Time flies and it is already mid-February. Teaching at two institutions as an Adjunct gives me a lot of opportunities to meet students from all over the world and to teach at a local university at the Master level, and an Australian university with a branch in Singapore at both Master and Bachelor levels. Two different systems also allows me to have an insight as to how different universities manage and plan their curriculum and administration. One institution is almost at the end of the Academic Year, while the other will have a mid-Semester break next week – a much needed rest for me!
Last week and this week, I focused on the feedback by past students to improve my slides. I found a way to revamp my Interactive Seminar on Planning with Nature in Urban Areas Part II. I flipped by doing Social (Parks) and Economic first last week. Tell a logical and cohesive story. I also inserted thinking activities for almost every section which links back directly to the students’ Environmental Planning Project.
Included Frederick Law Olmsted into Parks – don’t know why I did not include him earlier. He is crucial for social sustainability of parks. Included the meaning of Stocks and Flows. Revamped the Framework diagram – makes a lot of sense now. I also entitle the sections differently to the Approaches so that a summary of approaches is different from the outline. I also include a summary of the different topics into one Framework diagram using different colours.
I realize that I need to write a paper on this! How? a. with Ulrich and indicators, b. with Green Certifications, or c. with Student design and planning work!
For Part II, I also revamped the flow of the Environmental Layer – start with nature versus biodiversity to distinguish between perception versus ecology. Then go into Landscape Ecology, Ecological Networks, Corridors and the Matrix in detail – link this to social and economic. Revamped the diagram with the Land Mosaic labels. Then I decided to name the next section as Multifunctional Landscapes with the approach as Integrate Approaches. I end with Biophilia which is the same field as the first topic on Nature last week – Environmental Psychology.
What is interesting and coincidental (or serendipity?) is that my co-lecturer’s presentation was on Biodiversity at the Project Site. I placed his lecture this week because he just got his position approved and contract signed, and this is the last lecture before the mid-Semester break, during which the students will go to the Project site by themselves to conduct a site survey in groups of 5 or less. It is still not possible to bring the students for a field trip to the site since 2020 due to Covid-19 restrictions. Hence, I have decided to do vLogs of my own site visit and upload them to the LMS. The students will present their findings right after the break. His lecture and mine are situated in perfect timing with the Project timeline.
The students formed their teams without my supervision via Padlet – it was an idea to use Padlet for setting up Teams this Semester – I did not think of this earlier. Google docs is too cumbersome because it uses my personal email. Padlet is very versatile, and so is Mentimeter. I met up with Team 1 whose members joined individually – leftover from the others in the class who joined as groups. This Team has two powerhouse students – one a GIS user and one Urban Designer from the Master of Urban Design Programme. So I just needed to guide them in terms of the site boundary, what to do for the site visit and survey (including the use of Epicollect5 App), and how much work to put in. I then made an announcement to the LMS to the other students what I have informed Team 1. Very exciting. Master students are always full of initiative and ideas. This batch is even better because they ask a lot of good questions and are intellectual extroverts.
1. Oasia Building in Singapore – if the intention is to draw biodiversity, then wouldn’t it need to have stepping stones leading to the building?
2. What is the meaning of ecological sites?
3. What does parks that make money mean – is it about implementing payment in parks? (No! It is about parks for tourism e.g. Gardens by the Bay and Heritage sites).
I look forward to the presentations by the students in two weeks!