Innovations in Curriculum and Educational Delivery

Nautilus, Summer 2002 issue

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UDM Partners with JesuitNET to Offer Online Course

Architecture associate professors Julie Kim and Daniel Pitera are embarking on a new adventure at the School of Architecture this fall. They will co-teach a course entitled, "The City Viewed through Film - Literature - Media." The course undoubtedly has its innovative curricular components, but what's truly innovative is the course's delivery system: It will be taught entirely online.

The course is part of a JesuitNET program that joined five Jesuit universities in the "Learning Anytime Anywhere Partnerships (LAAP) Grant Project: A Model for Competency-Based Distance Assessment." In September 2000, JesuitNET received a three-year $1,050,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education and the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center to develop and evaluate a new curriculum model and delivery system for supporting competency-based online instruction.

Through the project, the universities (UDM, Loyola University Chicago, Fordham University, Georgetown University, Saint Louis University) developed six online graduate courses. Though the UDM course (described below) is taught through the School of Architecture, it is not restricted to architecture students and should be of interest to students from any academic discipline. Courses taught at the other universities focused on such topics as database systems, bioethics and urban design.

For more information on this innovative course, contact Julie Kim or Dan Pitera. To enroll in the course, call the UDM Admissions office at 313-993-1245.

The City Viewed through Film - Literature - Media

Through the lens of film, literature, and media, this course examines and critiques urban territories. Based on Jacques Lacan's concept of the gaze, we suggest that the "gaze" informs our mental representations of objects and places outside of ourselves. Likewise, those objects/places reflect back to us the way we are represented and constructed. By viewing the city/non-city through images and words, we can begin to place ourselves in an other constructed environment, thereby forming a critical position of our current setting.

Using this alternative media to inform a structured critical analysis, we will engage in spirited and lively discussion of urban design/city. Questions to debate include:

  • city as self-regulated environment vs. city as a planned environment

  • the margins between city and edge cities

  • city and identity

  • the city and the suburbs

  • the city: innovation and tradition

    Urban design occupies the layer between planning and architecture. It is in the realm of urban design that we can begin to have an intellectual debate how architecture [an assemblage of both buildings and landscape] predisposes the individual to a series of behaviors. The basis of our discussions will be on the city as palimpsest and an amplified awareness of our role as architects/designers as we inscribe new transcriptions on existing landscapes. Architecture/landscape at the micro scale is the seam between the user and the building; and, at the macro scale, the seam between the buildings and the city.