Mark Childs, Loughborough University
Students collaboratively work on a project brief, design a building for a specific site, submit a report and reflect on process. Learners constrict meaning through the act of design. Meaning is constructed jointly by the community. Students liked the process as it was authentic and so motivating and transferable. Challenges were commitment, trust, cultural differences, digital literacy, lack of socialisation, etc. Issues harder to resolve online with no easy mechanisms for fixing problems of trust, failure to complete tasks in time, lack of professional ethos etc. Social media not used to create working bonds but as a means of sorting minor admin such as meeting times. Meetings were synchronous and could be recorded. Could see a gradual improvement over time in online meetings, improvement in IT skills, greater understanding of the task, scheduling, agenda setting, developing presence in online meetings etc. However, inauthenticity of virtual connections and lack of socialisation remained issues. Students opted not to show themselves to create social bonds. Move toward developing presence, cover online etiquette, ‘don’t tell, show’, doodle, keep the conversation on screen, not offline, get the technology right (mute the mike when not talking) etc.