We had hoped to be launching the CityLab course in September. We didn’t quite manage to do that in the end. This was disappointing, but useful in the end as it offered more time to pull things together for the coming term in January. It also still means that we can run a pilot in order to see where and how we might be able to scale this up to larger numbers of students, while also having a more realistic idea of the time and effort involved in delivering the class.
A key change in the idea is that now students from both the University of Aberdeen and the Robert Gordon University will be collaborating together in teams on projects with Aberdeen City Council. We still need to iron out the basics of this as UoA starts two weeks ahead of RGU, but I’m sure that we will find a solution for the start and end of the term and projects.
While combining both RGU and UoA students together does mean that each institution can only offer this to ten students apiece each term, it does offer more opportunities for students to share their learning experiences in the course. Now they see how other students learn, while also learning how much they also know from their disciplines, and how combining inter-disciplinary teams works well when looking for creative solutions to problems.
One hold up was getting permission from UoA to run this as a new course. While RGU has ‘independent study’ course options for students to use with this course, we don’t have that option at UoA. This means we need to propose a new course and fill in the usual forms that accompany this too. However, we were ahead of the usual cycle for this, so needed to find out about running a pilot. Happily we’ve now addressed the quality assurance concerns of the appropriate committee heads and should now be able to proceed apace with a course code and finding the students to take the course.
In order to make this work across the institutions we have set up a WordPress site to hold our materials and lay out the common syllabus and week planner for students. You can find this at https://citylababz.wordpress.com/, which will hold resources and materials about the course as well as updates about what projects are being worked on each term.
This has taken longer than expected, but is still just as exciting as we’ll be charting new areas for both institutions and leaving lasting results. All the while we’ll also be bringing design ideas to the people who need them in our institutions, as well as also spreading design ideas to students, who didn’t realise they needed them to help them develop better careers for themselves too.