CumInCAD is a Cumulative Index about publications in Computer Aided Architectural Design
supported by the sibling associations ACADIA, CAADRIA, eCAADe, SIGraDi, ASCAAD and CAAD futures

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_id c434
authors Colajanni, B., Pellitteri, G. and Scianna, A.
year 1992
title Two Approaches to Teaching Computers in Architecture: The Experience in the Faculty of Engineering in Palermo, Italy
source CAAD Instruction: The New Teaching of an Architect? [eCAADe Conference Proceedings] Barcelona (Spain) 12-14 November 1992, pp. 295-306
summary Teaching the use of computers in architecture poses the same kind of problems as teaching mathematics. To both there are two possible approaches. The first presents the discipline as a tool of which the merely instrumental aspect is emphasized. Teaching is limited to show the results obtainable by existing programs and how to get them. The second approach, on the contrary emphasizes the autonomous nature of the discipline, mathematics as much as computing, on the basis of the convincement that the maximum of instrumental usefulness can be obtained through the knowledge at the highest degree of generality and, then, of abstraction. The first approach changes little in the mind of the student. He simply learns that is possible, and then worthy doing, a certain amount of operations, mainly checks of performances (and not only the control of the aspect, now easy with one of the many existing CAD) or searches of technical informations in some database. The second approach gives the student the consciousness of the manageability of abstract structures of relationships. He acquires then the idea of creating by himself particular structures of relationships and managing them. This can modify the very idea of the design procedure giving the student the consciousness that he can intervene directly in every segment of the design procedure, reshaping it to some extent in a way better suited to the particular problem he is dealing with. Of course this second approach implies learning not only a language but also the capability of coming to terms with languages. And again it is a cultural acquisition that can be very useful when referred to the languages of architecture. Furthermore the capability of simulating on the computer also a small segment of the design process gives the student a better understanding both of the particular problem he is dealing with and of the very nature of design. As for the first effect, it happens whenever a translation is done from a language to another one. One is obliged to get to the core of the matter in order to overcome the difficulties rising from the different bias of the two languages. The second effect comes from the necessity of placing the studied segment in the general flow of the design process. The organisation in a linear sequence of action to be accomplished recursively in an order always varying in any design occasion is an extremely useful exercise to understand the signification and the techniques of formalisation of design problems.
series eCAADe
email bcolajan@mbox.unipa.it
last changed 1998/08/18 14:26

_id 6bff
authors Coyne, Richard
year 1992
title The Role of Metaphor in Understanding Computers in Design
source Mission - Method - Madness [ACADIA Conference Proceedings / ISBN 1-880250-01-2] 1992, pp. 3-11
summary The study of metaphor provides valuable insights into the workings of thought and understanding. This chapter addresses the important question of what the study of metaphor has to say about technology, the design process and hence the role of computers in design. The conclusion is that design involves the generation of action within a collaborative environment in which there is the free play of metaphor. A recognition of the close relationship between technology and metaphor provides insights into how to evaluate and develop the effective use of computers in design.

series ACADIA
email Richard.Coyne@ed.ac.uk
last changed 2003/04/21 19:18

_id 6964
authors Daniel, T.
year 1992
title Data visualization for decision support in environmental management
source Landscape and Urban Planning 21, pp. 261-263
summary Contributed by Susan Pietsch (spietsch@arch.adelaide.edu.au)
keywords 3D City Modeling, Development Control, Design Control
series other
last changed 2001/06/04 18:27

