Increasing Students’ Intercultural Knowledge and Competency

Increasing Students’ Intercultural Knowledge and Competency

Elizabeth Parks

Architectural Technology

Design IV

Activity Description: Provide a brief description of the activity

As part of their design of a new museum building located on the CityTech campus, students are asked to select a theme for their collection that is drawn from their own culture. This gives them an opportunity to perform research to select exhibits and then to share what they have learned with their classmates.

Learning Goals: What do you aim to achieve with this activity?

The goal is to increase their own understanding of their cultural heritage and to develop an attitude toward what they have learned. The process of developing an attitude introduces an external framework to their knowledge and they can use that framework to drive the strategies they employ in their design process. The studio setting of the classroom allows the process and the results to be shared with all the members of the class.

Timing: At what point in the lesson or semester do you use this activity? How much classroom time do you devote to it? How much out-of-class time is expected?

The design of the museum is completed in approximately 11 weeks during a regular semester.

Logistics: What preparation is needed for this activity? What instructions do you give students? Is the activity low-stakes, high-stakes, or something else?

When the project is introduced the students are told that they will chose the theme and content of the museum exhibits. They are asked to reflect on their cultural backgrounds and come up with a theme drawn from their experience or understanding. They are asked explicitly "What do you want to teach visitors to your museum?" For some students the choice is high-stakes, but the selection of a theme is not graded. The theme will influence the design strategy that they use in the creation of the building, and it is hoped that the passion they feel for their theme will further engage them in the design process. However, even students who have a more neutral stance toward their theme are able to successfully complete the project.

Assessment: How do you assess this activity? What assessment measures do you use? Do you use a VALUE rubric? If not, how did you develop your rubric? Is your course part of the college-wide general education assessment initiative?

The students are asked to reflect on their projects, the process and the outcome. And they are asked to respond to the reflections of their peers. The revised assignment, using cultural -based themes for the design, is being taught in the Summer 2020 session and will be integrated into the Fall 2020 semester as well. For the summer session the reflections will be graded as part of the class participation, with a low stakes impact on their grade. The results will be reviewed for Fall 2020.

Reflection: How well did this activity work in your classroom? Would you repeat it? Why or why not? What challenges did you encounter, and how did you address them? What, if anything, would you change? What did students seem to enjoy about the activity?

I was inspired by several students from earlier semesters, who chose to use very personal themes instead of the History of New York , which was part of the original project brief. Those students were engaged very productively in the design process which resulted in very interesting projects. Summer 2020 is the first semester that the cultural theme has officially been part of the project description. I was initially leery about asking students to be ambassadors for their cultures but the response has been very positive so far. About half the students have chosen emotionally charged themes involving topics of colonization, immigration, segregation, and stereotypes. Others have a more neutral position toward the material, but recognize that proposing a museum dedicated to Nubian culture is a statement in its own right.

Additional Information: Please share any additional comments and further documentation of the activity – e.g. assignment instructions, rubrics, examples of student work, etc. These can be links to pages or posts on the OpenLab.

The following is a link to my portfolio on open lab which contains the presentation of the revised assignment created as part of a Gen Ed Living Lab workshop during the Spring 2020 semester.

Syllabi and Assignments

Please share a helpful link to a pages or post on the OpenLab

Syllabi and Assignments

Structure for Architects – Student Video Lessons

Structure for Architects – Student Video Lessons

Ramsey Dabby

Architectural Technology Dept / City Tech

Structures 1

Activity Description: Provide a brief description of the activity

Activity Description
The overriding mission of the college experience is to help City Tech students succeed in the classroom and beyond, by imparting an enthusiasm for lifelong learning. This enthusiasm can be dampened for City Tech’s multicultural population by the cultural obstacles many students face. The concept for this proposal is to enhance the student experience for a course titled “Structures” in the Architectural Technology Department, by stimulating an enthusiasm for this particular area of their studies. The idea encompasses a visual and intuitive approach within the classroom, combined with place-based learning outside the classroom. Aside from conveying technical knowledge, the intent is to create student awareness of cultural barriers that will help them navigate the complexities of today’s world.

