International Exchanges During COVID-19
The University of Tsukuba’s Bachelor’s Program in Design (DPD) has implemented an educational strategy promotion project for the fiscal year 2020: “Building a Foundation for International Research and Education Collaboration in Creativity (IRACI) and Realizing an International Joint Degree Program”. The following three objectives are the strategic research and education program (IRACI: International Research Alliance for Creativity and Innovation) for learning and applying creativity.
1. To conduct an International Creativity Research Festival to build an international collaborative organization for creativity research and to realize a double degree/joint degree program.
2. To introduce a VR conferencing system that allows many people to gather virtually in one place, share their experiences, and conduct research exchanges on creativity.
3. To hold a creative design session by students from multiple universities as an experiential virtual workshop using the VR experience system during the International Creativity Research Festival and use it as a fundamental practical class for each university.
We had hoped to be able to hold a face-to-face workshop. Since the spread of COVID-19 has not subsided, we have implemented the following three main projects to create opportunities for active international communication during the coronavirus pandemic.
1. Online interactive collaborative exercises
i. Industry-university joint design exercise with Politecnico di Milano
Eleven graduate students from Milan and thirteen graduate students and learning group students from our university participated in the design of lighting fixtures in six groups, sharing and collaborating on digital data such as CAD data online. The groups met every day and had weekly critiques by faculty members (Tsukuba University and Politecnico di Milano) and bi-weekly presentations to local companies in Italy, all in English.
ii. Joint research presentations in the field of architectural design
We conducted several online joint research presentations in English with faculty members and students from National Cheng Kung University and the University of Malaya.
2. International Creativity Research Festival (February 2021)
The Design Degree Program hosted a series of presentations in English by selected students in architectural design, product design, and composition, both onsite and online. Faculty members from National Cheng Kung University and Politecnico di Milano were invited as online critics of the students’ presentations of their works (in English) and to give special lectures.
3. Install equipment and prepare classrooms as a base
To activate remote communication through digital data, we promoted the installation of equipment to visualize the design process and the development of classrooms to serve as bases, in parallel with the collaborative exercises in 1.
As a result of these projects, we have learned the following about the importance of online design production collaborations with overseas institutions.
1. The importance of maintaining close communication while making progress in brushing up the work data.
2. By visualizing the digital data with the digital fabrication facilities in each country, it is possible to brush up on the actual state of the work collaboratively.
As we have installed the equipment at the beginning of this project, this project resulted in the development of an on-campus base specializing in online exercises using digital fabrication.
Round table discussion after the final presentation of the project (SpacialChat)