Universities and Schools around the world are using ArchiStar Academy to teach the next generation of digital designers
Dr. Benjamin Coorey, PhD, has a strong academic background and intimately understands the challenges Universities and Schools face in teaching Digital Design.
As an Educational Professional, you face many pressures:
Challenge 1 - Staff have different levels of Digital Design Skills
Let’s face it. There are dozens of digital design programs available. An individual staff member is never going to be a complete expert in every single design program. You’ve got Rhino, Revit, Grasshopper, Dynamo, Adobe, SketchUp, Fusion 360, Solidworks and the list goes on and on.
How is one person meant to be a master at every single program? It’s impossible.
This then becomes a challenge in teaching the students. If a student asks a technical question that the lecturer/tutor/teacher can’t answer, it leads to embarrassment for the educator and unfortunately the student loses confidence in the institution.
Challenge 2 - Good quality tutors are hard to source
When Dr. Ben was a Senior Lecturer at University, it was always a huge challenge to recruit and retain good tutors. Like pulling hen’s teeth. Each semester you need to find another batch of tutors who have good communication skills and good technical skills. Not easy.
Challenge 3 - Tutors want to teach design - not software
Once you find the tutors (which is hard enough!) quite often the tutors are more interested in teaching design principles and theory. Not every tutor wants to get their hands dirty in the Revit or Rhino toolbars.
Challenge 4 - Pressure to teach more in less time
Industry is demanding that students graduate with strong software skills. And this means that Universities and Schools are under more pressure than ever before to deliver “project-ready” graduates. Graduates are now expected to be productive right away. The days of taking years to “learn the craft” are over…
Challenge 5 - Difficulty in tracking student skill levels
Many universities and schools would teach for a full semester and rely on a written exam or assignment at the end to assess the student skill levels. Unfortunately this is not an accurate way of actually testing real competence. Struggling students often are too embarrassed to ask for help. Advanced students are forced to stay at the same pace as the rest of the class.
And how do you test someone’s actual software skill? How do you know they didn’t get their “friend” to help out?
Student skill level tracking has always been a huge challenge in digital design.
How ArchiStar Academy came to existence
ArchiStar Academy was started seven years ago by Dr. Ben Coorey. Dr. Ben has a PhD in Digital Architecture and is a Registered Architect. He’s an expert in Parametric Design and does a lot of international consulting and keynote speaking. Big companies and Universities often fly in Dr. Ben to consult with them on very complex projects like Parametric Stadium Design, complex High Rises and Robotics.
Dr. Ben has ten years of experience, done a lot of Lecturing at different universities, and he started to notice some big trends. He was finding that when he first started. Most Universities weren’t teaching any digital design software. They were more focused on teaching design principles.
But as the years went by, Industry and Universities were demanding that students learn the digital design software programs earlier and earlier.
It ended up getting to the stage where Dr. Ben was now teaching the first year students some of the same things he was previously teaching masters level students. There was a huge amount of pressure on the lecturers and tutors to teach more content in less time. Dr. Ben was working crazy hours. It became obvious this workload was not sustainable.
It was massively stressful for the students and the tutors as well. It was a very tough time.
Eventually Ben had a realisation
What if he used his skills with software programming and mixed it with his industry knowledge?
He could build software plugins and an online learning platform. The plugins would help automate manual processes, and the learning platform would help to teach these skills in a consistent way and pass the skills on in a rapid format.
And that’s how ArchiStar Academy was born.
Dr. Ben then showed ArchiStar to the Universities and they loved it. Many have now come on board as members of ArchiStar Academy. You can see how happy they are.
"Our first and second year students are now producing work previously only reserved for Masters-level students. This online learning platform is the fastest way for our students to learn digital design "
Associate Professor M. Hank Haeusler, Director of Computational Design, UNSW.
"Our students are producing brilliant work and having access to this platform means we can cover far more content in the course, get to the structural point, and get there faster"
Dr. Dagmar Reinhardt, Program Director Bachelor of Architecture and Environments, University of Sydney.