_id 6d1d
authors Daru, R. and Daru, M.
year 1992
title Personal Working Styles in the CMD Studio
source CAAD Instruction: The New Teaching of an Architect? [eCAADe Conference Proceedings] Barcelona (Spain) 12-14 November 1992, pp. 451-472
summary Normative and problem-solving approaches of architectural design ignore the personality aspects of the designing activity. Every architect approaches projects according to her/his own strategies and tactics. Usually they do not conform to the prescriptive models of design theoreticians. Computer aided design tools should be adapted to their utility within the strategies and tactics of each and every architectural student. We are testing the usefulness of CAAD tools developed by others or ourselves and identifying the needs for missing tools. It is already clear that many CAAD tools reflect the point of view of the programmer about strategies and tactics of designing and that they do not take into account the idiosyncrasies of the end user. Forcing the tools on students breeds the risk of fostering repulsion against ill-adapted tools, and consequently against CMD. Our research group pursues empirical research on working styles of designing by practising architects within the frame of a personality theory of actions. The results indicate that there are three main directions for designing strategies. If we want to take into account the real-world behaviour in design practice within architectural education, this implies the diversification of the exercises we offer to the students in threefold, corresponding with the three directions. To this, we add the didactic options of complementation, compensation and support, depending on what we know about the strong or weak points of the students involved. We have started proposing choices for the exercises of our design morphology studio. Students are offered approaches and tools we consider best adapted to their own working

series eCAADe
email mdaru@iaehv.nl
last changed 1998/08/24 07:25

_id ddss9209
id ddss9209
authors De Gelder, J.T. and Lucardie, G.L.
year 1993
title Knowledge and data modelling in cad/cam applications
source Timmermans, Harry (Ed.), Design and Decision Support Systems in Architecture (Proceedings of a conference held in Mierlo, the Netherlands in July 1992), ISBN 0-7923-2444-7
summary Modelling knowledge and data in CAD/CAM applications is complex because different goals and contexts have to be taken into account. This complexity makes particular demands upon representation formalisms. Today many modelling tools are based on record structures. By analyzing the requirements for a product model of a portal structure in steel, this paper shows that in many situations record structures are not well suited as a representation formalism for storing knowledge and data in CAD/CAM applications. This is illustrated by performing a knowledge-level analysis of the knowledge and data generated in the design and manufacturing process of a portal structure in steel.
series DDSS
last changed 2003/08/07 14:36

_id ddss9205
id ddss9205
authors De Scheemaker. A.
year 1993
title Towards an integrated facility management system for management and use of government buildings
source Timmermans, Harry (Ed.), Design and Decision Support Systems in Architecture (Proceedings of a conference held in Mierlo, the Netherlands in July 1992), ISBN 0-7923-2444-7
summary The Government Building Agency in the Netherlands is developing an integrated facility management system for two of its departments. Applications are already developed to support a number of day-to-day facility management activities on an operational level. Research is now being carried out to develop a management control system to better plan and control housing and material resources.
series DDSS
last changed 2003/08/07 14:36

_id cf73
authors Dosti, P., Martens, B. and Voigt, A.
year 1992
title Spatial Simulation In Architecture, City Development and Regional Planning
source CAAD Instruction: The New Teaching of an Architect? [eCAADe Conference Proceedings] Barcelona (Spain) 12-14 November 1992, pp. 195-200
summary The appropriate use of spatial simulation techniques considerably tends to increase the depth of evidence and the realistic content of the design and plannings to be described and moreover may encourage experimentations, trial attempts and planning variants. This means also the more frequent use of combinations between different techniques, having in mind that they are not equivalent, but making use of the respective advantages each offers. Until now the main attention of the EDP-Lab was directed on achieving quantity. For the time to come time it will be the formation of quality. The challenge in the educational system at the Vienna University of Technology is to obtain appropriate results in the frame- work of low-cost simulation. This aspect seems also to be meaningful in order to enforce the final implementation in architectural practice.

series eCAADe
email b.martens@tuwien.ac.at, voigt@ifoer.tuwien.ac.at
more http://info.tuwien.ac.at/ecaade/
last changed 2001/02/11 17:56

