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:

  1. Is open to all programmes (BA, MArch, MLA and A&U).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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).
  5. Collates information on software, downloads, institutional support and remote access into one clear area for students.
  6. 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.