Opening up design studio education using blended and networked formats

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7 Citations (Scopus)


Design education is based on a model of instruction that encourages open practices such as team work and group revisions. However, interaction in the design studio is usually conditioned by the predetermined hierarchical rapports that exist between tutors and students, while openness is restricted within the physical and temporal confines of the classroom. In this context, conventional design studio layouts run the risk of reproducing the views and norms of the profession without the critical insight or input of the user and the observer. This paper describes the process of redesign of an undergraduate urban design studio with the aim of extending openness from an operational behavior to a holistic attitude towards design. A blended model was used as a means of expanding studio activities while a network structured communications setting sought to promote student connectivity. Communication was expanded to stakeholders and members of the community involved in the project as well as people from other domains in order to broaden the knowledge base of the studio. Online features and additional face-to-face practices were used in a complementary mode because blending was not limited to the adoption of online modalities but also involved the reconsideration of f2f meetings and the redesign of the studio as a whole. The paper describes the implications the new studio layout has had on the students who attended. Data retrieved from analytics and blog statistics together with the results of a survey conducted upon the studio’s completion reveal that even though blending began as a course objective set by tutors, it was the students who did the blending by choosing the degree of their involvement in the various features offered in the layout. This paper also argues that opening up the educational process to blended formats is directly related to the contemporary professional activity by setting a new framework for design practice.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education
Publication statusPublished - 24 Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Design education
  • Network learning
  • Blended learning
  • Open modalities
  • Evidence of impact


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