The move to online teaching - due to COVID-19 in 2020 - forced a dramatic shift away from formal lab-based sessions. This has been used as an opportunity by the ADD team to radically rethink the provision by reimagining a digital culture across the whole school (BA, MArch, MLA and A&U). Recognising that the wide range of interests and research agendas within our large and pluralistic school, a new model based on assessment of digital education/provision across multiple institutions in the UK and Internationally has been developed. The new model directly addresses NSS feedback on digital skills: “…this [digital skills] is essential in that every piece of work submitted involves these skills heavily…”. It also addresses a problem faced by most design schools in that digital skills teaching/learning cannot be fully aligned with the wide range of student project design interests, design briefs, technical requirements and time constraints. In response, the new provision is largely asynchronous and:
- Is open to all programmes (BA, MArch, MLA and A&U).
- Is divided into three separate streams (i) Essential, (ii) Advanced, and (iii) Specialist. This allows students to engage with the level most relevant to them and their long-term interests.
- Develops an online video and resource library of software/coding/skills workshops (70 and growing) that has been customised to respond to the requirements, briefs and ambitions across the school.
- Creates a new daily drop-in clinic for students to explore digital design problems and possibilities with named members of specialist staff (adept at using and teaching multiple digital software).
- Collates information on software, downloads, institutional support and remote access into one clear area for students.
- Develops a responsive forum for students and staff to interact on the latest digital issues through weekly updates/provocations.
Student response to the new model has been overwhelmingly positive with all resources fully utilised.