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Practice : Spring 2012
Kelly Taylor, A la n Weene, Connor L amber t dur ing Intensi ve A significa nt number of practitioners, including seasoned firm leaders, ac ademics, a nd interns, la ck the NA AB-ac credited profes sional degree required for registration in most state s. For ma ny of these individual s, the option to attend a tradition al full-time residential progra m is simply not fea sible for geographic , financial or personal reasons. The B oston A rchitectural College’s Distance M.Arch was conceived as an alternative path to a profe ssional architecture degree which would greatly benefit these diverse individu- als and the profession as a whole. The BAC’s c ommitment to the concur- rent educ ation model linking practice-ba sed and academic lea rning, and its experience with online continuing sustainability educ ation provided the ba se from which the Dista nce Master of Architecture progra m was launched in Ja nuary 2007. The Distance M.Arch ma kes available to qualified candidates living any where, a progra m that leverages digital technologies through a c ombination of online study from a dista nc e, a nd two annual, one-week, fa ce-to-fac e residencies in Boston. The Distance M.Arch is a five-seme ster program designed for c andidates with a pre-profe ssiona l ba chelor’s degree in a rchitecture who also have profe ssiona l work e xperience that cle arly demonstrate s defined c ompetencie s. C ourse instruction is a cc omplished primarily through frequent online interaction, c onsisting of graphic and written work that is posted, discussed and critiqued with instructors and peers in both a synchronous and synchronous mod es. Balancing the online experience, one week per semester is de voted to a re sidenc y at the BAC. The inten sive residency c omponent of the distanc e model is a key pedagogic element of c ourse delivery. During inten sives , real time face-to-f ace de sk crits, juried presentation s, lectures and field trips provide a foundation of shared e xpectation s a nd interpersona l c onnection s that greatly enrich subsequent online work. Intensive s a lso play a major role in providing a sense of identity and community a mong students that has proven to be vital to the success of the program. Students share eight days and nights living a nd working in a c harrette-like atmosphere, with a single – minded foc us on design and theory, without distractions of work, family, a nd daily routines. Several students have commented that they become closer to fellow students a fter four or five intensive weeks than they e ver were in their undergrad experienc e. Bonds bet ween students are susta ined and deepened at a distanc e after the Intensives An Update on the Distance Master of Tom Parks, Director of Distance M.Arch Architecture Program The intensive residency component of the distance model is a key pedagogic element of course deliver y. Students who flourish in the program tend to be mature, highly motivated, self-disciplined and sufficiently experienced to be preparing for leadership roles in the next phase of their careers. Alison Kriscensk i during Intensive PRACTICE 9