Janice Mann (Bucknell University)
In the spring semester of 2015 I offered a project-based course focused on Frank Lloyd Wright’s celebrated Fallingwater, built in the Laurel Highlands about 40 miles away from Pittsburg for department store magnate Edgar Kaufmann in 1935. Although the class used Falllingwater as a point of departure, it was interdisciplinary in nature, examining not just the formal aspects of the Wright’s renowned house but the broader social, economic, and political contexts by means of traditional methods and digital technologies. The class culminated with the creation of a collaboratively produced digital book, entitled Fallingwater: Dialogues and Connections.
Throughout the semester the students learned and practiced the skills – researching, writing, critical and creative thinking, collaborating, and making photographs – needed to produce a digital book. Working together, they selected the best portions of each other’s research papers and photo essays to collaboratively author a book that addresses the relationships between the architectural design of the Fallingwater and its natural setting, its structure and appearance, and the conversations between its architect and patron.
In my electronic poster presentation I would like to present the iBook and discuss how I shifted my role from “the expert” to a facilitator of collaborative learning and how the students changed from blasé to committed learners. I also intend to have one or two of the students who took the course present so that they can speak about their experience in the class, especially the collaborative process.