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Student and teacher perspectives on a multi-disciplinary collaborative pedagogy in architecture and construction

Thomas Leathem (McWhorter School of Building Science, College of Architecture, Design and Construction, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, USA)
Christina Hillesheim (Hiwassee College, Madisonville, Tennessee, USA)
Aressa Coley (College of Education, Mississippi State University, Starkville, Mississippi, USA)
Shane McGregor (College of Education, Mississippi State University, Starkville, Mississippi, USA)

Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning

ISSN: 2042-3896

Article publication date: 11 January 2019

Issue publication date: 29 January 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate a unique pedagogical approach intended to address a need of the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) professions for graduates to work in cross-disciplinary collaborative teams. Addressing this industry need has been challenging for higher education programs in the past. The pedagogy evaluated in this study takes a unique approach to addressing the issue and the aim of the study is to capture the effectiveness of the approach.

Design/Methodology/Approach

This paper presents a qualitative research study evaluating perceptions of students and faculty participating in the cross-disciplinary course experience between architecture and construction. The study evaluated perceived vs received learning outcomes and perceived challenges of the cross-disciplinary course approach. Data were collected from open-ended interviews and observations of students and faculty participating in the course, as well as course artifacts.

Findings

Results of the study indicate alignment between perceived and received outcomes. Identified perceptions of challenges to the approach reflect many identified in previous studies. Areas for future study, and practice in collaborative education within the AEC disciplines are also suggested.

Research Limitations/Implications

This research used a qualitative approach to evaluate perspectives of six students and two teachers in a specific pedagogical approach at one university. Given the small sample size and delimitation of one-course approach, findings from this study are not generalizable to a broader population. In addition to providing valuable data for future quantitative studies on a larger population, the study also provides pedagogical options for other schools to consider implementing and studying. The findings support previous research suggestions that collaborative approaches done early and often for longer durations are needed to address collaborative learning challenges.

Originality/Value

The pedagogical approach evaluated in this study takes a unique approach to addressing a well-documented need in the AEC industry. Information included in this paper demonstrates an approach not yet documented in AEC higher education. Further, it provides a glimpse into the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges that contribute a body of knowledge for others in the discipline to build from. The findings suggest a more in-depth approach may help cross the negative student impressions developed in shorter in-frequent approaches, and begin to develop student understanding of the value and necessity of multi-disciplinary collaboration.

Keywords

Citation

Leathem, T., Hillesheim, C., Coley, A. and McGregor, S. (2019), "Student and teacher perspectives on a multi-disciplinary collaborative pedagogy in architecture and construction", Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, Vol. 9 No. 1, pp. 121-132. https://doi.org/10.1108/HESWBL-03-2018-0026

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited