design Days event, as well as the perceived challenges of online learning within Architectural Engineering, but also the successes of the event from both the student and instructor perspective.