BAS Town Hall: Q and A

Questions and answers from BAS Town Hall, June 11, 2020

GENERAL

Q: Will tuition be reduced because class is online?

A: Tuition will not be reduced. This is a university, not a departmental decision that is in line with universities across the province.

Q: Will any classes be held at the university in the fall?

A: There will be no BAS classes this fall.

Q: Will there be a chance of the fall term transitioning to on-campus learning?

A: No, classes will remain closed till the winter term at the earliest.

 

ONLINE LEARNING

Q: How effective will the online classes be if there is supposed to be a lot of hands-on work?

A: They are effective. We have developed the workflow in the winter and summer terms of 2020. While nothing can compare to learning in a space together, we are confident that our online learning can give students the knowledge and skills to pursue their BAS education.

Q: Have you tested the online classes to see if it works? Will you do a test with the students in August before the program begins?

A: Yes, we have been testing different software since February, and particularly for the summer studio. We will have made a final decision by the middle of the summer, which we will convey to our current students.

Q: Will classes be on Zoom or pre-recorded?

A: Both. Lecture classes will most likely be pre-recorded. Classes with more interaction with the instructor will be on Zoom. This is to the discretion of each instructor, but our focus is on equity, to ensure everyone has equal access to materials and faculty.

Q: Will assignments be the same as the usual in-person courses? How will tests/summative work function?

A: No, some assignments will have to be amended at the discretion of individual faculty and our current best practice standards. Re: exams: Carleton had several issues with testing at the end of the last term. We are looking for new ways that will reduce collaboration during exams.

Q: Will there be a reduced amount of work in each class because classes are online?

A: No, course outputs will remain relatively the same, but we are working to ensure that the work is possible off-campus. Some skills are difficult to learn online. Therefore, the changes to workload are more related to technique than the amount of output.

Q: Will we be submitting everything online for these classes? (With scans of our work?)

A: Yes, you might produce physical work where you live, but you will be submitting images, or videos, etc. through the university’s online portal – CULearn.

Q: Will there be lessons/courses that allow us to interact with other students as well (such as drawing inspiration from their work), as opposed to just one-on-one with TAs or professors?

A: Yes, this is what we are trying to develop over the summer. We know that learning online is not a replacement for physically being together, but what we hope with the optional summer activities and developing a new workflow is that students can interact with each other as possible to build a strong student community. This has always been important to the school, but it is even more important this year because people are dispersed and isolated. That means we have to put many support systems and accessible modes of social interaction in place.

Q: What are you planning as the alternatives to the field trips during fall term?

A: Those will have to be deferred until we can come together again. We have the opportunity to use mediums like film and other digital modes, but arguably there is nothing like being physically at a place.

Q: Will you be doing some in-person teaching? I think that students in Ottawa should be able to gather in smaller groups. Could even do walks together downtown to see buildings?

A: For equity reasons, we have decided as a faculty not to meet with local students. Therefore, we will not organize field trips through the school. Students are welcome to meet as long as they follow the provincial guidelines.

Q: Will we be model making even though we may not have access to the studio? 

A: Yes, but the models will be smaller, of readily available materials, and we are simplifying the techniques that we are teaching you.

Q: I currently live in outside of Ottawa, and I was wondering since classes are being given online, will I be able to complete the semester from home?

A: Yes, you should live where you feel the most comfortable and most supported. You will need a workspace, and we will discuss how that might look. Because learning architecture online will be new for everyone, we recommend that you live in a place where you do not feel isolated.

Q: What is the computer requirement in the first year?

A: Most standard laptops or desktops are fine. The recommendation for Adobe CS is Intel® or AMD processor with 64-bit support; 2 GHz or faster processor, 8 GB of RAM, and 3.1 GB or more of available hard-disk space (more required for installation). Also important is a reasonable internet speed for both download and upload speed. Zoom needs approx. 1.5Mb/s. You can test your internet speeds on a website like speedtest.net

Q: Are there any suggestions for timetable structures? (In terms of putting certain courses ahead of others or just any tips that you might have for the process.) 

A: In the first year, your core courses are fixed. The BAS grid for the upcoming year is not yet on our website, but we are revising it now. If you have a specific question related to courses, please contact Michelle Fotheringham, our Undergraduate Administrator.

Q: Could you talk about course selection in terms of math and physics and the suggested or ideal balance for those types of courses with our typical design/ architectural history/theory courses?

A: There are no additional math or physics courses that you have to take. There is math (beam calculation) in our Tech courses. You are welcome to take math and physics as free electives if the subjects interest you.

