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This issue of CDTL Brief features articles on Collaborative Learning and Other Methods of Meaningful Student Engagement, including discussions on combining experiential learning with community service to enable service learning, giving students the chance to exercise their critical thinking skills by letting them build their own mental frameworks for a module, and a reflection on the merits as well as challenges of assessing class participation.

September 2010, Vol. 13 No. 1 Print Ready ArticlePrint-Ready
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Merging Service, Teaching and Problem-Based Learning in a Hands-on Design for Sustainability Course in Industrial Design
Dr Carlos Alberto Montana Hoyos
Department of Architecture

Juggling between Teaching, Research and Service

The three main activities in academic life, which are the main components of any lecturer’s work in most universities nowadays, are teaching, research and service. As a young professional trying to find my own path within academia, it seems to me that most educators regard these as competing activities, one taking time from the other. As such, it is usual to find that most choose to focus mostly on research and teaching. Furthermore, in most researchoriented universities, excelling in research is desirable for one’s academic development and tenure, even if this compromises one’s dedication to teaching.

Coming from a creative field such as Industrial Design (ID), with an awareness of the necessary naivety and optimism which fuels creativity, but without much previous research save for some insights from my own experience, I think the synergy created between the three activities can provide an integrated and more meaningful creation and sharing of knowledge. This idea of integration of the three areas of academic life is summarised in Figure 1.

Many times the boundaries between disciplines offer the most exciting possibilities, as is the case of Industrial Ecology, just to name a recent field of study that comprises seemingly opposite professions. The following are just a few possibilities:

  1. Teaching-based research,

  2. Teaching-based service,

  3. Service-based research,

  4. Service-based teaching,

  5. Research-based teaching, and

  6. Research-based service.

Figure 1. Integration of the three areas of academic life

Problem solving seems to be inherent to design. Within the scholarship of pedagogy, one of the diverse tools widely explored today is problembased- learning (PBL):

The PBL process is conducted in small groups of 5–6 members per group. Learning starts with a problem. Students assume responsibility and plan their own learning. They engage in collaborative learning. They use problem solving and reasoning skills to clarify and identify the problem, generate ideas, and seek new and related knowledge to solve the problem. On completion, they ref lect on their work and receive feedback from peers to improve themselves (Wee, 2003, p. 6).


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Inside this issue
The Collaborative Learning Model
Merging Service, Teaching and Problem-Based Learning in a Hands-on Design for Sustainability Course in Industrial Design
Grading Class Participation
Reframing Mental Models: A Different Approach to Summarising A Module