Barriers
In a multicultural setting such as NYC in general and City Tech in particular, cultural divides abound. They can be obvious like nationality and religion, or more subtle like age and personality. They can also occur within the profession between its white collar “architectural” and blue color “construction” sides. Caught up in day-to-day problems, we (both students and instructors) tend to overlook these divides that create tensions and stresses in relationships.

Background
Structures is a branch of architectural study dealing with the engineering side of how buildings stand up. Architectural students, as conceptual thinkers, tend to be intimidated by the technical aspects of engineering and tend to “turn off” to their engineering courses. Added to this inherent aversion are the cultural barriers many City Tech students face such as language, family responsibilities, and deficient social support systems. For many, this also includes having to learn a new system of engineering units used in the US – the imperial system in place of their more familiar metric system. In short, the challenge is to address and overcome these cultural obstacles and create an enthusiasm for a course that holds the potential for dread in many architectural students.

Learning Goals: What do you aim to achieve with this activity?

Goals
The goal is to engage students and create enthusiasm for a course in Structures that will serve to further their undergraduate technical knowledge and professional lives upon graduation. This will be done through strategies for both classroom and place-based learning.

Classroom Learning
Conventional structural textbooks tend to be wordy and lacking an intuitive approach to the subject matter. These textbooks present a challenge to City Tech’s multicultural architectural students. Course material will be communicated across cultural and linguistic barriers by conveying structural principles in a visual, intuitive manner through discussion, dialog, and physical “props”, rather than formal “lectures”.

A key component of classroom sessions will be a series of short, five-minute student videos highlighting the essentials of structural principles. Students will be teamed to prepare these videos in discussion format, among themselves and their instructor, supported by physical props. The precedence for these videos is an experimental one I had prepared, without rehearsal and just for fun, to which students enthusiastically responded, overwhelmingly endorsing the concept and asking for more like it.

Place-Based Learning
The classroom experience will be complemented by visits to architectural offices and construction sites, where students will not only will see the professions in action, but also observe the general cultural distinctions and personalities of the two sides of the profession. A goal of these visits to create an awareness that technical knowledge does not work in a vacuum, and that an understanding the interrelationships of personalities, influenced by culture, is an essential part of a successful professional experience.

Timing: At what point in the lesson or semester do you use this activity? How much classroom time do you devote to it? How much out-of-class time is expected?

The strategy is intended to be used throughout the semester. Classroom time will be approximately 10 minutes per session. Two place-based learning field trips will be conducted for a total of approximately 8 hours per semester.

Logistics: What preparation is needed for this activity? What instructions do you give students? Is the activity low-stakes, high-stakes, or something else?

See above.

Assessment: How do you assess this activity? What assessment measures do you use? Do you use a VALUE rubric? If not, how did you develop your rubric? Is your course part of the college-wide general education assessment initiative?

Assessment will be conducted by student essays reflecting on questions such as “why do I like this?” and “what is it that helps me learn?”

Reflection: How well did this activity work in your classroom? Would you repeat it? Why or why not? What challenges did you encounter, and how did you address them? What, if anything, would you change? What did students seem to enjoy about the activity?

Lead discussion on ways to learn without cultural coding; record outcomes of discussions.

Additional Information: Please share any additional comments and further documentation of the activity – e.g. assignment instructions, rubrics, examples of student work, etc. These can be links to pages or posts on the OpenLab.

The experimental video can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4d3eDq_7pw

Please share a helpful link to a pages or post on the OpenLab

Cultural Background and Thermal Comfort

Cultural Background and Thermal Comfort

Jihun Kim

Architectural Technology

Site Planning & Environmental Systems

Activity Description: Provide a brief description of the activity

Reflecting on students cultural background on the thermal environment, microclimate data will be collected and analyzed to find the common range of comfort zone. The process includes the following. 1) Write a short essay on personal thermal environment in the childhood [temperature, humidity, solar exposure, clothing level], 2) Collect microclimate data as individual and illustrate the characteristics of the environment and the clothing types, 3) Visualize the collected data on psychrometric chart and assess for thermal comfort and satisfaction , 4) Analyze the result for the differences and similarities with other students and with ASHRAE standard, while reflecting on the essay on personal history on thermal environment.