_id ddss9206
id ddss9206
authors Drach, A., Langenegger, M. and Heitz, S.
year 1993
title Working with prototypes: from cad to flexible tools for integrated building design
source Timmermans, Harry (Ed.), Design and Decision Support Systems in Architecture (Proceedings of a conference held in Mierlo, the Netherlands in July 1992), ISBN 0-7923-2444-7
summary The formulation of design knowledge as concepts, goals and rules cannot be captured in fixed and valid statements. The dynamic modelling of concepts and goals is, on the contrary, part of the design process itself. Tools that effectively support architects in their design should therefore never use predefined mechanisms, but must be definable interactively according to design specifications. We propose the concept of prototypes as a cognitive model to represent and structure design knowledge. Prototypes incorporate an individual view of design in a synthetic and organizational model for a defined area of interest. They actively control and guide design processes in supporting the organizational concepts for solutions. The a+Tool implements these concepts on the basis of a modelling language. It provides a dynamic toolkit and user interface to support design as well as knowledge modelling.
series DDSS
last changed 2003/08/07 14:36

_id 6ea4
authors Eastman, C.M.
year 1992
title A Data Model Analysis of Modularity and Extensibility in Building Databases
source Building and Environment, Vol 27, No: 2, pp. 135-148
summary This paper uses data modeling techniques to define how database schemas for an intelligent integrated architectural CAD system can be made extensible. It reviews the product data modeling language EDM, then applies it to define a part of an architectural data model. Extensions are then investigated, regarding how users could integrate various design-specific packages into a uniquely configured system. Both, extension by substituting one technology for another and by adding a new evaluation application, are considered. Data modeling allows specification of a CAD database and identification of the kind of modularization that will work and what problems may arise.''
series journal paper
email chuck.eastman@arch.gatech.edu
last changed 2003/04/23 13:14

_id 4857
authors Escola Tecnica Superior D'arquitectura de Barcelona (Ed.)
year 1992
title CAAD Instruction: The New Teaching of an Architect?
source eCAADe Conference Proceedings / Barcelona (Spain) 12-14 November 1992, 551 p.
summary The involvement of computer graphic systems in the transmission of knowledge in the areas of urban planning and architectural design will bring a significant change to the didactic programs and methods of those schools which have decided to adopt these new instruments. Workshops of urban planning and architectural design will have to modify their structures, and teaching teams will have to revise their current programs. Some european schools and faculties of architecture have taken steps in this direction. Others are willing to join them.

This process is only delayed by the scarcity of material resources, and by the slowness with which a sufficient number of teachers are adopting these methods.

ECAADE has set out to analyze the state of this issue during its next conference, and it will be discussed from various points of view. From this confrontation of ideas will come, surely, the guidelines for progress in the years to come.

The different sessions will be grouped together following these four themes:

(A.) Multimedia and Course Work / State of the art of the synthesis of graphical and textual information favored by new available multimedia computer programs. Their repercussions on academic programs. (B.) The New Design Studio / Physical characteristics, data concentration and accessibility of a computerized studio can be better approached in a computerized workshop. (C.) How to manage the new education system / Problems and possibilities raised, from the practical and organizational points of view, of architectural education by the introduction of computers in the classrooms. (D.) CAAI. Formal versus informal structure / How will the traditional teaching structure be affected by the incidence of these new systems in which the access to knowledge and information can be obtained in a random way and guided by personal and subjective criteria.

series eCAADe
email monedero@ega1.upc.es
last changed 1998/08/18 14:51

_id e412
authors Fargas, Josep and Papazian, Pegor
year 1992
title Modeling Regulations and Intentions for Urban Development: The Role of Computer Simulation in the Urban Design Studio
source CAAD Instruction: The New Teaching of an Architect? [eCAADe Conference Proceedings] Barcelona (Spain) 12-14 November 1992, pp. 201-212
summary In this paper we present a strategy for modeling urban development in order to study the role of urban regulations and policies in the transformation of cities. We also suggest a methodology for using computer models as experimental tools in the urban design studio in order to make explicit the factors involved in shaping cities, and for the automatic visualization of projected development. The structure of the proposed model is based on different modules which represent, on the one hand, the rules regulating the physical growth of a city and, on the other hand, heuristics corresponding to different interests such as Real Estate Developers, City Hall Planners, Advocacy and Community Groups, and so on. Here we present a case study dealing with the Boston Redevelopment Authority zoning code for the Midtown Cultural District of Boston. We introduce a computer program which develops the district, adopting a particular point of view regarding urban regulation. We then generalize the notion of this type of computer modeling and simulation, and draw some conclusions about its possible uses in the teaching and practice of design.
series eCAADe
email fargas@dtec.es
last changed 2003/05/16 19:27

