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Combating Silos in Education: 1916 remembered. A Collaborative Response

Author John McDonald
Abstract Working across faculties: a case study. This project is a collaboration between several groups within the design and media faculties. BA Interiors, Fashion, Journalism, Photography and MA Interior Architecture collaborated on a problem based learning initiative that was embedded in the centennial commemorations of the 1916 Irish uprising.

The objective was to break down perceived silos in how the faculty and the students approach their project work, to broaden the collaboration between student groups, academic faculties, community and industry, to stimulate within the students a deeper engagement in their studies using the topical national celebration of the remembrances of the events of 1916.

A problem based learning project was created around the people, places and events of 1916 that engaged fashion, interior design and interior architecture students at undergraduate and post graduate level. Design, media and photography faculties collaborated on tutoring, mentoring, recording and cross checking the student work. Industry and community were invited to offer feedback as the process developed. This led to opportunities to display the combined project work to a wider public when completed that coincided with the national celebrations.

All stakeholders: students, tutors, industry and public offered responses to the initiative. Current relevant research literature was reviewed. A series of surveys was conducted with the students who engaged in the process. Those students who participated were very engaged and successful in their learning outcomes, but other student groups not participating felt overshadowed. The experience determined that clear and open communication throughout the process is a priority for all.

It was concluded that within problem based learning, a project that crafted to engage the attention of a variety of learners and tutors , that is attractive to invite participation by industry can create avenues of engagement and communication between faculties and beyond to Community. However careful planning that is sensitive to all, flexibility, co-operation and communication between all stakeholders are key aspects to a successful conclusion for all involved.

Keywords Silos in Education, Collaboration in Design Education, Engagement with Industry and Community, Student Engagement
Published In ICEP Proceedings
Year 2017
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