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Blogging in Urban Design Education

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Presentation given at http://www.dur.ac.uk/lt.team/blog/?page_id=1526 of the use of the open source WordPress blogging platform used in the MA in Urban Design Programme at Newcastle University.

Presentation given at http://www.dur.ac.uk/lt.team/blog/?page_id=1526 of the use of the open source WordPress blogging platform used in the MA in Urban Design Programme at Newcastle University.
http://nclurbandesign.org
Joint presentation given by Georgia Giannopoulou (School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape) and Ashley Wright (Quality in Learning and Teaching) of Newcastle University, UK.

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  • ReCap - http://teaching.ncl.ac.uk/recap/
  • A lot of talk how privatisation, commercialisation, globalisation destroy places
  • A lot of talk how privatisation, commercialisation, globalisation destroy places
  • Some of the people all of the time and most of the people some of the time, don’t try to avoid the city
  • 1 - Skinner, Elisabeth (2009) 'Using community development theory to improve student engagement in online discussion: a case study', Research in Learning Technology, 17: 2, 89 — 100

Blogging in Urban Design Education Blogging in Urban Design Education Presentation Transcript

  • www.nclurbandesign.orgBlogging in Urban Design Education:A Virtual Public Domain of Exchange Georgia Giannopoulou and Ashley Wright
  • This presentationWhat we didWhy we did itHow we did itOpennessHow it evolvedWhat are the challengesWhat did we gainWhat did the students gainWhat we learntWhat is the future like
  • What we did A Blog as a virtual “live” student designed handbook Incorporated in existing modules and marked Minimum contribution requirements Instigated and facilitated by us but not led… Control gradually to students Moved from WordPress.com (2010/11) to WP.org (hosted) in 2011/12 Started in 2011, repeated in 2012, 2013…..
  • Why we did it To capture the experience of a 1-year cohort (MA in Urban Design) Mentoring through alumni To promote reflection in learning To foster community To promote the course To promote personal attributes e.g autonomy, reflexivity, cultural competence in higher education students
  • How we did it: the technology AY10-11 Considered using a Wiki but decided on a blog (suited subject) Unsure of scope so used WP with a view to possibly hosting and free (ish) Bought domain name through WP provider Students register with WP and given role of Editor Demo to students, explain blogging concept and implications Supported student cohort via email, f2f, ReCap tutorials & WP help/community
  • How we did it: the technology AY11 - 12 Wished to incorporate other social software feeds in the Blog  Moved to Wordpress .org Hosted with a 3rd party web provider Assistance of an external web company – READYSALTED  Created new entry page design  Added plugins to the install  Feeds from Twitter, Flickr, contact form Different method of registering students Minimal support
  • How we did it : The students’ tasks Register with WordPress Create a Profile : their public image Decide on pages and categories Decide on links Familiarise with how to post and comment Experiment with writing styles Manage the pages in appearance and content (active surveillance) Iterative process on what works and what doesn’t Reflect on what they did and what it was like for them
  • Openness To the WWW… A brief that is open to interpretation… …different meanings for different cohorts …open to diversity encouraging imprinting cultures and experiences… …what is not verbalised can be lost… Comment is free… A virtual “Public Domain”: an arena for social expression… “the foreigner carries the world in himself” (Jung 1942)
  • Openness : A “Public Domain” …safety and control exercised unconsciously by the participants “framing encounters that are both intimate and intrusive”(Zukin) Number of events/people and time spent…increases vitality of space Acting on the street : learning “urban meaning” Order and democracy Degrees of public Behaviour….
  • Public Domain as an experience “Public Domain is not so much a place, as an experience. Public domain experiences occur at the boundary between friction and freedom. On the other hand there isalways the tension of a confrontation with the unfamiliar; on the other the liberation of the experience of a different approach. In the main our public domain experiences are infact, related to entering the parochial domains of others..”
  • Cultural Geography: A place for productionof meaning Public domain comes into being where places represent multiple and incongruent meanings…rather than conscious production of meaning The sharing of the virtual space makes exchange possible between groups that otherwise follow entirely separate space-time paths “Citizens create meaningful space by expressing their attitudes, asserting their claims and using it for their own purposes” (Zukin)
  • Social function of “Blog” as public domain “freeing, exhilarating, fun, exciting” “seek out a little danger, endanger a little anxiety” Urban fun based on anonymity: a. Identity games: passing, performing, pretending (appearance, location and behaviour) b. Conventional Games: Encountering and conversing with strangers (appropriateness, desirability, legitimacy)
  • How it evolved Funding from STLC to improve design… READYSALTED on board Added new functionalities: Flickr, Twitter, Q&A box, Entry Page etc. Link to last year’s Not starting completely from blank slate More ownership to students More focus on cultures
  • What are the challenges Scalability Institutional policy – catch up WordPress – risks of the unknown, open source forever? Motivation for posting in amongst course requirements Representation of Newcastle University from such an open platform… Democratic procedures and management A personalised look Marketing and students
  • What did WE gain Links to increased applications and quality of applicants… A more engaged, more inclusive and more collaborative cohort Publicity! New experience and reflection… Feedback
  • What did THE STUDENTS gain “Blogging expresses the importance of social and peer interaction as foci of the learning community. Instructors of courses rooted in a knowledge discipline can use blogs to lead students through thefoundations of that discipline in order to contextualize real-world experiences. Because they are able to advance their ownperspectives and experiences, students make aninvestment in what they post to their blogs”Instructional Blogging: Promoting Interactivity, Student-Centered Learning, andPeer Input, Glogoff, Stuart. Innovate: Journal of Online Education1. 5 (Jun2005): 5.
  • What did the students gain More social interaction and community of practice Cultural exposure and competence Reflective learning and peer learning Sense of pride and ownership leading to…. …higher motivation and better performance Increased personal autonomy through invitation to create and own Sense of belonging to a larger community of Urban Designers Some fun in the course!
  • What did the students gain : quotes “…Helpful to know where we all stand different” “…Helped me organise my thoughts and ideas and get feedback” “…A window to places I have never been and never really thought of” “…I have been genuinely surprised by how much I have enjoyed blogging/commenting and how interesting and useful I found other people’s comments” “…Open up lines of communication” “…A supportive message for next year’s students, with current students imprint”
  • Lessons
  • Lessons A strong branding may not suit all cohorts Ingesting and presenting other Web apps is more fiddly and requires more support A fine balance between guidance/facilitation and firm hand…or…lack of That it worked in many more ways than we had hoped That a clear but open brief works best That we need to incorporate a system to ensure frequent posts There are costs associated…
  • What is the future like We will do it again! It is enjoyable and stimulating to work this way Curious to see where it takes us year by year
  • georgia.giannopoulou@ncl.ac.uk ashley.wright@ncl.ac.ukBlogging in Urban Design Education:A Virtual Public Domain of Exchange Georgia Giannopoulou and Ashley Wright