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Contextual Learning Concepts Drive Architectural Education to Partner with Industry

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Innovative Teaching in Architectural Engineering

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

23.335.1 - 23.335.13



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Paper Authors


Shahnaz J. Aly Western Kentucky University

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Shahnaz Aly, LEED AP is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Architectural and Manufacturing Sciences at Western kentucky University. She has 3 years of experience in teaching and research, and 10 years professional experience in the architectural and construction industry. She is a registered architect in India. She earned her undergraduate degree in architecture from L.S. Raheja School of Architecture, Master of Architecture from Texas A & M University along with a Certificate in Historic Preservation. Her interests include historic preservation, sustainability, and BIM.

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Laura Elizabeth Leach Western Kentucky University

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Laura Leach, M. Arch. is a registered architect and assistant professor in the Department of Architectural and Manufacturing Sciences. She has ten years of experience in teaching and research including architectural drawing and documentation, studios, modeling, construction methods and materials, and management. She also has three years of professional experience in architectural practice and the construction industry.

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Contextual Learning Concepts Drive Architectural Education to Partner with Industry A collaborative partnership has been developed between the city and the department in theuniversity. The partnership provides the students with a real world working environment and thecity with design proposals for adaptive reuse of underutilized structures.Conceptual and theoretical knowledge gained through numerous courses in the curriculum helpstrengthen student learning and add to their knowledge base. Faculty felt the upper divisionstudents needed more contextual based learning and to have an opportunity to interact with a realclient and solve real problems. “Contextual teaching and learning engages students in significantactivities that help connect academic studies to their context in real-life situations” (Johnson,2002, p. 3). We looked towards the local industry to build and forge partnerships.The city has a number of structures, either lying vacant or underutilized, that have a highpotential for adaptive reuse. This results in a twofold benefit. For the students, it provides anopportunity to apply theoretical knowledge to a real project. For the city the benefits arefinancial, environmental and the recognition that the students are a valuable resource that cancontribute significantly to the community.The city has significant value in the drawings produced which document the current status of thebuilding and the proposed design solutions developed by the students. They can use this data forfeasibility studies, cost estimates, and grant proposals. Due to the high quality of the work, theCity Manager has provided references for students for graduate school or employment upongraduation. Students also received publicity of their work when they were featured in the localmedia.References:Johnson, E. B. (2002). Contextual Teaching and Learning. Thousand Oakes, CA: Corwin Press, Inc.   

Aly, S. J., & Leach, L. E. (2013, June), Contextual Learning Concepts Drive Architectural Education to Partner with Industry Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19349

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