Results of the 2018 Curriculum Survey

Contributors
Publication Date
August 30, 2018

At most schools, the beginning of the semester is marked by a ritual of online consultation – the feedback of past students informing current ones about the classes they are poised to take. At the School of Architecture, this ritual has long been replaced by a sacred void into which completed feedback forms are ceremoniously dropped, never to be seen again. Instead, students gather at 6 on 7 to pass on advice and opinions in the oral tradition. Perhaps this is better for community and all that, but as an experiment in transparency, a student-issued curriculum survey was conducted in Spring 2018. Below are the results pertaining to Fall core classes.

Course Scores
Percentages represent the number of students expressing a certain opinion about a course they had taken.

Most applicable to profession
M.Arch I 3rd Sem. Studio 78%
Structures I 66%
Intro to Planning 57%

Least applicable to profession
M.Arch I 1st Sem. Studio 31%
Modern Architecture 27%
Formal Analysis 23%

Assignments are a strength of the course
Formal Analysis 67%
M.Arch I 3rd Sem. Studio 52%
Intro to Planning 50%

Assignments are a weakness of the course
Visualization II (R.I.P.) 65%
Environmental Design 50%
Structures I 46%

Readings are a strength of the course
Modern Architecture 56%
Formal Analysis 39%

Readings are a weakness of the course
M.Arch II 1st Sem. Studio 30%
Intro to Planning 28%
Environmental Design 17%

Best Sections, Tutorials,Workshops
Modern Architecture 47%
Formal Analysis 40%
Environmental Design 39%
M.Arch I 3rd Sem. Studio 39%

Worst Sections, Tutorials, Workshops
M.Arch II 1st Sem. Studio 60%
Structures I 29%
Intro to Planning 26%

The course has no weaknesses
Modern Architecture 36%

The course has no strengths
Visualization II (R.I.P.) 34%
Environmental Design 33%
Intro to Planning 17%

Most relation to personal interests
M.Arch I 3rd Sem. Studio 52%
M.Arch I 1st Sem. Studio 49%
Modern Architecture 47%
Formal Analysis 36%

Least relation to personal interests
Visualization II (R.I.P.) 45%
Environmental Design 33%
M.Arch II 1st Sem. Studio 30%
Formal Analysis 27%

Student Opinions

Environmental Design

Does not expose us to what is new and possible, only the most conservative methods of building.

This course needs to be more than an inventory of existing ways we outfit our buildings and, in addition, look to ways to think outside the box. The instruction method for Systems Integration is very effective and should be considered for Environmental Design too.

Formal Analysis

Such an important way to view and read architecture. Everyone who is in architecture should take this course. Readings, however, were often confusing to the central ideas of the course and were just there for general purposes rather than advancing the coursework.

The course is in a way a cult and the politics around whose drawings are chosen and who becomes TAs is exhausting and singular in the school.

Formal Analysis is a bit of a hazing experience for first-year M.Arch I students, but a worthwhile one. The chance to learn the practice from one of its greatest proponents was valuable.

Professor Iturbe also adds some freshness to the material. It would be beneficial if the professors worked on the explanation of successful/unsuccessful drawings. There were times where their method of assessment was unclear.

This course should be a second year course.  First year students are not equipped with the necessary tools for this class.

Intro to Planning and Development

It was short-sighted, capitalist, soul-crushing information. A horrible introduction to city planning, and honestly – that just made so many of us taking the course feel even worse toward developers.

I felt that this course only covered planning in regards to real estate business and development, but ignored social and political implications of planning i.e. racially biased history of zoning etc.

Lacking in any type of nuance about history, race, socio-economic demography, or other relevant issues in the historic implementation of zoning and planning from governmental organizations and private developers.

The “games” are great learning opportunities but the TAs need to take more responsibility in leading productive workshops. There should be an alternative.

M.Arch I First Semester Studio

Three different prompts in a single semester steers students to produce only what they know, especially in a new environment during the first semester.

Very demanding. Not a lot of time to think through ideas because of so many demands.

A tiring amount of time to spend considering the issue of “storage.”

M.Arch I Third Semester Studio

Good, focused semester with interesting check-in points. I liked the daylighting model as an exercise. Generally strong and open-minded faculty.

I thought this studio was very well organized and well instructed.

Modern Architecture and Society

Curriculum was too Eurocentric.

Lectures were both a strength and weakness because they were expertly delivered, but for students (like myself)  with no foundation in architectural history, the subject matter felt very niche. I can’t say with confidence that I know anything about the major movements of Modern Architecture, even after completing this course.

This class seemed unfocused, like it wasn’t sure if it was architectural theory or history or both.

Structures I

In theory, connecting to studio was a good idea but in practice it turned out horribly.

I might consider offering Systems and Structures in reverse order. I think it would have helped a great deal to know the basic function of structural members/common materials before taking a more theoretical class.

Visualization II (R.I.P.)

The Viz series should be offered as a series of one-month workshops that address different concepts and most importantly, software/fabrication techniques. There should be more options than the required amount of workshops so students can choose which skills they would like to bolster.

Hand drawing is a useful skill but assignments and lectures could have been better formatted and more applicable.

Outdated, more trouble than it’s worth, not applicable to today’s architecture; this is an undergraduate level course.

Publication Date
August 30, 2018
Volume
4
Number
00
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