Q: For course registration, if we missed the first live workshop and are unable to watch the next one, is there a recorded one that we can watch ourselves?

A: If you have any questions concerning registration, contact Michelle Fotheringham. The registration will be completed in specific groups based on surname. Registration is completed in a block, which means that all core courses are together as a unit. The free elective for both the fall and winter term will need to be carefully considered and applied for now so that the course you would like to take is not full.

Q: What are tutorials, and do we need to add them when we are submitting our course registration, or is that done at a later date?

A: You will have to apply for a tutorial when you register for particular classes (e.g., Architectural History courses).

 

DRAWING & MULTI-MEDIA CLASSES

Q: What materials and assignments are in the drawing class?

A: The drawing class is an exploration of process and materials through transmediality. We begin the semester with modeling exercises, then we proceed to freehand drawing and build the skills for drafted architectural drawings with the use of a drawing board. You will become familiar with measuring and survey as well as design drawings, and learn about orthographic projection such as plans, sections, and elevations. You can find more information about the combined approach of the drawing and multimedia classes and the notion of transmedia in the booklet that the school provided to you.

Q: Are we going to have to buy a 24″ x 36″ drawing board/drafting set at the start of the year?

A: It will be best to purchase the drafting board and the supplies well in advance of the start of the year. A full list will be provided in July. While 24″ x 36″ is preferred, students can get a smaller table at 18″ x 24″.

Q: Will we have to buy drawing supplies?

A: The class relies on the use of various drawing and modeling supplies. The faculty is working on updating the list of required drawing and modeling materials and optional materials. We are working with DeSerres (St. Laurent Mall, Ottawa), a local store that has provided materials for our students for several years. DeSerres agreed to work with each of you individually and ship the materials you order to you. You will have the chance to buy the bundle with a discount, customize your list and remove items that you already have, or add items to the list. 

Q: When will we receive the supply list?

A: Early July. The faculty is completing the revised supply list for this academic year and working with DeSerres (St. Laurent Mall, Ottawa) to make sure they have everything in stock. The faculty plans to mail you the complete list in early July and inform you about when DeSerres will be ready to receive your orders. You will be provided with the store manager’s contact information. You can decide if you want to take advantage of the opportunity to work with this store, which will have all the supplies. You could be in touch with them to order your supplies. The faculty recommends ordering materials well in advance of the start of school (i.e., four-to-six weeks in advance) to make sure to account for possible shipping delays and be equipped when we begin school in September.

Q: What software will be available to us from the university (or at discounted prices) that will be useful in our years studying architecture?

A: We are currently setting up a baseline for our digital infrastructure, and so we will send you specifics later in the fall. You have access to one-year, revised each year, educational licenses of Autodesk products like AutoCAD and Revit, but this is not necessary until later in your education. We are looking into providing Adobe CS licenses for first year, which is critical for multimedia. We are looking at a series of online workflows, which include programs like Zoom, Slack, and Figma (vs. Miro and Conceptboard) and Microsoft Office, but this will be forthcoming later in the summer.

 

INTRODUCTION TO ARCHITECTURE CLASS

Q: Can you describe the Intro to Architecture Class?

A: This course is an urgent and unconventional approach to your future studies in architecture, whether you specialize in design, urbanism, conservation, or the history of architecture. The course has two sections. Before Reading Week, we will go through the groundings of a modern and contemporary architecture. After Reading Week, we will study the re-groundings necessary in architecture for the current situation and the urgency we face today in the world. 

The classes are synchronous and blended sessions and will be subdivided into three one-hour sessions. Each session will be as interactive as possible, with TAs organizing questions, feedback, and interventions.

This is the structure of the sessions: 

Session 1 – The Lecture (60 minutes)  

Session 2 – Media Viewing (60 minutes) 

Each week there will be an arranged live media viewings with questions after and a choice of assignments emerging out of both the lecture and the viewing. 

Session 3 – Real-time assignment (60 minutes with TAs)

The third session will be a real-time assignment to follow each lecture and media viewing. These sessions will be organized and hosted by the TAs and include their group of students. 

There is a surprise competition for all first-year students called “May The Best Meme Win.” Details will be announced when the course begins. Prizes will be of a spectacular and eccentric nature.

The future is yours. Remember, when you think architecture, you think the world! 


STUDENT EXPERIENCE & SAFETY 

Q: What type of activities will you introduce to have the first-year students get to know each other during this different environment?

