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Active learning exercises as a strategy in collaborative cross-disciplinary teaching

Peter Bullen and Peter Davis
Department of Construction Management, Curtin University of Technology
This paper reviews the effect on student learning of a collaborative cross-disciplinary unit in the School of Architecture, Construction and Planning at Curtin University of Technology. The concept of the unit is to link students of architecture and construction management together on an active learning exercise that they undertake in teams. Industry teams that carry out projects are only assembled for the duration of the project lifecycle and this division can provide an environment that nurtures a negative culture of fragmentation. It is therefore hoped that this unit will encourage a culture of collaborative teamwork that the students will carry with them into industry.

The exercise is based on a real project using a scenario that duplicates industry parameters as closely as possible. Students divide into project teams, identical to those in industry, that replicate the roles of architects, project managers, quantity surveyors and builders. Active learning exercises, based on actual scenarios, enable students to quickly develop problem solving skills that can satisfy practicum requirements. Students feel more attuned to an exercise that involves a "real life" situation such as a project they can visit and touch rather than have to imagine. The message continually emphasised to students is that project objectives are more likely to be successfully delivered where professionals in the project team have collaborated. The structure of this unit is therefore developed with the aim of continuing that theme and encouraging a culture of integration and collaboration between the two disciplines of construction management and architecture.

Please cite as: Bullen, P. and Davis, P. (2003). Active learning exercises as a strategy in collaborative cross-disciplinary teaching. In Partners in Learning. Proceedings of the 12th Annual Teaching Learning Forum, 11-12 February 2003. Perth: Edith Cowan University. http://lsn.curtin.edu.au/tlf/tlf2003/abstracts/bullen-abs.html

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Last revision: 13 Jan 2003. This URL: http://lsn.curtin.edu.au/tlf/tlf2003/abstracts/bullen-abs.html