This holiday – just before the beginning of the final year of the undergraduate course – has been worthwhile in different ways. Notably, the fact that now I can let myself spend hours on the online courses without any worry about homework has been a luxury.
I’ve fallen in love with online courses such as ones offered through Edx (free) and IDDA ArchiStar Academy (thanks unimelb for the student subscription!). At the end of last year, I finally finished the subject called the Architectural Imagination by HarvardX (took the whole year due to uni semesters…), and a few weeks ago, I completed the beginner-level training for Autodesk Revit on IDDA.
What motivates me is the fact that I’m not forced to undertake them (not part of uni coursework), and that it’s all for my curiosity. It’s a way to learn things differently from how I have been taught at the university. It can also mean that I can analyse those online courses with a slightly more objective point of view.
For example, I went through two design visualisation subjects this week. Both explained step-by-step processes clearly and were easy to understand. There were commands and methods that I didn’t know, but at the same time there were steps that made me think “there is a better and more efficient way of doing…” or “it’s exactly the way I learnt at uni so this method must be one of the common ways of doing”. Noticing myself evaluating the online courses was a new experience for me.
Today I started a new subject called Four Facets of Contemporary Japanese Architecture: Technology offered by UTokyoX on Edx (it has already been archived, however, you can still watch videos of interviews with renowned Japanese architects). I was captivated by the way architects have developed their own styles, and how they translate their philosophies into the architectural forms. In particular, Tadao Ando’s experimentation with concrete panels was inspiring; through trials and errors, he found what makes high-quality concrete. His opinions made me feel proud of choosing architecture as a career.
If you’re new to the online courses, I recommend looking for a subject that interests you on Edx or Lynda.com, or IDDA ArchiStar Academy for architecture-related training. Edx is free unless you upgrade to a verified certificate.