Learning Goals: What do you aim to achieve with this activity?

The goal of the assignment is to provide an understanding of how a cultural background would influence thermal comfort of an individual while enhancing student’s capacity 1) to analyze and
2) visualize numerical data, 3) to communicate effectively, and 4) to work collaboratively.

Timing: At what point in the lesson or semester do you use this activity? How much classroom time do you devote to it? How much out-of-class time is expected?

The activity can be deployed in the first class or any class early in a semester. After a relevant background is introduced as a lecture format, students as individual spend 1 hour to measure microclimate data and 1 hour to analyze during the class. Each student writes a short essay outside the class for 1 hour and adds microclimate measurement for 1 hour. Visualizing the data on a psychrometric chart would take 1 hour. Totaling 5 hours in and out of the class, students present their outcome as individuals in the following week.

Logistics: What preparation is needed for this activity? What instructions do you give students? Is the activity low-stakes, high-stakes, or something else?

Handheld device to measure microclimate are required. ASHRAE standards for thermal comfort shall be prepared. Critical writing is associated with the analysis of numerical data.

Assessment: How do you assess this activity? What assessment measures do you use? Do you use a VALUE rubric? If not, how did you develop your rubric? Is your course part of the college-wide general education assessment initiative?

A rubric shall be developed for the assessment. The criteria shall include Data Literacy (GenEd), Intercultural Knowledge (GenEd), Intercultural Knowledge and Competence (Gen), and Climate Analysis (Subject Matter from NAAB Accreditation).

Reflection: How well did this activity work in your classroom? Would you repeat it? Why or why not? What challenges did you encounter, and how did you address them? What, if anything, would you change? What did students seem to enjoy about the activity?

Additional Information: Please share any additional comments and further documentation of the activity – e.g. assignment instructions, rubrics, examples of student work, etc. These can be links to pages or posts on the OpenLab.

Please share a helpful link to a pages or post on the OpenLab

Suspension Workshop

Suspension Workshop

Alexander Aptekar

Architectural Technology & Library /

LEARNING PLACES: UNDERSTANDING THE CITY

Activity Description: Provide a brief description of the activity

In this workshop, you will work in teams and groups of teams to create a model suspension bridge. Your model suspension bridge will be tested until structural failure. In reflections, you will individually analyze the strengths and weaknesses of your modeled suspension bridge.

Learning Goals: What do you aim to achieve with this activity?

• Developing your understanding of suspension structures
• Increasing your analysis and problem-solving abilities
• Sharpening your observation and reflection skills
• Deepening your collaborative team techniques

Timing: At what point in the lesson or semester do you use this activity? How much classroom time do you devote to it? How much out-of-class time is expected?

This workshop should occur towards the beginning of the semester as part of the introduction to observation skills and techniques.

Logistics: What preparation is needed for this activity? What instructions do you give students? Is the activity low-stakes, high-stakes, or something else?

Low-stakes

Each team will utilize the following kit of materials:
• Wood blocks (4” x ¾” × ¾”), 18 min
• String, 8’ lengths
• Straws, 14
• Sheets of paper, 3 @ 4” x 17”
• Scissors
• Masking tape, 3’ length
• Tape measure (only one for the workshop required)

Team goals
Construct a model of a suspension bridge utilizing only the materials provided. The bridge must be strong enough to support at least one cell phone at its center. [Recommendation; offer extra points for every additional cell phone the bridge can support]

Team makeup
Each bridge group will consist of two 3 to 4 member teams. Each team is responsible for one half of the bridge spanning from one of the supporting tables to the center of the bridge.

Bridging the gap
Each bridge group will need to span between two tables set 36” apart.

