Technology in Teaching Showcase

Collaborative Technology-Based Projects at Hamilton College

Web Portfolio and Google Earth Projects Project Overview

Description and Resources


Course Name:
ARTH_155_01_SP2013: Introduction to Asian Architecture

Course Description:
The history of architecture in East, South, and Southeast Asia. Examines the ways that built works have been deployed in a variety of political, economic, and social contexts during the pre-modern, early modern, and modern eras.

Project Description:

From Professor Chua’s Syllabus: This course seeks to create a critical understanding of the histories of Asian architecture. Drawing on case studies in South, East, and Southeast Asia, students will examine the ways that the built environment has been conceived, constructed, and mediated through the discipline of history and through the lens of the nation- state and the integration of Asian regions into the world capitalist economy.

Students will learn to analyze built forms, primary texts, historical narratives, and architectural photographs, drawings, and plans in a way that goes beyond traditional categories of art history and formal analysis.

Students will learn to analyze built forms, primary texts, historical narratives, and architectural photographs, drawings, and plans in a way that goes beyond traditional categories of art history and formal analysis.

The students participated in two major course projects:

  1. Web Portfolio
    1. Each student created, in lieu of a traditional written exercise, analytical websites to compare artifacts and architecture from multiple perspectives.
      1. Charge: Argue for a site’s inclusion in the canon of modern architecture. What makes this site modern? What makes it worth studying? What other sites does it compare to?
      2. Critical website: Respond to a film by identifying the director’s argument and ?arguing for or against it. What is the director’s argument? How does the director make his or her argument? What techniques does he or she employ? Is the director’s argument persuasive? Why or why not?
  2. Google Earth Analysis and Presentation
    1. For the last of three major exercises for this class, students were given the option to perform a comparative analysis of archaeological sites and present their results using Google Earth.
      1. Charge: using Google Earth, create a .kmz file that maps out the origins of a particular site. Where do the material and rhetorical aspects of the site come from? What other sites does it relate to across time and space?

» Visiting Assistant Professor of Art History, Postdoctoral Fellow Lawrence Chua
» Educational Technologist Ted Fondak
» Educational Technologist Carl Rosenfield

Completed Student Projects

Web Portfolio and Google Earth Projects - Created Spring, 2013

Goals, Process and Outcomes

Project Goals:
  1. Web Portfolio
    1. By developing the organizational schema required to build a website and associated navigation, students will reflect on their research, develop a thesis, and think about the structure of their response at a meta (i.e. outline) level;
    2. A web format facilitates a variety of approaches to presentation and analysis in addition to the traditional textual response;
    3. The Mind Mapping exercise (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind_map) associated with ETS’ introduction to Hamilton’s Sitemanager web design  platform compels students to consider the thematic and analytical links between their research—the results of this exercise scaffold them from their ideas to the development of their website organizational schemas;
    4. Observing and reflecting on the websites developed by their classmates could help students better understand different analytical and presentation processes and improve their own as a result.
  2. Google Earth Analysis and Presentation
    1. The Google Earth tool provides sophisticated, detailed, three-dimensional satellite imagery of architectural sites and their geographical contexts, empowering students to analyze these sites in a variety of ways;
    2. The tool permits students to create a contiguous virtual “tour” of the sites they chose, which allows vivid comparative analyses unique to the platform;
    3. Google Earth permits the author to embed text and images on “tour points” manually associated with points of interest—audiences experiencing this tour can easily experience this student-generated information, which creates a multilayer information environment;
    4. Students can easily export and share the tours they create, allowing anyone to experience what they have created;
    5. By marrying spatial, textual, and visual analysis, the students will arrive at a more rich understanding of these sites, their history, and their relationship to each other and the contexts in which they are located.

Project Process:

Course Project Process:

  1. Pre-Semester Meeting between Lawrence Chua and HILLGroup representatives to create course projects, add them to the syllabus, and reserve appropriate resources;
  2. One-hour mind-mapping workshop with students during which HILLGroup personnel introduced approach to students and created a mind-map of some familiar location or topic, giving students the opportunity to practice the approach;
  3. One-hour HILLGroup Sitemanager workshop for students—introduction to and practice with Sitemanager web development platform;
  4. One-hour HILLGroup meeting with Lawrence Chua to evaluate student project mind-maps;
  5. One-hour HILLGroup meeting with Lawrence Chua to evaluate student website projects;
  6. Two-hour mid-semester meeting and working session to develop Google Earth workflow and sample files;
  7. One-hour HILLGroup Google Earth workshop with students to introduce them to the application, show sample tour, and help them create one of their own.

Learning Outcomes:

The assessable outcomes of this course are:

  • Three web analytical/critique projects, two of which involve Mind Mapping/Website Construction, available to the public;
  • One optional Google Earth tour, shared with Professor Chua and not public.

Examplary websites, a Google Earth Tour, and the Google Earth Workflow are located in the Completed Student Projects section.

Project Feedback:
  • “I think that Google Earth was helpful in displaying the connections and relations between architecture in different places around the world. The website was a good idea; in that it was helpful to separate our paper into sections on the website however sitemanager was a pain to use at times.”
  • “I think that the inclusion of technology distracted from my understanding and learning in this course. While the root thesis; that website construction would help when structuring ones paper; is not entirely flawed; I found that it impeded my organization instead of helping it. Further; I found the actual construction of the website to be a terrible waste of time.
  • “I really enjoyed creating the website; and even more so Google Earth. Initially I thought using Google Earth would get in the way of the project; but ultimately I found it really nice to work with and gave my project a really nice touch.
  • “I enjoyed creating websites and using Google Earth in general; but because it was my first time using these methods; I was confused at first. I believed that the Google Earth program might have bettered my understanding of this course; the website; however; I felt was just a different from essays in terms of structure and organization.”