"We are excited to roll out this world-class training platform to our Australian and overseas offices "
Tim Fitzhardinge, Civil Project Engineer, Wood & Grieve Engineers.
"I really enjoyed the videos, they are so clear and easy to understand. So amazing to see what can be done!"
Stephanie le Grange, KD Marine Design.
Dr. Ben’s mission is to empower the next generation of digital designers. He is all about speed, workflow and brilliant designs.
Our amazing assessment tool
If you are using any other digital design software program, we test using multiple choice assessments. We have online assessments for Revit, Adobe, Rhino, Grasshopper, SketchUp, Dynamo and AutoCAD.
Individual student performance tracking
Based on the assessment, each individual receives tailored feedback and recommendations on what they need to learn next. And all of the training is included in the ArchiStar ELITE online platform.
Embed ArchiStar Academy into the learning curriculum
Many universities and schools now embed ArchiStar Academy courses into the learning curriculum, and use the ArchiStar Academy assessments as formal assessments that count towards the final grade.
Our Rapid Learning Methodology
University Students digitally fabricate Full Scale Structure prototypes in just six weeks using ArchiStar Academy
About RMIT and the MDIT (Masters in Design Innovation & Technology) Studio
We are excited to showcase one of our Universtiy Members RMIT and the amazing work they have been able to achieve with their students.
The MDIT Studio titled Structural Orchestra challenged students to use Echopanel as the material to develop an installation that investigates the possibilities of acoustic attenuation in space.
RMIT is one of the top Universities globally to study Architecture, ranked 33rd globally in the 2016 QS World University rankings.
From the outset the studio tasked the students to be prepared to construct their proposals, or a part of it, at full scale.
The students were introduced to ArchiStar Academy to fast track learning their digital design skills as the studio was an intense short 6 week class.
Continue reading to find out more about the project.
Protoype by: Awnili Shabnam, Jiashuai Wang, Shuchi Sharma, Prabhnoor Kaur, Rui Xue, Komal Lakhanpal, Mingfei Guo, Hu Li
ArchiStar Academy Expert Support
As part of the ArchiStar Academy Campus subscription, students have access to our Live Expert chat where they can ask questions to the ArchiStar Academy team.
This helps to speed up learning and comprehension of new digital design software such as Rhino, Grasshopper, Revit, AutoCAD and Dynamo.
"With the live expert chat feature, we no longer have to answer repetitive questions. We can now focus on helping students with more advanced topics." - Chen Canhui, RMIT
"We have been using the ArchiStar Academy training platform this year and we are delighted with the results
our students are achieving.
Students were able to produce 1:1 Wall structures in a short six week Digital Fabrication intensive course." - Chen Canhui, RMIT
Here are some more final images of the finished design project.
Associate Professor Jane Burry with Canhui Chen, Dharman Gersch, Ronnie Lacham / Students: Ben Mohammed Sahadan, Lisa Malou Smits, Jason Ng Chi Kai, Jeff Soh Hui Xiang / Photographs: Marc Morel | Partner: Woven Image
UNSW Students Generate Dozens of City Designs Through Software Programming
Associate Professor M. Hank Haeusler, UNSW Director of Computational Design, wanted Second-Year students to develop an “Urban Simulator” program, where they could generate city designs from scratch using computational design methods. To do this, the students needed to learn how to program their own software tools and work as a team. UNSW achieved this with the help of the ArchiStar online learning platform. Using ArchiStar Academy, students were rapidly trained up in Rhino, Grasshopper and Python Advanced techniques.
They then used their new skills to automatically generate dozens of city designs based on several variables including:
- Number of Parks
- Number of Buildings
- Building Setbacks
- Building Heights
- Transport configuration
“We have been delighted with the results our students have achieved. The ArchiStar online learning platform is world class. Our first and second year students are now producing work previously only reserved for Masters-level students. And our tutors can focus on teaching design strategy rather than troubleshooting software programs” Associate Professor M. Hank Haeusler, Director of Computational Design, UNSW
The results can be seen below: