MACHINE DRAWING: TROUBLES AND OPPORTUNITIES IN MANAGING LABORATORY ACTIVITIES IN AN ONLINE CLASSROOM
Editor: Grierson, Hilary; Bohemia, Erik; Buck, Lyndon
Author: Rizzuti, Sergio; De Napoli, Luigi
Institution: University of Calabria, Italy
Section: Research in Design and Engineering Education Practice
DOI number: 10.35199/EPDE.2021.43
Pandemic Covid19 emergency speeds up universities towards the adoption of Learning Management Systems in order to avoid the physical interaction of students and teachers. Several are the software platforms able to build virtual classes in which the relationship between people is mediated by the web. In the specific case of teaching Machine Drawing, the organization of the course syllabus creates a lot of problems because three types of conjoint activities must be scheduled: lectures, laboratory, and tutoring. Lectures are typically made as one-many relations, also performed online. Really teachers explain the arguments with little interaction with the audience. Tutoring is a one-one relation, in which every student has the opportunity to ask for clarification on not understood or misunderstood topics. Laboratory is the moment in which the hands-on learning activity is performed and when there is the knowledge transfer of all significant topics related to machine drawing and design. How to think about an architectural arrangement of components to reach a design solution for an engineering problem. This last one is really problematic if it is not done by in-person meetings. In fact, generally, it is performed in class with many tables with many students around them and with teachers that exchange information with single or many persons. It must be considered that the initial part of the course Machine Drawing consists of the recall or the first time in which students must draft geometric forms, even by CAD or by hand tools. The authors became to employ Microsoft Teams to manage the virtual class with all activities performed online. The paper describes all the changes made to the course schedule and the way in which Laboratory is performed. In order to not lose the hand nature of most of the activities, the hardware setup is blackboard-friendly. The teacher uses a lot of handwriting, both on a sheet of paper and on the blackboard and the webcams are positioned in such a way that students, online, follow the instructions from a point of view very similar to that of the teacher. Much of the work consists of reviewing the assignments and this is also done online inevitably, working either on scans of the drawings produced by the students using the graphics tablet and suitable software or by showing live the way to solve a drawing problem. All the Laboratory events are recorded for offline learning activities. The exam can only be accessed if the assigned tasks have been completed and verified offline, step by step, by the teacher. The new course organization will be compared with the old one either by assessing the quality of the results of assignments, and by interviewing students, and assessing the result of exams.