_id 4129
authors Fargas, Josep and Papazian, Pegor
year 1992
title Metaphors in Design: An Experiment with a Frame, Two Lines and Two Rectangles
source Mission - Method - Madness [ACADIA Conference Proceedings / ISBN 1-880250-01-2] 1992, pp. 13-22
summary The research we will discuss below originated from an attempt to examine the capacity of designers to evaluate an artifact, and to study the feasibility of replicating a designer's moves intended to make an artifact more expressive of a given quality. We will present the results of an interactive computer experiment, first developed at the MIT Design Research Seminar, which is meant to capture the subject’s actions in a simple design task as a series of successive "moves"'. We will propose that designers use metaphors in their interaction with design artifacts and we will argue that the concept of metaphors can lead to a powerful theory of design activity. Finally, we will show how such a theory can drive the project of building a design system.

When trying to understand how designers work, it is tempting to examine design products in order to come up with the principles or norms behind them. The problem with such an approach is that it may lead to a purely syntactical analysis of design artifacts, failing to capture the knowledge of the designer in an explicit way, and ignoring the interaction between the designer and the evolving design. We will present a theory about design activity based on the observation that knowledge is brought into play during a design task by a process of interpretation of the design document. By treating an evolving design in terms of the meanings and rules proper to a given way of seeing, a designer can reduce the complexity of a task by focusing on certain of its aspects, and can manipulate abstract elements in a meaningful way.

series ACADIA
email fargas@dtec.es
last changed 2003/05/14 20:02

_id e51d
authors Fazio, P., Bedard, C. and Gowri, K.
year 1992
title Constraints for Generating Building Envelope Design Alternatives
source New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1992. pp. 145-155 : charts. includes bibliography
summary The building envelope design process involves selecting materials and constructional types for envelope components. Many different materials need to be combined together for wall and roof assemblies to meet the various performance requirements such as thermal efficiency, cost, acoustic and fire resistances. The number of performance attributes to be considered in the design process is large. Lack of information, time limitations and the large number of feasible design alternatives generally force the designer to rely on past experience and practical judgement to make rapid design decisions. Current work at the Centre for Buildings Studies focuses on the development of knowledge-based synthesis and evaluation techniques for reducing the problems of information handling and decision making in building envelope design. The generation of design alternatives is viewed as a search process that identifies feasible combinations of building envelope components satisfying a set of performance requirements, material compatibility, practicality of design, etc. This paper discusses knowledge acquisition and representation issues involved in the definition of constraints to guide the generation of feasible combinations of envelope components
keywords envelope, knowledge base, knowledge acquisition, representation, performance, design, structures, architecture, evaluation
series CADline
last changed 2003/06/02 12:41

_id 83f7
authors Fenves, Stephen J., Flemming, Ulrich and Hendrickson, Craig (et al)
year 1992
title Performance Evaluation in an Integrated Software Environment for Building Design and Construction Planning
source New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1992. pp. 159-169 : ill. includes bibliography
summary In this paper the authors describe the role of performance evaluation in the Integrated Software Environment for Building Design and Construction Planning (IBDE), which is a testbed for examining integration issues in the same domain. Various processes in IBDE deal with the spatial configuration, structural design, and construction planning of high-rise office buildings. Performance evaluations occur within these processes based on different representation schemes and control mechanisms for the handling of performance knowledge. Within this multiprocess environment, opportunities also exist for performance evaluation across disciplines through design critics
keywords evaluation, performance, integration, systems, building, design, construction, architecture, planning, structures, representation, control
series CADline
email ujf@cmu.edu
last changed 2003/06/02 08:24

