Bec Renton

How to best teach Universal Design to design students at TAFE? A presentation of results; regarding teacher and coordinator recommendations, new ideas and potential new projects.

Presenter: Bec Renton, Health Science Research Student, Deakin University

Oral Presentation

Universal Design (UD) is a well promoted design tool within global, national and state policy. UD is used in the design process to create accessible built environments, which in turn promote health and wellbeing to all. To achieve the benefits of UD, architectural professionals must learn the skills to implement UD in practice. This study will explore current policy and legislation promoting UD as well as analysing a current vocational building and design architectural course to examine to what extent current course curriculum incorporates UD and how much this aligns with the levels promoted in policy. Interviews with course coordinators and teachers will then gain insight into current architectural educator perspectives and understandings of the concept of UD as well as gaining further insight into what is taught and what is believed to be the best way to incorporate UD content into the curriculum.

This research project aimed to see what levels UD and accessibility beyond compliance were being taught within a Victorian Vocational Architectural Design course, the study then aimed to gain teacher and coordinator perspectives on UD and its philosophy, how they are teaching UD, if at all, and also how they feel UD could best be taught to students in the future. The presentation will discuss the results, and will talk about potential ideas for implementing the recommendations from participants.

Keywords: universal design; architecture; education; inclusive design; accessibility; curriculum; vocational; beyond compliance.