Dublin Maker here we come!

The TU Dublin RoboSlam gang is alive and kicking!

Nearly 20 of us met in February to start planning our exhibition for Dublin Maker 2020. The big event is to be held on the 27th of June in Herbert Park, on the south-side of Dublin.

Last week, a portion of our team reassembled to get different people’s parts working together in a coordinated way. I’ve created a little video of that second prep session for you to enjoy.

One thing that worries me, though, is that all the stuff my colleagues have made looks so very cool, so incredibly professional, that visitors to our Dublin Maker booth will think they BOUGHT this ready-made. Not so.

For instance, Keith Colton (in the video with the bandaid on his thumb) used a 3D printer to make the car he’s holding. He made it from scratch.

Shane Ormond combined a whole bunch of cutting-edge technologies to get a tiny camera on top of his race car to feed video into the VR headsets and TV monitors, all the while controlling the car’s behavior from a hand-held device. He’s been sending us video updates from his house and it’s been cool to watch his car speed under sofas and chairs and around his lovely home.

When I tired driving, I couldn’t control the car too well–and I’m pretty used to driving sporty cars! In this case, the car didn’t quite have the handling of my 2004 Nissan Z350. The car was racing around at top speed and the VR googles made it all seem much too real!

Note in he video how Paul Leamy’s stomach turned when his car flipped over. Seemed real! You can see on the TV monitor, but viewed through VR goggles it’s all the more gripping.

So, see for yourself!

Come on out on June 27th to see where all this leads. Our team is just at the start and we plan to build a plethora of buses, stop lights, trams, and Dublin city sites for our cars to whizz though on Dublin Maker day 2020.

Discovering the new TU Dublin

It’s been a great start-of-semester and welcome-back here in Dublin. I’ve been settling back in at TU Dublin, since the first of the year. I’ve been learning to juggle a host of new job responsibilities along with my favorite existing projects. There’s so much work to be done!

In addition to teaching first-year engineering modules/courses, I have also been helping launch the new MSc in BIM, working on curriculum development (which buys out half my work time), finalizing research projects for publication, and drafting my final report for the 2018-12019 fellowship I had to UCL.

I’ve also attended a host of special events:

  1. The launch of TU Dublin’s new strategic plan
  2. A two-day conference on “Rethinking the Crit” in architecture and design education.
  3. Tech support workshops for staff on Brightspace and Agresso
  4. Personal wellbeing workshops for staff on insurance and personal finance.
  5. A planning sessions with our ever-expanding RoboSlam team preparing for Dublin Maker 2020 (June 2020) and our upcoming Engineering Your Future week (May 2020)

TU Dublin’s new Strategic Plan

The unveiling of the strategic plan was quite well organized and inspiring. The speakers and panelists all did a great job explaining the shared aspirations of our academic community. I hope the details are as well done as the vision they presented.

Soon, I’ll read the plan and see how it matches up against the evaluation rubric I published back during my doc studies, which you can download here.

Chance, S and Williams, B. (2009). Assessing University Strategic Plans: A Tool For ConsiderationEducational planning: the journal of the international society for educational planning, 2009, 18(1), 38-54.

The take-home message of the strategic planning launch was that TU Dublin values diversity and inclusivity. The student voice was clear, strong and impressive. The leaders were well-spoken.

TU Dublin’s workshop on “Rethinking the Crit”

I attended a hands-on conference alongside architecture students from all over Ireland as well as teachers and critics from Ireland and abroad.

The workshop was organized by my College’s office for Learning Development, under the direction of Patrick Flynn, our Head of Learning Development. In many places, his role would be called Vice Dean for Academics, but DIT (the parent of TU Dublin) tended to do things its own unique way.

As I’m part of a team developing a brand new Architectural Engineering curriculum, this conference on how to improve the studio jury system was of great value to me. That Arch Eng course will graduate people ready for architecture licensing.

One of the presenters, Dr. Kathryn Anthony, literally wrote the book that got this conversation rolling: Design Juries on Trial. It was published in 1991 but there’s still a lot more uptake needed of her ideas across the globe. She collected data at Hampton University, where I used to teach, and at HU we used many of the techniques she proposed—with great success.

I hope to use techniques we discussed to help improve architecture education near and far.