Adaptation In 3D Modeling Pedagogy: How Covid-19 upended then improved course outcomes
Authors: Betsy Barnhart
Abstract: Covid-19 thrust Industrial Design education into virtual learning in the spring of 2019, with fully remote or hybrid learning continuing at many institutions throughout the 2020-2021 academic calendar. This paper discusses how meeting the needs of students with various levels of ability in a computer-aided design (CAD) course while fully online unexpectedly created a number of novel approaches for teaching and providing feedback for both in person and remote education. Traditionally in person CAD courses have relied on instructors providing brief tutorials followed by students following textbook assignments or completing CAD projects. Many CAD courses have also been using a flipped classroom model, integrating short video demos the instructor would record for students to watch prior to the in person class. This method is preferred by students over traditional lecture format (Boronyak, 2021). When our CAD course was unexpectedly turned into a fully virtual course, neither of these methods effectively met the needs of students. The class time became disjointed, with just one students question taking over the virtual space, leaving other students frustrated. This paper follows the hypothesis that if students learning complex 3D modeling programs are provided with video tutorials beyond short demos, but have access to videos walking through each chapter when learning new content, followed by similar assignments without instruction, students of all abilities will be able to understand and learn the content, developing stronger CAD skillsets as industrial designers. Therefore, the goal is to explore tools for academia to efficiently teach CAD virtually or in person to a broader set of students, raising the abilities and understanding of all students at their own pace.This paper discusses how over three years two scenarios were explored, teaching CAD fully remotely and then integrating the methods used back into in person learning. When fully remote the instructor created videos working through each chapter assigned prior to each class, with added verbal explanations of the content. Additional assignments were created through CAD drawings reinforcing content from each chapter, but without instruction. In addition, the instructor created video recordings of themselves working through students questions in Solidworks, sending only the recording back to the student so they could follow along at their own pace. These teaching methods were integrated into the curriculum when the course resumed in person learning. The videos made it possible for everyone in the class to progress at their own speed, students could reference the videos when the instructor was helping other students. Students continued to email CAD files to the instructor for projects and were provided a video tutorial of the instructor walking through the CAD and explaining how to solve the issues. At the end of the course students perceptions were evaluated by an anonymous survey. CAD projects completed prior to virtual learning and after the course was restructured were compared, showing an increase in build complexity and understanding. We see this initial investigation within this institution as a model for further investigations at other institutions and professional practice.
Keywords: Industrial Design, Design Education, virtual pedagogy
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