After attending a conference on student success in 2010, Architecture Instructor Deborah Bird and Engineering Instructor Salomon Avila, saw a need for targeting the needs of design students jumping into an ever-changing and over-competitive technological world.
Students struggle to find the necessary classes to advance in their studies and be up-to-date with the necessary new skills. With this in mind, Bird and Avila developed the Design Tech Program.
“Students need to learn critical thinking along with the technical and creative skills necessary in these competitive fills, in contrast with the obsolete method of creating a class for just a certain skill” Bird explained .The program’s goal is to prepare students to be on the cutting edge of technology while enjoying and acquiring skills that will benefit them for life, added Avila.
This instruction method is applied in all basic classes that students in the program are required to take together. “Although these classes teach the regular curriculum, the learning process is more hands-on”, Avila said. “Students are presented with a problem and then motivated to learn the necessary skills to solve the problem”.
Jay Cho, mathematics instructor collaborating with the program has noticed the positive effect of this teaching method. “Since students are already interested in the solution to the problem they are more eager and motivated to acquire the necessary knowledge and apply it”, he said.
Jasmin Fabela, 19, fashion, was looking for a pre-algebra class. While searching the class catalogue she came across the Design Tech program in its first semester of existence. She remembers her experience in the program fondly. ” I feel more ready to see how everything that I learn is related and useful, even subjects that I always hated”, Fabela said.
Sandra Gonzalez, 20, Mechanical Engineering, points out, ” being part of it [the program] doesn’t only give me the skills that I need but a different view on design since I have to collaborate with other designers with completely takes and views on design.”
The program started last fall with a high level of success ,28 out of 32 students completed the first semester . On their second semester they had guaranteed enrollment in entry-level classes in a chosen discipline during the second semester of the program.
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