_id ecaade03_473_175_flanagan_neu
id ecaade03_473_175_flanagan_neu
authors Flanagan, Robert H.
year 2003
title Generative Logic in Digital Design
source Digital Design [21th eCAADe Conference Proceedings / ISBN 0-9541183-1-6] Graz (Austria) 17-20 September 2003, pp. 473-484
summary This exploration of early-stage, architectural design pedagogy is in essence, a record of an ongoing transformation underway in architecture, from its practice in the art of geometry of space to its practice in the art of geometry of space-time. A selected series of student experiments, from 1992 to the present, illustrate a progression in architectural theory, from Pythagorean concepts of mathematics and geometry, to the symbolic representation of space and non-linear time in film. The dimensional expansion of space, from xyz to xyz+t (time), represents a tactical and strategic opportunity to incorporate multisensory design variables in architectural practice, as well as in its pedagogy.
keywords Generative; process; derivative; logic; systemic
series eCAADe
email rflanaga@carbon.cudenver.edu
last changed 2003/09/18 07:13

_id 68c8
authors Flemming, U., Coyne, R. and Fenves, S. (et al.)
year 1994
title SEED: A Software Environment to Support the Early Phases in Building Design
source Proceeding of IKM '94, Weimar, Germany, pp. 5-10
summary The SEED project intends to develop a software environment that supports the early phases in building design (Flemming et al., 1993). The goal is to provide support, in principle, for the preliminary design of buildings in all aspects that can gain from computer support. This includes using the computer not only for analysis and evaluation, but also more actively for the generation of designs, or more accurately, for the rapid generation of design representations. A major motivation for the development of SEED is to bring the results of two multi-generational research efforts focusing on `generative' design systems closer to practice: 1. LOOS/ABLOOS, a generative system for the synthesis of layouts of rectangles (Flemming et al., 1988; Flemming, 1989; Coyne and Flemming, 1990; Coyne, 1991); 2. GENESIS, a rule-based system that supports the generation of assemblies of 3-dimensional solids (Heisserman, 1991; Heisserman and Woodbury, 1993). The rapid generation of design representations can take advantage of special opportunities when it deals with a recurring building type, that is, a building type dealt with frequently by the users of the system. Design firms - from housing manufacturers to government agencies - accumulate considerable experience with recurring building types. But current CAD systems capture this experience and support its reuse only marginally. SEED intends to provide systematic support for the storing and retrieval of past solutions and their adaptation to similar problem situations. This motivation aligns aspects of SEED closely with current work in Artificial Intelligence that focuses on case-based design (see, for example, Kolodner, 1991; Domeshek and Kolodner, 1992; Hua et al., 1992).
series other
email ujf@cmu.edu
last changed 2003/04/23 13:14

_id ddss9214
id ddss9214
authors Friedman, A.
year 1993
title A decision-making process for choice of a flexible internal partition option in multi-unit housing using decision theory techniques
source Timmermans, Harry (Ed.), Design and Decision Support Systems in Architecture (Proceedings of a conference held in Mierlo, the Netherlands in July 1992), ISBN 0-7923-2444-7
summary Recent demographic changes have increased the heterogeneity of user groups in the North American housing market. Smaller households (e.g. elderly, single parent) have non-traditional spatial requirements that cannot be accommodated within the conventional house layout. This has created renewed interest in Demountable/Flexible internal partition systems. However, the process by which designers decide which project or user groups are most suited for the use of these systems is quite often complex, non-linear, uncertain and dynamic, since the decisions involve natural processes and human values that are apparently random. The anonymity of users when mass housing projects are conceptualized, and the uncertainty as to the alternative to be selected by the user, given his/her constantly changing needs, are some contributing factors to this effect. Decision Theory techniques, not commonly used by architects, can facilitate the decision-making process through a systematic evaluation of alternatives by means of quantitative methods in order to reduce uncertainty in probabilistic events or in cases when data is insufficient. The author used Decision Theory in the selection of flexible partition systems. The study involved a multi-unit, privately initiated housing project in Montreal, Canada, where real site conditions and costs were used. In this paper, the author outlines the fundamentals of Decision Theory and demonstrates the use of Expected Monetary Value and Weighted Objective Analysis methods and their outcomes in the design of a Montreal housing project. The study showed that Decision Theory can be used as an effective tool in housing design once the designer knows how to collect basic data.
series DDSS
last changed 2003/08/07 14:36

_id 7ce5
authors Gal, Shahaf
year 1992
title Computers and Design Activities: Their Mediating Role in Engineering Education
source Sociomedia, ed. Edward Barret. MIT Press
summary Sociomedia: With all the new words used to describe electronic communication (multimedia, hypertext, cyberspace, etc.), do we need another one? Edward Barrett thinks we do; hence, he coins the term "sociomedia." It is meant to displace a computing economy in which technicity is hypostasized over sociality. Sociomedia, a compilation of twenty-five articles on the theory, design and practice of educational multimedia and hypermedia, attempts to re-value the communicational face of computing. Value, of course, is "ultimately a social construct." As such, it has everything to do with knowledge, power, education and technology. The projects discussed in this book represent the leading edge of electronic knowledge production in academia (not to mention major funding) and are determining the future of educational media. For these reasons, Sociomedia warrants close inspection. Barrett's introduction sets the tone. For him, designing computer media involves hardwiring a mechanism for the social construction of knowledge (1). He links computing to a process of social and communicative interactivity for constructing and desseminating knowledge. Through a mechanistic mapping of the university as hypercontext (a huge network that includes classrooms as well as services and offices), Barrett models intellectual work in such a way as to avoid "limiting definitions of human nature or human development." Education, then, can remain "where it should be--in the human domain (public and private) of sharing ideas and information through the medium of language." By leaving education in a virtual realm (where we can continue to disagree about its meaning and execution), it remains viral, mutating and contaminating in an intellectually healthy way. He concludes that his mechanistic model, by means of its reductionist approach, preserves value (7). This "value" is the social construction of knowledge. While I support the social orientation of Barrett's argument, discussions of value are related to power. I am not referring to the traditional teacher-student power structure that is supposedly dismantled through cooperative and constructivist learning strategies. The power to be reckoned with in the educational arena is foundational, that which (pre)determines value and the circulation of knowledge. "Since each of you reading this paragraph has a different perspective on the meaning of 'education' or 'learning,' and on the processes involved in 'getting an education,' think of the hybris in trying to capture education in a programmable function, in a displayable object, in a 'teaching machine'" (7). Actually, we must think about that hybris because it is, precisely, what informs teaching machines. Moreover, the basic epistemological premises that give rise to such productions are too often assumed. In the case of instructional design, the episteme of cognitive sciences are often taken for granted. It is ironic that many of the "postmodernists" who support electronic hypertextuality seem to have missed Jacques Derrida's and Michel Foucault's "deconstructions" of the epistemology underpinning cognitive sciences (if not of epistemology itself). Perhaps it is the glitz of the technology that blinds some users (qua developers) to the belief systems operating beneath the surface. Barrett is not guilty of reactionary thinking or politics; he is, in fact, quite in line with much American deconstructive and postmodern thinking. The problem arises in that he leaves open the definitions of "education," "learning" and "getting an education." One cannot engage in the production of new knowledge without orienting its design, production and dissemination, and without negotiating with others' orientations, especially where largescale funding is involved. Notions of human nature and development are structural, even infrastructural, whatever the medium of the teaching machine. Although he addresses some dynamics of power, money and politics when he talks about the recession and its effects on the conference, they are readily visible dynamics of power (3-4). Where does the critical factor of value determination, of power, of who gets what and why, get mapped onto a mechanistic model of learning institutions? Perhaps a mapping of contributors' institutions, of the funding sources for the projects showcased and for participation in the conference, and of the disciplines receiving funding for these sorts of projects would help visualize the configurations of power operative in the rising field of educational multimedia. Questions of power and money notwithstanding, Barrett's introduction sets the social and textual thematics for the collection of essays. His stress on interactivity, on communal knowledge production, on the society of texts, and on media producers and users is carried foward through the other essays, two of which I will discuss. Section I of the book, "Perspectives...," highlights the foundations, uses and possible consequences of multimedia and hypertextuality. The second essay in this section, "Is There a Class in This Text?," plays on the robust exchange surrounding Stanley Fish's book, Is There a Text in This Class?, which presents an attack on authority in reading. The author, John Slatin, has introduced electronic hypertextuality and interaction into his courses. His article maps the transformations in "the content and nature of work, and the workplace itself"-- which, in this case, is not industry but an English poetry class (25). Slatin discovered an increase of productive and cooperative learning in his electronically- mediated classroom. For him, creating knowledge in the electronic classroom involves interaction between students, instructors and course materials through the medium of interactive written discourse. These interactions lead to a new and persistent understanding of the course materials and of the participants' relation to the materials and to one another. The work of the course is to build relationships that, in my view, constitute not only the meaning of individual poems, but poetry itself. The class carries out its work in the continual and usually interactive production of text (31). While I applaud his strategies which dismantle traditional hierarchical structures in academia, the evidence does not convince me that the students know enough to ask important questions or to form a self-directing, learning community. Stanley Fish has not relinquished professing, though he, too, espouses the indeterminancy of the sign. By the fourth week of his course, Slatin's input is, by his own reckoning, reduced to 4% (39). In the transcript of the "controversial" Week 6 exchange on