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Speculations on the post-pandemic university campus – a global inquiry

Speculations on the post-pandemic university campus – a global inquiry The pandemic-induced global shift to remote learning calls for rethinking the foundations of design for higher education. This watershed moment in global health and human interaction has accelerated changes in higher education that were long emergent and amplified specific deficiencies and strengths in pedagogical models, causing institutions to reevaluate current structures and operations of learning and campus life as they question their vision and purpose. Since physical space has largely been taken out of the equation of university life, it is evident that fresh design research related to this new normal is required.Design/methodology/approachThis qualitative research study speculates on new possibilities for the future of campus, based upon insights and inferences gained from one-on-one interviews with faculty and students in multiple countries about their personal experiences with the sudden shift to the virtual classroom. The longer the mode of physical distancing stretched through Spring 2020, these phone and web-enabled dialogues – first with faculty (teachers) and then with students (learners) – lead to a deeper, more nuanced understanding of how the notion of the campus for higher education was itself morphing in ways expected and unexpected.FindingsAt the heart of this study lies the question – Has COVID-19 killed the campus? This study suggests that it has not. However, campuses are now on a path of uneven evolution, and risk shedding the good with the extraneous without eyes-wide-open rethinking and responsive planning. This two-part qualitative analysis details the experiments and strategies followed by educators and students as the pandemic changed their ways of teaching and learning. It then speculates out-of-the-norm possibilities which campuses could explore as they navigate the uncertainty of future terms and address paradigm shifts questioning what defines a post-secondary education.Research limitations/implicationsThis paper draws inferences from discussions limited to the first 100 days of the pandemic. This on-the-ground aspect as the pandemic continues is its strength and its limitation. As Fall 2020 progresses across global campuses, new ideas and perspectives are already reinforcing or upending some of this paper's speculations. This researcher is already engaged in new, currently-ongoing research, following up with interviewees from Spring 2020, as well as bringing in new voices to delve deeper into the possibilities discussed in this paper. This follow-up research is shaping new thinking which is not reflected in this paper.Originality/valueDesign practitioners have long-shaped campuses on the belief that the built “environment is the third teacher” and that architecture fosters learning and shapes collective experience. Educators recognize that a multiplicity of formal and informal interactions occur frequently and naturally across campus, supporting cognitive and social development, collegiality and well-being. Even today's digital-native-students perceive the inherent value of real interpersonal engagement for meaningful experiences. This research study offers new planning and design perspectives as institutional responses to the pandemic continue to evolve, to discover how design can support what lies at the core of the campus experience. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Archnet-IJAR: International Journal of Architectural Research Emerald Publishing

Speculations on the post-pandemic university campus – a global inquiry

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References (2)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
2631-6862
DOI
10.1108/arch-10-2020-0245
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The pandemic-induced global shift to remote learning calls for rethinking the foundations of design for higher education. This watershed moment in global health and human interaction has accelerated changes in higher education that were long emergent and amplified specific deficiencies and strengths in pedagogical models, causing institutions to reevaluate current structures and operations of learning and campus life as they question their vision and purpose. Since physical space has largely been taken out of the equation of university life, it is evident that fresh design research related to this new normal is required.Design/methodology/approachThis qualitative research study speculates on new possibilities for the future of campus, based upon insights and inferences gained from one-on-one interviews with faculty and students in multiple countries about their personal experiences with the sudden shift to the virtual classroom. The longer the mode of physical distancing stretched through Spring 2020, these phone and web-enabled dialogues – first with faculty (teachers) and then with students (learners) – lead to a deeper, more nuanced understanding of how the notion of the campus for higher education was itself morphing in ways expected and unexpected.FindingsAt the heart of this study lies the question – Has COVID-19 killed the campus? This study suggests that it has not. However, campuses are now on a path of uneven evolution, and risk shedding the good with the extraneous without eyes-wide-open rethinking and responsive planning. This two-part qualitative analysis details the experiments and strategies followed by educators and students as the pandemic changed their ways of teaching and learning. It then speculates out-of-the-norm possibilities which campuses could explore as they navigate the uncertainty of future terms and address paradigm shifts questioning what defines a post-secondary education.Research limitations/implicationsThis paper draws inferences from discussions limited to the first 100 days of the pandemic. This on-the-ground aspect as the pandemic continues is its strength and its limitation. As Fall 2020 progresses across global campuses, new ideas and perspectives are already reinforcing or upending some of this paper's speculations. This researcher is already engaged in new, currently-ongoing research, following up with interviewees from Spring 2020, as well as bringing in new voices to delve deeper into the possibilities discussed in this paper. This follow-up research is shaping new thinking which is not reflected in this paper.Originality/valueDesign practitioners have long-shaped campuses on the belief that the built “environment is the third teacher” and that architecture fosters learning and shapes collective experience. Educators recognize that a multiplicity of formal and informal interactions occur frequently and naturally across campus, supporting cognitive and social development, collegiality and well-being. Even today's digital-native-students perceive the inherent value of real interpersonal engagement for meaningful experiences. This research study offers new planning and design perspectives as institutional responses to the pandemic continue to evolve, to discover how design can support what lies at the core of the campus experience.

Journal

Archnet-IJAR: International Journal of Architectural ResearchEmerald Publishing

Published: Mar 30, 2021

Keywords: Future of campus design; Post-pandemic campus; Speculative design

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