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CAAD Survival Guide: A practical handbook for distance learners
With online learning continuing into the new academic year, a team of students from the College of Architecture, Art and Design (CAAD) at American University of Sharjah (AUS) worked together to create the CAAD Survival Guide to welcome new students to the CAAD community and to motivate seasoned CAAD students to continue to excel in their studies.
Commissioned by CAAD Dean Dr. Varkki Pallathucheril, the guide was distributed to all new and continuing CAAD students to help them adapt to online learning and offer tips on how to thrive in the virtual learning environment. Fourth-year architecture major Noor Nidal Hamdan led the project under the supervision of Camilo Cerro, Associate Professor in the Department of Architecture, and in collaboration with the AUS Student Council and CAAD student clubs.
“CAAD is known for the space and facilities it provides where all students have enough room and resources to work freely. However, considering the circumstances, we are aware that each person now has different living situations—some may have limited access to physical or financial resources and may struggle with a lack of space in their homes. We found that suggesting alternatives and offering practical advice from older students could help, if not with intellectual ideas, at least with the emotional support that they are not alone during this time,” she said.
Reflecting on the challenges and surprising benefits of online learning, Hamdan said this season has offered students valuable experiences and opportunities to learn and practice architecture and design in new ways.
“To some extent, I think being a good designer in any environment or community makes students more independent and confident about their work in ways we didn’t understand before COVID-19,” she said.
“The virtual semester has pushed us into keeping ourselves accountable for the work and motivating ourselves despite the surroundings. Self-critiquing has become a lot more crucial. Usually, we pin up our work and compare it with the rest of our class, and this maintained the quality of work. However, now it seems like we are working harder and setting higher standards for ourselves because we don’t have people around us,” she said.
For a preview of the CAAD Survival Guide, check out @caadaus on Instagram.