The past two years have been like a roller coaster ride for the world. The coronavirus pandemic has been a wake-up call for everyone. During these times, the adaptation of the new lifestyle was significantly permanent. As said by many, “life is constantly changing”; we should adapt to the change to create a better future. Similarly, in architecture, change is constant. New technologies and design quirks have been emerging exponentially. With everything changing significantly, the economy has taken a hit, businesses have been shut down, and students have been in the most oblivious state and have a confused mind about their future. Online education is new to all, but the practice of online teaching and learning has fazed the architecture community. 

Impact of online teaching on architectural education. - Sheet1
The face of online teaching_©Cams High School

Learning architecture means not only designing structures but also going out to places for inspiration, site visits, and case studies. With the covid-19 pandemic putting a halt on good old college days, architecture ceases to amaze you even on your screens. Presently, online teaching has become a new way of learning. The aspects of distance learning have been emerging simultaneously. Nevertheless, the basic design course teaching and the in-studio design learning cannot be replaced with online education. The whole nature of architectural education is based on the point of contact between the students and professor in the same room. As professionals and architecture students, many of us think that the growth that is required in the concepts of architecture can be accomplished only with in-studio design teaching.

In times of the pandemic and change in structure, social media and telecommunication applications have instantaneously become an essential part of the university module. Learning to strive out of our comfort zones and the uncertain ways of thinking on our feet is a challenge in itself. As part of the academic curriculum, the annual events, semester-end design juries, and thesis presentations and discussions have been like a tradition for years. Along with seminars, lecture series in a room full of people in the auditorium, increasing networking with people with one-on-one sessions, and the class shenanigans will no longer exist with online education systems.

As service providers, architects are often the ones to provide a tangible solution for the intangible visions. The pandemic may have caused a halt on the construction but the visions of architects have been working despite the pandemic. As architecture is a practical practice, the site visits, overseeing material procuration, extrapolating the study of the surroundings has been the need of the hour. The approach on how the work of architects has changed is serving to rethink the curriculum of architectural education. The schools need to change the course on how to impart the knowledge required to be an architect. The change that is due may even bring in a transition that is essential as well as appealing for the design briefs to make a difference in the world. 

The unfamiliar situation of online teaching and learning has left students with no pressure and no stress about the upcoming exams or submissions. In this situation, the fact that students’ attention has been diverted to games and social media is to blame that no one can be responsible for. Architecture studios have always been the essence of creativity. Thus said, the students have been finding it difficult to harness the creativity that is needed to be productive and create a design that will boost their knowledge in the field. The practical knowledge that is needed in the profession of architecture for the students to encompass the teachings is found to be lost in oblivion.

The transformation of learning_©Times Higher Education

While dealing with the mindset of a person, the surroundings determine the situation. Online learning has a peculiar way of influencing the mind during the situation of the pandemic. With every dilemma, there are two ways to look at the situation. Social distancing is teaching us to be more independent and efficient, nurturing our strengths to take on impossible tasks, and allowing us to learn new software on our own to present our work more creatively. The other side of the story has unfriendly psychological effects on students. People are more likely to be depressed, students have lost the fun, free spirit, and limitless banter of the social circle they used to survive in every day in the classrooms. While comparing our work, and getting new ideas from working in studios, now the process has been elongated by creating a restraint on their creativity.

Adapting to the world of online learning is proving to be tough on architecture students. Nevertheless, the field of architecture is evolving quite rapidly. The ever-changing technologies and latest trends have been a huge help in the process of online education all over. Even so, with the changing situations, architects have been known to adapt quite well to strange scenarios. The covid pandemic being one side of the coin, the leadership that is essential for designing structures and urban developments falls on us architects, and being able to manage as well as better adapt to such situations is another side of the coin. Architects are the ones that can effortlessly guide the way through the changes in the way of living.


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Abha Haval is an Architect who has a vivid imagination of this world. She believes that every place has a story to tell and is on a mission to photograph the undiscovered whereabouts of various cities and narrate the story of its existence.