The Hybrid Studio: Introducing Google+ as a Blended Learning Platform for Architectural Design Studio Teaching

Nicolai Steinø, Md. Saifuddin Khalid

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Much architecture and design teaching is based on the studio format, where the co-presence in time and space of students, instructors and physical learning artefacts form a triangle from which the learning emerges. Yet with the advent of online communication platforms and learning management systems (LMS), there is reason to study how these technologies may enhance this well-established learning format and transform it into a blended learning format.In this paper, the introduction of an online communication platform –Google+ –as a supplement to an administrative LMS –Moodle –in a four month BSc level urban design studio course is evaluated and discussed with regard to its capacity to facilitate blended learning as a transforming blend. The online platform was used for general instructor/student communication, for student/student communication, as well as for sharing of student work in progress. It also worked as a one-on-one supervision platform for whenever students were in need of supervision and advice outside class hours.Methodologically, a phenomenographic approach was adopted in a single-case study in the form of a student workshop using an adapted problem-tree analysis method as a participatory learning and action method, in order to understand the students’ experiences andevaluation of blended learning systems and contexts.The paper gives an introduction to the traditional architecture and design studio teaching format, to blended learning, as well as to the preparation and setup of the studied blended learning course. The implementation of Google+ into the studio course was experimental and ran alongside the administrative Moodle platform which was used in parallel.The positive and negative aspects of both platforms were evaluated by the students. While they were mostly critical of Moodle, they valued the functionality of Google+ from several perspectives, although they also made critical remarks. While the experiment was not entirely successful, it seems to suggest that transforming blends, if well implemented, may offer a pedagogical enhancement to architecture and design studio teaching.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Problem Based Learning in Higher Education
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)22-46
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Special issue: Blended Learning in Architecture and Design Education


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