Collaborative Design Processes: A Class on Concurrent Collaboration in Multidisciplinary Design
The rise of concurrent engineering in construction demands early team formation and constant communication throughout the project life cycle, but educational models in architecture, engineering and construction have been slow to adjust to this shift in project organization. Most students in these fields spend the majority of their college years working on individual projects that do not build teamwork or communication skills. Collaborative Design Processes (CDP) is a capstone design course where students from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Florida learn methods of collaborative design enhanced by the use of information technology. Students work in multidisciplinary teams to collaborate from remote locations via the Internet on the design of a facility. An innovation of this course compared to previous efforts is that students also develop process designs for the integration of technology into the work of multidisciplinary design teams. The course thus combines both active and reflective learning about collaborative design and methods. The course is designed to provide students the experience, tools, and methods needed to improve design processes and better integrate the use of technology into AEC industry work practices. This paper describes the goals, outcomes and significance of this new, interdisciplinary course for distributed AEC education. Differences from existing efforts and lessons learned to promote collaborative practices are discussed. Principal conclusions are that the course presents effective pedagogy to promote collaborative design methods, but faces challenges in both technology and in traditional intra-disciplinary training of students.
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