Gertrude Stein--the most disliked poet they were discussing at the time (40)--we see the blind leading the blind. One student parodies Stein for three lines and sums up his input with "I like it." Another, finds Stein's poetry "almost completey [sic] lacking in emotion or any artistic merit" (emphasis added). On what grounds has this student become an arbiter of "artistic merit"? Another student, after admitting being "lost" during the Wallace Steven discussion, talks of having more "respect for Stevens' work than Stein's" and adds that Stein's poetry lacks "conceptual significance[, s]omething which people of varied opinion can intelligently discuss without feeling like total dimwits...." This student has progressed from admitted incomprehension of Stevens' work to imposing her (groundless) respect for his work over Stein's. Then, she exposes her real dislike for Stein's poetry: that she (the student) missed the "conceptual significance" and hence cannot, being a person "of varied opinion," intelligently discuss it "without feeling like [a] total dimwit." Slatin's comment is frightening: "...by this point in the semester students have come to feel increasingly free to challenge the instructor" (41). The students that I have cited are neither thinking critically nor are their preconceptions challenged by student-governed interaction. Thanks to the class format, one student feels self-righteous in her ignorance, and empowered to censure. I believe strongly in student empowerment in the classroom, but only once students have accrued enough knowledge to make informed judgments. Admittedly, Slatin's essay presents only partial data (there are six hundred pages of course transcripts!); still, I wonder how much valuable knowledge and metaknowledge was gained by the students. I also question the extent to which authority and professorial dictature were addressed in this course format. The power structures that make it possible for a college to require such a course, and the choice of texts and pedagogy, were not "on the table." The traditional professorial position may have been displaced, but what took its place?--the authority of consensus with its unidentifiable strong arm, and the faceless reign of software design? Despite Slatin's claim that the students learned about the learning process, there is no evidence (in the article) that the students considered where their attitudes came from, how consensus operates in the construction of knowledge, how power is established and what relationship they have to bureaucratic insitutions. How do we, as teaching professionals, negotiate a balance between an enlightened despotism in education and student-created knowledge? Slatin, and other authors in this book, bring this fundamental question to the fore. There is no definitive answer because the factors involved are ultimately social, and hence, always shifting and reconfiguring. Slatin ends his article with the caveat that computerization can bring about greater estrangement between students, faculty and administration through greater regimentation and control. Of course, it can also "distribute authority and power more widely" (50). Power or authority without a specific face, however, is not necessarily good or just. Shahaf Gal's "Computers and Design Activities: Their Mediating Role in Engineering Education" is found in the second half of the volume, and does not allow for a theory/praxis dichotomy. Gal recounts a brief history of engineering education up to the introduction of Growltiger (GT), a computer-assisted learning aid for design. He demonstrates GT's potential to impact the learning of engineering design by tracking its use by four students in a bridge-building contest. What his text demonstrates clearly is that computers are "inscribing and imaging devices" that add another viewpoint to an on-going dialogue between student, teacher, earlier coursework, and other teaching/learning tools. The less proficient students made a serious error by relying too heavily on the technology, or treating it as a "blueprint provider." They "interacted with GT in a way that trusted the data to represent reality. They did not see their interaction with GT as a negotiation between two knowledge systems" (495). Students who were more thoroughly informed in engineering discourses knew to use the technology as one voice among others--they knew enough not simply to accept the input of the computer as authoritative. The less-advanced students learned a valuable lesson from the competition itself: the fact that their designs were not able to hold up under pressure (literally) brought the fact of their insufficient knowledge crashing down on them (and their bridges). They also had, post factum, several other designs to study, especially the winning one. Although competition and comparison are not good pedagogical strategies for everyone (in this case the competitors had volunteered), at some point what we think we know has to be challenged within the society of discourses to which it belongs. Students need critique in order to learn to push their learning into auto-critique. This is what is lacking in Slatin's discussion and in the writings of other avatars of constructivist, collaborative and computer-mediated pedagogies. Obviously there are differences between instrumental types of knowledge acquisition and discoursive knowledge accumulation. Indeed, I do not promote the teaching of reading, thinking and writing as "skills" per se (then again, Gal's teaching of design is quite discursive, if not dialogic). Nevertheless, the "soft" sciences might benefit from "bridge-building" competitions or the re-institution of some forms of agonia. Not everything agonistic is inhuman agony--the joy of confronting or creating a sound argument supported by defensible evidence, for example. Students need to know that soundbites are not sound arguments despite predictions that electronic writing will be aphoristic rather than periodic. Just because writing and learning can be conceived of hypertextually does not mean that rigor goes the way of the dinosaur. Rigor and hypertextuality are not mutually incompatible. Nor is rigorous thinking and hard intellectual work unpleasurable, although American anti-intellectualism, especially in the mass media, would make it so. At a time when the spurious dogmatics of a Rush Limbaugh and Holocaust revisionist historians circulate "aphoristically" in cyberspace, and at a time when knowledge is becoming increasingly textualized, the role of critical thinking in education will ultimately determine the value(s) of socially constructed knowledge. This volume affords the reader an opportunity to reconsider knowledge, power, and new communications technologies with respect to social dynamics and power relationships.
series other
last changed 2003/04/23 13:14