A: Roger Connah, Jesse Rafeiro, and two others will offer a summer workshop in August to create an enjoyable time over a few days. The Azrieli Architecture Student Association (AASA) is also working on our spirit week. For support systems, we will have the buddy system. AASA representatives are available to take questions or chat about any questions, concerns, or comments. 

Q: Will there be an online alternative to frost/orientation week? Or will it be postponed to when we go back on campus?

A: Carleton University will be holding an online alternative to orientation week. Registration begins July 6. For architecture, AASA is planning a “spirit week” event. Every day will present a different virtual activity involving a medium (e.g., photography) that you use or will become introduced to in your first year.

Q: Can you tell us more about the buddy assignment?

A: The buddy assignment is our way of getting you acquainted with the architecture school environment and start you on your journey of meeting the interesting characters of this school. Once first years are registered, we gather a list of volunteer upper-year students, many of whom are in second year. In a virtual setting, we will act as both mentors and your new friends, answering questions, giving advice and tips, and even helping you set up your studio if you want help with that. You and your buddy will exchange social media and contact information, and you can reach out to them and them to you. 

Q: Can we join the Azrieli Architecture Student (AASA)?

A: Yes. AASA will hold a by-election at the beginning of the fall semester. Students in every year have a representative that will attend meetings, organize events, communicate information, and answer questions. You can contact AASA at aasaoffice@gmail.com.

Q: We have a discord server where we already gathered 30 to 35 of the incoming architecture students. Is it OK to leave a link so that the other 70 to 80 people who do not know about it yet can join too?

A. AASA is working on an overall discord server for all of architecture this summer in coordination with our media team. In this larger discord server, you will be able to talk with students outside of your year, see work from students outside first year, and get advice.

Q: Will it be possible for architecture students to use the studio space during the first term in September? If not, will that mean that everything will be strictly online? In such cases, will it still be possible for students to stay in residence and have enough space to work on anything that would have otherwise been done in a studio space, or will this also be altered?

A: No, students will not have access to the studio or workshop or computer labs in the Architecture Building. Yes, everything will be online. Each residence room has a desk and chair. A student who stayed in residence last year says: “Technically yes, the desk will fit larger pieces of paper. But if you have things like a computer, printer, etc., it’s a bit crowded. I would definitely recommend getting a slanted craft desk or the drafting table, but in a pinch, the res desks will work.”

Q: Some people are planning to stay in residence for the fall semester, if restrictions are lifted during the fall semester, will some classes become in-person or remain online?

A: All classes will remain online. The earliest possible in-building classes are for the winter term.

 

STUDENT HEALTH SERVICES & the PAUL MENTON CENTRE FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES

Q. How dow we access health and counselling services?

A: Carleton Health and Counselling Services have moved all their services online, including mental health support. The clinic is open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for all services. The medical clinic can take face-to-face visits when necessary, and they have a protocol in place to facilitate physical visits. For services, call 613-520-6674.

Students can contact the Paul Menton Centre for Students with Disabilities 

By email, PMC@Carleton.ca, or call 613-520-6608. They will be connected to a coordinator for their individual discussion and assessment of needs.

 

UNIVERSITY RESOURCES

Building Access (computer labs and workshop facilities) – The Architecture Building facilities will not be available to students in the fall term.

Residence – Students can be in residence. Double rooms will house one person, but they will share a bathroom with one other student.

Library – Pick-up and drop-off only

Campus Recreation – Check the website for availability. https://athletics.carleton.ca/campus-rec/

 

WINTER TERM – JANUARY 2021

Q: If the winter term studio is online, how will we procure materials?

A: It will be very similar to fall term in the use of easily accessible materials, and amended projects to account for online learning.

Q: Is it possible to switch streams?

A: Yes, but it is difficult. We are currently considering some changes to the policy, but it will be available for you to consider at the end of the academic year (April 2021).

Q: How will studio time work online?

A: At the moment, it seems that Zoom, ConceptBoard, BBB, or Slack work best, but we are exploring other software packages before making a final determination. We will have regular studio hours from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. but will accommodate on a case-by-case basis. We will contact everyone later in the summer to determine who might need accommodations because of geographical location.

 

OTHER QUESTIONS

Q. Why be close to Ottawa?

A: That is a personal choice. You should live where you feel the most comfortable and supported. Ottawa is a wonderful city with many opportunities. Still, with the university mostly closed, you may want to consider other reasons to move to Ottawa if you wish to move to the city in September.

Q: Is a minor in a different subject possible if you have transfer credits from a previous year?

A: It is possible but would require an additional term of study.