Continuing Education Online
by Evan H. Shu, FAIA
We live in a wonderful age in which architects can be educated in almost any subject you can imagine, via the Internet. Over the course of this last year, I have gone "back to school" online for lessons in such diverse subjects as book publishing, SketchUp photo modeling, calibrating bitmaps in DataCAD, doing ZiPCAD punch lists, and solving a Rubik's Cube.
Such online education is available in a broad range of topics, formats, and effectiveness. Some of it comes completely free; some is free but with strings attached, such as product promotions. Some online educational offerings charge modest fees, and some charge hefty fees.
My experience has been that the educational quality of these courses has little or no correlation with their price. You are just as likely to find great lessons for free as you are to find them at a high cost.
There is, however, a greater correlation between method of delivery of the information and its teaching effectiveness, especially now that broadband Internet connections that can serve video and audio are becoming more common. Many of the most effective lessons are now being delivered in on-demand streaming mode designed specifically for Internet viewing. Still, a broad range of online lesson formats persists.
Many examples of lessons that satisfy continuing education requirements are direct conversions of print documents. The Continuing Education Series from Architectural Record, for instance, posts the text of articles free online; after you read an article, you link to an AIA reporting form, answer a few questions, and, if you pass the quiz, you qualify for AIA "learning units."
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The Continuing Education Series covers such topics as approaches to prefabricated housing.
Image: Architectural Record
The Architecture Knowledge Review Podcast Series.
Image: American Institute of Architects
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