Concurrent Session 7

Brief Abstract

Intellectual and colloquial exchange around the creation of a single-source, online database with a unique mode of sharing technical knowledge and theoretical information that engages twenty-first century education deeply shaped by technology, grounded in instant connection, and populated by wide-ranging digital data to enhance web-based teaching and learning.


With an M.S. from the University of Cincinnati and a B.S. from Ohio University, Helen Turner is also NCIDQ certified and a LEED accredited professional with over four years of professional design experience. As a faculty member in the School of Interiors at the University of Kentucky since 2011, she has taught all levels of studio and a variety of support courses. Her interest in history, sustainability, materials, and home have awarded her unique opportunities, including work on an archaeological dig in the ancient city of Pompeii as well as revitalizing a community garden on the University of Kentucky campus. Utilizing these interests and experiences as a unique framework for conducting research, pedagogy, and service, Helen’s main focus is on 'materials' and various interpretations of the term as a means of expressing the ways in which design adds value to environmental experiences.

Additional Authors

Patrick Lee Lucas, Director, School of Interiors, University of Kentucky College of Design. (Ph.D. American Studies, Michigan State University, 2002; M.A. Interior Design, University of Kentucky, 1996; BArch, University of Cincinnati, 1988) leads seminars, teaches lecture courses, and facilitates studio interactions by engaging in community conversations and encouraging students to think about the place of design in the world. Active in history, American studies, and design organizations, he has given numerous papers in the United States and abroad and has published in several journals. From 2002-2013, he taught in the Department of Interior Architecture at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, winning several teaching awards, serving as a both an Honor’s College and Service Learning fellow, as well as directing the university’s Faculty Teaching and Learning Commons. In 2014, he published Modernism at Home, a catalog profiling the work of architect Edward Loewenstein.

Extended Abstract

The DESIGN DRIVE: A single-source, online database that is designed, utilized, and marketed for sharing information, news, research, and trends pertinent to faculty and students…an online design encyclopedia. As a repository, the site will be curated and maintained by faculty, generating an open source collection of materials, like links, videos, lectures, images, etc., and internally utilized as a resource for many courses in the program, presenting an opportunity to learn where moments of synergy, integration, and opportunity exist. By organizing and streamlining technical knowledge alongside theoretical information, the DESIGN DRIVE hopes to ensure both are covered equally and consistently throughout the program, providing students and faculty with regular access to resources for augmenting course material, discussions, or review. Research related to the creation of this online resource for web-enhanced teaching and learning, though intended for higher education, could be applicable for additional audiences of varying web-based expertise.  By engaging presentation attendees in discussions and virtual interaction with a beta version of the DESIGN DRIVE, our project team hopes to not only gather insight from educational peers beyond the field of design, but would hopefully provide strategies and guidance as to how other programs might institute similar approaches to online learning.

The School of Interiors at the University of Kentucky offers a professional and accredited degree program with a faculty that embraces innovation in conveying learning objectives.  We believe the fundamentals of design and education exist in human-centered practice, advanced through a multi-layered, sensory-laden, and connective way of experiencing the world. Embracing a holistic pedagogy, rather than disjointedness which both faculty and students might experience when encountering subject matters discretely, we find it time to advance the curriculum and its meaningful impact through online instruction.  Meeting twenty-first century students in their world deeply shaped by technology, grounded in instant connection, and populated by wide-ranging digital data, we are developing a unique mode of sharing, known as the DESIGN DRIVE. 

Building on past success with hybridization of a few courses, the School of Interiors is in the midst of researching and creating the DESIGN DRIVE, which will allow students and faculty to freely access and share digital content related to a wide range of subject matters. Such aspirations give way to the overarching question: What is the efficacy and accessibility of an instructional and educational digital resource and how might such a resource affect the development of teaching and learning? Because much of what educators do relies on interpersonal interactions, this project is intended to stretch the boundaries of what it means to work through online means, knowing that the next evolution of pedagogy must involve digital pathways.

In addition to hybrid instruction, the School of Interiors faculty regularly deploys digital means to deliver lectures, demonstrations, readings, experiences, and guest lectures. In higher education, this scattershot approach might be countered by a scaffolded curriculum, within which each experience builds on the last, culminating in a capstone project (Kuh, 2008). In this project we examine the implications of a scaffolded approach to design education that focuses on intentionally embedded hybrid elements and courses across the breadth of the program, bringing the possibility of scholarship on teaching and learning in design. Moreover, as the faculty each brings experience to teaching, their multiple voices resonate beyond the “sage on the stage” model for most design education delivery. With the DESIGN DRIVE, faculty will have the opportunity to provide students with expanded opportunities to innovate and learn through online visual exploration, photography, video recording, virtual field visits, interactive websites, and other forms of engagement. Further, through the deployment of new technology rich strategies, assessment and evaluation of the DESIGN DRIVE will yield significant opportunities and approaches to keep the active pedagogy alive throughout a course’s entirety. Holistically, data will be collected by a mixed methods approach, emphasizing both qualitative and quantitative aspects alongside student learning outcomes. The success of the project will be measured by looking across this data and interpreting trends, issues, successes, and challenges. 

What might all of this mean?  A student who excels at writing might do well in more traditional courses whereas students with greater ranges of skills and abilities across a variety of media and approaches would thrive in the rich environment envisioned under this project and present on the DESIGN DRIVE.  In terms of student success, engagement, and retention, the teaching team asserts that more active classrooms and online experiences will foster greater interest and understanding by students about the materials and concepts covered.  It follows that a deeper commitment to the curriculum by both students and faculty will likely emerge as a result, boosting connectivity and a community of learners. More so, the School has identified the need for a single-source database to provide faculty with a broader opportunity for collaboration with one another and other users of the DESIGN DRIVE for sharing information and techniques valuable for enhancing course materials as well as individual research interests.  For instance, one professor might find and share a video about concrete, which illustrates how it is made and how it can be used in building projects.  The History and Theory of Interior Environments course might use this video to introduce students to the material, but also to indicate how the material has changed since the Ancient Roman era when it was originally created.  Then, the Interior Construction Systems course, could reference this video to talk about the structural capacity of concrete as it relates to the construction of interior environments.  Similarly, the Interior Finish Materials course may have students watch the video as a way of expressing the properties and characteristics of concrete as it relates to human interaction, as in a countertop.  Finally, an instructor of a project-based studio course could review the video when specifying and implementing concrete in a design component. On the other hand, students will use the website as a single source for relevant information and tools that would be accessible throughout their years in the program, with the hopes that they would stay connected and use the website as a resource as practicing professionals. With an ability to collect, curate, and disseminate expert information, the platform expands the population reached by the School of Interiors without compromising the education we provide with the potential for global impact.

Though all implications for this project have yet to be detailed, our program feels it would be useful to see some possible transformations in thinking about our students, the development of digital and technical skills, and the mastery of information necessary for success in practice.  Thus, the format and intentions of this presentation revolve around engaged and interactive dialogue about the potential the DESIGN DRIVE has to transform the way educators and students work, learn and share with one another, creating a catalyst for change while enriching and deepening our collective instructional prowess and the positive learning that results from a strong commitment to teaching and learning.



Kuh, George D. 2008. High-Impact Educational Practices: What They Are, Who Has Access to Them, and Why They Matter. Assn of Amer Colleges.