Last updated: 11.05.12

Architectural technology e-learning course praised in awards ceremony

An online learning course from the University of Ulster has been commended in a major national competition. 

Construct Online allows people studying architectural technology to perform site visits through distance learning, meaning they do not have to leave the classroom.

The online training course, which was developed by Dr Kenny McCartan and David Comiskey, was praised at the Joint Information Systems Committee's Regional Support Centre for Northern Ireland, where it received an E-Learning Award for Teaching and Learning.

President of the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists Colin Orr said the course provides an "innovative way of bringing theory into practice".

Participants in the subject can visualise the complexity of a building project from its initial design phase to its eventual completion, he said.

Furthermore, the quizzes enable students and teachers to evaluate their success, the specialist pointed out.

The project consists of a number of tests to examine progress and knowledge, as well as six videos for distance learning online.

These films demonstrate several theoretical processes linked to the construction of a new property, allowing individuals to study and follow the building site without leaving the classroom.

Developer Mr Comiskey, who is a lecturer in architectural technology, said work began on the e-learning course around 18 months ago, following financial assistance from the Centre for Higher Education Practice.

It was set up for first-year university students, he noted, explaining many arrive at the institution "without having any experience of construction related modules".

"We wanted to introduce them to a world of construction which is easily accessible," the expert continued.

Currently, the e-learning platform is only accessible to attendants of the University of Ulster.

The awards ceremony was attended by Northern Ireland's minister for employment and learning Dr Stephen Farry, who called the e-learning industry "an area of immense and rapid growth and change".

He had previously noted the government's strategy is for training facilities and colleges in the nation to be "key deliverers of skills at all levels, to meet the needs of employers, individual learners and the communities in which they live and work".