Bridge assembly
The bridge constructed should include the following parts:
• Anchorage (blocks)
• Deck (paper)
• Main cable (string)
• Suspender cables (straws)
• Tower (blocks)

Timing
Your bridge group will have 20 minutes to develop your solution before testing will commence.

Testing
The structural integrity and quality of your bridge will be tested by checking to see how many cell phones the bridge will be able to support. The class will observe as each bridge is tested. Be ready to document where and what are the causes of structural failure. At 20 second intervals, additional cell phones will be added to the Main span of the bridge until the bridge collapses. [It’s recommended that students be ready to catch their cell phones and have their hands under the bridge at least 3 inches away from the bridge deck]

Assessment: How do you assess this activity? What assessment measures do you use? Do you use a VALUE rubric? If not, how did you develop your rubric? Is your course part of the college-wide general education assessment initiative?

Reflections /Documentation
Each team member will need to post on the Open Lab their reflections on this workshop. Be sure to include the following issues in your reflections:
• What strategy did your team used to solve the problem?
• Did you use the iteration process effectively?
• What were the hardest team organization challenges?
• What are the hardest technical challenges?
• What part of the bridge did you think would collapse first?
• What part did collapse first and why?
• Include at least two photographs, sketches or diagrams in your reflection.

Assessment
This assignment will be evaluated by reviewing your reflections on the Open Lab. The focus of this evaluation will be the lessons learned in this workshop. Additional points will be given for each cell phone your groups bridge could support.

Reflection: How well did this activity work in your classroom? Would you repeat it? Why or why not? What challenges did you encounter, and how did you address them? What, if anything, would you change? What did students seem to enjoy about the activity?

Following are some quotes from student reflections on this project. Additional reflections can be seen at this site:

https://openlab.citytech.cuny.edu/aptekar-berger2205sp2017/assignments/216-reflection-on-suspension-bridgeobservation-sketch/

“Today’s class project was very challenging and hands on. It is something I enjoyed doing because my team worked well together to create a steady bridge. Although, it took some time to figure out how to actually build a proper bridge was kind of difficult considering I know nothing about architecture or building. My team mates worked together from putting straws together to taking down blocks to the table. Overall, we learned that the anchorage is the most important part which is something our bridge lacked. Now we know for next time what to spend more money on.”
Alexandra Linik

“…

3. I learnt that the cabling is as important as the others structures as well. Since it is suspension bridge, both the weight of the deck and the live loads will be hung by the suspenders. So the connection between the horizontal cable and vertical cables should be strong enough to hold all the weights. And the angle of the cable from the anchorage should be calculated in order to reduce the extra forces.

4. Lastly, I think we can design our towers of the bridge more pretty, because I learnt that putting weights on the towers do not help in order to stabilize the bridge.”
Alice Myint

“In today’s class the most interesting and challenging part was to make a suspension bridge using small wood blocks, ribbon, tape, paper and our creative mind of course. I got to know some of my classmates whom I have worked with throughout the project. I think architectural stuffs sounds like easy, but it’s really not and the worst experience was when we made the bridge and it’s collapsed twice. But we did not lose hopes and we made a well -organized and furnished bridge with beautiful two anchorages and deck. The “deck” should be strong because the weight on the bridge is related on the base and it’s connected to the deck of both sides of the bridge. We put 4 phones on the bridge and it was still in the same position, but however it collapsed when 5th phone added on the bridge. But in the class we had much fun when working with as a group. We were very excited to see how others work done and that was the coolest part because we can learn something how they made their own. Overall, it was very cool, making a bridge with elementary stuffs and a great experience to work with my classmates.”
Mdzafar Sadak

“The class project that we have was pretty intresting because we get to work together as we form two group. One group was to build one half of the bridge and the other group would do the other half of it. The challageing part was trying to combine the bridge and form a deck that could support the weight. We through that it would help but as it turn out after we finish building it and testing it that it wasn’t the deck that we create can support the weight it was the anchor was the most important part of it that would have support the weight of it. The thing that i learn most was no matter what type of bridge that people make if the anchor is not strong enough then the whole bridge would fall.”
Alan Qiu

Additional Information: Please share any additional comments and further documentation of the activity – e.g. assignment instructions, rubrics, examples of student work, etc. These can be links to pages or posts on the OpenLab.