_id 067f
authors Gantt, Michelle and Nardi, Bonnie A.
year 1992
title Gardeners and Gurus: Patterns of Cooperation among CAD Users Perspectives on the Design of CollaborativeSystems
source Proceedings of ACM CHI'92 Conference on Human Factors in ComputingSystems 1992 pp. 107-117
summary We studied CAD system users to find out how they use the sophisticated customization and extension facilities offered by many CAD products. We found that users of varying levels of expertise collaborate to customize their CAD environments and to create programmatic extensions to their applications. Within a group of users, there is at least one local expert who provides support for other users. We call this person a local developer. The local developer is a fellow domain expert, not a professional programmer, outside technical consultant or MIS staff member. We found that in some CAD environments the support role has been formalized so that local developers are given official recognition, and time and resources to pursue local developer activities. In general, this formalization of the local developer role appears successful. We discuss the implications of our findings for work practices and for software design.
keywords Cooperative Work; End User Programming
series other
last changed 2002/07/07 14:01

_id cc68
authors García, Agustín Pérez
year 1992
title Learning Structural Design - Computers and Virtual Laboratories
source CAAD Instruction: The New Teaching of an Architect? [eCAADe Conference Proceedings] Barcelona (Spain) 12-14 November 1992, pp. 525-534
summary This paper shows how the spreading use of computers can improve the quality of education, specially in the field of architecture. An Innovative Teaching Project oriented to the discipline Structural Design of Buildings has been implemented at the School of Architecture of Valencia. The main objective of this project is the transformation of the computer room into a virtual laboratory for simulating the behaviour of structural typologies using mathematical models of them. An environment, specially oriented to Structural Design, has been integrated in a Computer Aided Design platform to teach how design the Structure of Buildings.
series eCAADe
last changed 1998/08/18 14:45

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