New Taubman College Program Rewards Digital Innovation

To help develop a teaching framework for the fall 2020 semester that blends online and modified-residency education, Taubman College recently announced the recipients of the new Spatializing Digital Pedagogies grants. The grant program invited faculty, students, and staff to suggest ways the college can make the hybrid educational experience more compelling. Leaders selected 10 projects to receive support. Anya Sirota, associate dean for academic initiatives and associate professor of architecture, led the review and award process with Jacob Comerci, academic innovation project manager.

Moving classes online in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic required faculty to “quickly translate the individualized, embodied, and immersive learning that Taubman College does best into a stop-gap measure for virtual delivery,” said Sirota and Comerci. While the faculty were able to “structure a provisional space of experimentation, and to deliver on learning goals with a good dose of humanity and care,” Spatializing Digital Pedagogies invited the community to build on new knowledge about the challenges and opportunities implicit in going virtual in order to prepare for the fall semester.

“Spatializing Digital Pedagogies emerged from the understanding that through first-hand experience, our faculty, students, and staff are uniquely poised to reimagine ways high caliber learning experiences might be delivered in the near pandemic-inflected future and beyond. We turned to Taubman College for the best ideas on how to move forward responsibly, inclusively, and rigorously,” Sirota and Comerci said.

They add that the program acknowledges the inherent differences of the 2020–2021 academic year, and that a one-size-fits all remote teaching model won’t serve students well: “In their breadth of concerns and approaches, these projects illustrated a nuanced and light-footed proposition. By calibrating our recent teaching and learning experiences to offer greater flexibility, social connection, and experimentation, they suggest an opportunity to combine in-person and dispersed learning scenarios in productive and liberating ways.”

The Spatializing Digital Pedagogies awardees are:

Detroit NoMoBus Video Orientation Tour
Supports a virtual Detroit city tour that introduces students to the city’s history and inspiring urban projects.

Project team: Eric Dueweke (lecturer in urban and regional planning), Ricardo Iglesias (B.S. in Architecture student), and Christopher LeFlore (M.U.R.P. student)

Online Storefront Renovation and Render Addition
Supports a virtual update of Taubman College’s Media Center.

Project team: Charles Darr (staff), Bill Manspeaker (staff), Jaspar von Bülow (staff), Julia McMorrough (associate professor of practice in architecture), Malcolm McCullough (professor of architecture), Catie Newell (associate professor of architecture and M.S.D.M.T. director), Chris Humphrey (M.Arch ‘20 and M.S.D.M.T. student), David Siepmann (M.Arch student), and Elizabeth Greene (M.Arch student)

Doctoral Colloquium: A Place for Advanced Architectural Research on CMOK
Develops a dedicated Ph.D. space on CMOK for biweekly meetings, video conferences, online workshops, and other tools.

Project team: Robert Fishman (professor of architecture and urban and regional planning and Ph.D. in architecture interim director), Joy Knoblauch (assistant professor of architecture), Bader AlBader (architecture Ph.D. student), Irene Brisson (architecture Ph.D. student), Dicle Taskin (architecture Ph.D. student), and Jieqiong Wang (architecture Ph.D. student)

M.S.D.M.T. Care Package
Supports the procurement of a simple fabrication and computational savvy at-home care package for the M.S. in Digital and Material Technology students — the goal being to maintain the robust connection that the DMT program provides between computational advancement and physical productions and outputs.

Project team: Catie Newell (associate professor of architecture), Glenn Wilcox (associate professor of architecture), Mark Meier (lecturer in architecture), the M.S.D.M.T. faculty cohort, and Ryan Craney (M.S. ‘20)

Agility and Flexibility of Team-Based Virtual Studio Environments and Navigational Platforms for Online (Modular) Technology Instruction
Produces a web platform designed to support remote learning for ARCH672 Systems studios and ARCH527 Integrated Systems courses.

Project team: Sharon Haar (professor of architecture), Mick Kennedy (lecturer in architecture), and Lars Graebner (associate professor of practice in architecture)

Taubman Workshop Online (Channel TWO)
Creates a series of student-produced video shorts that detail Taubman College as an experience — to be shared with incoming students.

Project team: Julia McMorrough (associate professor of practice in architecture), John McMorrough (associate professor of architecture), Megan Clevenger (M.Arch student), Alan Escareno (M.Arch student), Nick Garcia (M.Arch student), Tejashrii Shankarraman (M.Arch student), Shoshanna Sidell (M.Arch student), and Danrui Xiang (M.Arch student)

Expanded Carbon
Provides subscriptions for students to Paperspace, a cloud computing solution offering access to large amounts of processing power without the need to purchase expensive physical equipment.

Project team: Matias del Campo (associate professor of architecture)

Rigging Videography
Develops a mobile recording studio that captures video content for teaching and communication — essentially a cooking show setup — which promotes heuristic knowledge through making, an element that can be lost in remote teaching settings.

Project team: Tsz Yan Ng (assistant professor of architecture), Mackenzie Bruce (M.Arch ‘20 and M.S.D.M.T student), Gabrielle Clune (M.S.D.M.T. student), and Jeffrey Richmond (M.Arch ’20)

3D Graphic Room (3DGR)
Creates a web platform allowing students to upload 3D models that can be manipulated by users in real time. The function of the platform is twofold; to assist in visualization and co-design efforts between student teams and faculty, and to act as a digital archive for digital work produced at Taubman College.

Project team: Mania Aghaei Meibodi (assistant professor of architecture)