Changing relationships: activating student and staff engagement in a design studio

Satherley, Shannon D. (2010) Changing relationships: activating student and staff engagement in a design studio. In ConnectED 2010, Sydney, New South Wales.


In the design studio learning environment, traditional student and staff expectations are of close contact teaching and learning. In recent years at QUT students have experienced reduced personal staff attention, and have increasingly felt “anonymous” and correspondingly disengaged, to the detriment of quality learning (Carbone 1998: 8; Biggs 2003). Concurrently, there has been a necessary increase in teaching by sessional staff at QUT with varied levels of experience and assurance. This paper outlines the first iteration of an action research project exploring whether changing the current QUT design studio student and staff relationships may lead to more engaged, dynamic learning environments. “Engagement” is understood as a primarily emotional, rather than operational student concern (Solomonides and Martin 2008; Austerlitz and Aravot 2007). The project inverted the standard QUT design studio teaching structure, and evaluated the new structure and activation of student engagement across four identified markers: attendance, participation, learning and performance (ACER 2009; NSSE 2005; Chapman 2003). Student and staff surveys and focus groups, corporate data, and informal feedback informed these evaluations. Overall, the results support the premise that when students and staff feel part of a reasonably-sized studio class with a dedicated lecturer and self-selected project, the majority are inclined to value these relationships, to feel actively engaged, and to experience some improvement in their learning and teaching performances.

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ID Code: 39837
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Engagement, Activation, Relationships, Learning, Studio, HERN
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Past > Schools > School of Design
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2010 See the authors.
Deposited On: 02 Feb 2011 03:57
Last Modified: 27 Oct 2014 04:59

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