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    How Many MOOCs Are Teaching Architecture?

    By Lian Chikako Chang
    Jun 8, '15 11:15 AM EST

    Much has been made of the rise of massive open online courses (MOOCs), which some see as being poised to take over higher education. So we wanted to know: how many MOOCs are teaching architecture-related topics?

    It turns out, not that many. In a recent search at and elsewhere, we found 35 courses.

    History, criticism, and appreciation courses are the most common architecture-related subject, with twenty courses that we could find. These range from global architecture history surveys, to regional studies, to deep-dives on a single architect (such as Frank Lloyd Wright) or historical moment (the Italian Renaissance). A few of these are art history courses that also cover architecture.

    Ten courses mention teaching design, whereas five cover sustainability or resilience, and another five deal with architecture-relevant digital topics and skills.

    These courses are offered by a mix of providers. Some of these providers are run by or in partnership with traditional universities, such as edX and Coursera. Others are stand-alone organizations, such as Saylor.

    What does this mean? We’ll leave that up to you. MOOCs are difficult to compare to traditional higher education, because they’re so different. For one thing, they’re often free or low cost. Completion rates are much lower (a commonly cited rate is less than 10%). The learning environment is also totally different, especially for architecture, which is primarily taught in the socially and technologically-rich environment of studio.

    If you’re interested, here’s the full list of courses that we found:

    Art Appreciation and Techniques (Saylor)

    Contemporary Architecture (OOEd)

    Contemporary Architecture (iversity)

    Frank Lloyd Wright and the 20th Century (OOEd)

    From Alberti to Bramante (Coursera)

    Modern Art (Saylor)

    New York Architecture (OOEd)

    A Global History of Architecture: Part 1 (edX)

    African Art (Saylor)

    Archaeology and History of Greek and Roman Art (UNINETTUNO OpenupEd)

    Art of the Islamic World (Saylor)

    Arts of Asia (Saylor)

    Experiencing Malaysian Architecture (OpenLearning)

    History of Chinese Architecture: Part 1 (edX)

    History of Chinese Architecture: Part 2 (edX)

    Roman Architecture (Coursera)

    Roman Architecture (Saylor)

    The Art and Archaeology of Ancient Nubia (Coursera)

    The Italian Proto-Renaissance To Mannerism (Saylor)

    The Search for Vernacular Architecture of Asia, Part 1 (edX)

    Architecture 101 - Part I (iversity)

    Architecture 101 - Part II (iversity)

    Architecture 101 - Part III (iversity)

    Industrial Design (UNINETTUNO OpenupEd)

    Intro to the Design of Everyday Things (Udacity)

    Digital Art and Design Criticism (WEU)

    Digital Design and Content Development (WEU)

    Biomimicry: A Sustainable Design Methodology (Canvas)

    Designing Resilient Housing (OOEd)

    ThinkTank Cities (Leuphana Digital School)

    Building Information Modeling 101 (OpenLearning)

    Building Information Modeling 202 (OpenLearning)

    Photoshop (World Mentoring Academy)

    Future Cities (edX)

    Resilient Architecture Research (OOEd)

    If you have experience as a MOOC student or instructor, or if you know of other architecture-related MOOCs that are not on this list, please let us know about it in the comments!


    • x-jla

      The question should be...How Many MOOKs are teaching Architecture?

      Jun 8, 15 2:01 pm  · 
      Wilma Buttfit

      I have experience with MOOCs as a student. I've done several just for fun, not for credit. They are all different quality, some are very good, others not so much. Haven't done any of the above except a little of the Roman Architecture one. I did a design MOOC that was put together by an engineering dept and it was alright, it was called Creativity, Innovation and Change.

      I also participated in one called Geodesign which had a high number of architects and landscape archs in the class.
      Jun 9, 15 1:15 am  · 

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About this Blog

The Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture is a nonprofit membership organization, founded in 1912 to advance the quality of architectural education. Our members are over 250 schools, including all accredited programs in the USA and Canada, schools seeking accreditation, and non-accredited and international programs--representing over 40,000 architecture faculty and students.

Authored by:

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  • Michael Monti
    Michael Monti Washington, DC, US
  • Lian Chikako Chang
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