July 31, 2012 at 6:07 am #156794Justin R. BellParticipant
i would like to get some feed back on an idea for a grad project. having had completed my undergraduate degree in horticulture with a landscape design/build emphasis; as well as the years of practical on the job training, i am seeing the benefits of this in my own career as i merge these experience with my MLA. it is my hope that i could design a course that would allow students to use their studio experience and knowledge, and apply it to an actual project. whether it be a community, commercial, or residential project, that remains to be seen. but the purpose of the course would the give students actual field experience.
With that said i would love to get some feedback on the idea.July 31, 2012 at 3:09 pm #156802Jason T. RadiceParticipant
Be very careful. Unless this is a three day a week thing and you have dedicated students, BE VERY CAREFUL that you can actually write a check your butt can cash. I led a student group in grad school on an independent study course that was to design a memorial. Just design, no install. I had pretty much to run everything, which I was not too thrilled about, as I was not a TA and wanted it to be an solo-project (the course was titled not at all what it should have been). I had a few students who were in into it, but the LA students had “other things” they were involved with, like studio.
I had set out a goal to run it like an office with e-mail communications and hard deadlines for work milestones that were made apparent the FIRST day of class. The final product was to be a set of not-for-construction bid documents. As usual with group projects, even the most basic thing, like a schematic design, was apparently too much for the LA students, with only one other submission other than my own from a landscape management student. We were the only two left with a month to go. I ended up having to do 90% of the work, and 100% of the final work, which was eating into my time for my other classes. I was also the only one to present it in front of the town board for approval to seek the grant for construction, which has not happened and likely never will. I could have EASILY banged out the whole thing in a few weeks if I did not have to wait for the students and their lack of participation. You just cannot depend on student work to pull through on these kind of projects, even if it was for a grade. I ended up recommending failing grades for all but one other student, who got a B. In the end, it wasn’t worth the trouble.July 31, 2012 at 8:19 pm #156801Chris WhittedParticipant
This wasn’t uncommon at the college I attended, but with less build and more design. Many times both grads and undergrads would do something based in the real world that mostly ended up as information/alternatives given to the ‘client’. I recall our entire studio doing some community park work, including facilitating a public involvement session where residents gave input on things they wanted and sat with our teams and cutouts of typical facilities to see what would fit on the site and how to arrange it. My own final project was a concept level plan for a fitness trail at an industrial park – I had some interaction with the owners and they got a copy of what I produced, though I wouldn’t liken it to a real world project with a lot of back and forth. For the most part internships served to give real world field experience in my program beyond what was already incorporated into our studios (which was not insignificant).
I also know there were a couple of actual small built projects that were done by students. The thing there is liability, responsibility, and warranty. You more have to have a company/entity/person actually responsible for the job while the students essentially serve as volunteer labor. And it’s different if it’s just a project built on/for the university than if you’re doing something for an actual unassociated client. I would talk to some of the professors and professionals who have actually run those kinds of projects/courses.July 31, 2012 at 10:08 pm #156800Jason T. RadiceParticipant
Its not a first. We’ve agreed before (though, it has been a while).August 1, 2012 at 3:28 am #156799Tanya OlsonParticipant
Justin – you might be interested in this; http://rawdesignbuild.com/ Its an architect that is an adjunct (I think) at the University of MN who put a summer design-build course together at some property near us. Students have come out for three summers to design and build various projects. The property owner lets them camp on the land and pays for the materials. They arrange for people to come give ‘lectures’ specific to the area…it may not be exactly what you are thinking, but it might help you come up with ideas….August 1, 2012 at 9:25 am #156798mark fosterParticipant
Wouldn’t this be better as a collaborative intern program?August 1, 2012 at 8:02 pm #156797Jonathan P. Williams, RLAParticipant
I did an internship at a D/B after I graduated and I learned a great deal that has helped with my designs. Not just on how to design a landscape so it can be built but how to do so efficiently. Then beyond that I worked for a large commercial landscape maintenance company and learned how to design so it can be maintained without great cost or headaches.
If not a project with hands on building how about a lecture series by contractors and maintenance companies showing the steps they take to set up and complete projects. Or field trips to landscapes currently being built where students can see first hand how things go wrong and how to prevent them.August 1, 2012 at 11:21 pm #156796mark fosterParticipant
Amen. Lectures are one thing–but only one.August 2, 2012 at 12:58 am #156795Justin R. BellParticipant
thank you all for your input. as i see it, the course would be for credit and the project would be managed by a licensed Landscape contractor with student labor as part of the course. i will be in the situation that if the idea is accepted by the college, i would be the course instructor and handle the administration, with contractor coordination. which would include all the organization of materials, donations, etc.
i believe that this experience would benefit the students in that they would have a better understanding of the function of the materials they are designing with; as well as give them a leg up on things when interning.
again, thank you all for your input. i would love to hear from you all more if there is more advice.
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