I welcome comments and suggestions. I am be happy to provide you with more documentation including diagrams and photographs for this workshop. Don’t hesitate to reach out by email.

Please share a helpful link to a pages or post on the OpenLab

Assessing the Whole Student

Assessing the Whole Student

Jason Montgomery

Architectural Technology/Technology and Design

ARCH 1130 Building Technology I

Activity Description: Provide a brief description of the activity

In this course, students are required to set up their e-portfolioon OpenLab. Here the e-portfolio is used as a learning log, assignment submission system, and assessment tool. All aspects of the student work for the semester are documented and uploaded, including their sketchbook sketches, their notes from assignment readings, as well as their technical drawing assignments.

Learning Goals: What do you aim to achieve with this activity?

There are multiple goals of this approach to using the e-portfolio:
1. Students learn to use an internet tool to present themselves to an audience.
2. The way the students organize the site, the clarity of the presentation, the rigor of the organization, the care put into the graphics (clean scans, neatly cropped versus smartphone picture with poor focus or lighting and background distraction…) is an opportunity to assess digital skills, engagement, presentation skills and to work with students that need help with these.
3. The e-portfolio serves as a learning log, where students can become more conscious of their learning, seeing the connections between various activities in the course and across different courses when this activity is more broadly utilized (breaking out of silos).
4. The faculty can use this tool assess the student holistically, especially with a range of required activities in the course (such as reading comprehension, building foundational knowledge in the discipline, technical drawing, thinking and articulation of ideas through freehand drawing)
5. The e-portfolio becomes a tool for subsequent faculty to assess the skills of students at THE BEGINNING of the semester, so they can tailor assignments and adjust sequence to address needs of that particular group of students.

Timing: At what point in the lesson or semester do you use this activity? How much classroom time do you devote to it? How much out-of-class time is expected?

The e-portfolio must be introduced at the beginning of the semester in order to effectively capture the whole semester of student work. The students require more or less a one hour demonstration of how to set up their site, the interface on OpenLab, scanning and uploading images, adding pages and organizing menus. It is important to show them the support pages on OpenLab and the help desk.

Logistics: What preparation is needed for this activity? What instructions do you give students? Is the activity low-stakes, high-stakes, or something else?

The faculty member may need training in OpenLab to be better able to administer and support this activity. The faculty member and the students could benefit from seeing examples of other’s e-portfolios to inspire and help them visualize what they are trying to do.

This activity is important if it becomes part a broader tool across a department, so the stakes are significant in this context.

Assessment: How do you assess this activity? What assessment measures do you use? Do you use a VALUE rubric? If not, how did you develop your rubric? Is your course part of the college-wide general education assessment initiative?

This activity is a tool that facilitates assessment, but it could be assessed directly too, with a rubric that gauges the care and organization of the site.

Reflection: How well did this activity work in your classroom? Would you repeat it? Why or why not? What challenges did you encounter, and how did you address them? What, if anything, would you change? What did students seem to enjoy about the activity?

The students’ portfolios expressed a wide range of skill and care, but this in itself is useful. As the end of the semester approached, the students had a very clear visualization of what remained to be completed; they had a clear sense of their responsibility to meet the course requirements.

Many students struggle with what are becoming entry level skills with technology: scanning, manipulating and converting files, digital editing… These skills become important to the success of the students, but are often not part of the curriculum. This activity raises awareness of the need to support the students with their development of these skills.

Additional Information: Please share any additional comments and further documentation of the activity – e.g. assignment instructions, rubrics, examples of student work, etc. These can be links to pages or posts on the OpenLab.

A particular component of this activity, which will be documented in a separate L4 activity template, is the reading and note taking activity that was part of the e-portfolio submissions. This activity proved much deeper and more direct as a tool for assessing student reading comprehension than a typical quiz.

Please share a helpful link to a pages or post on the OpenLab

Reading Notes