Erin Miller

Erin Miller

A&S, Art (Studio)
Art 361: Introduction to Interior Architecture

As someone with practical experience in the field of interior design, Erin Miller is aware of the complexity of design projects. And, as an instructor, she has become aware of the difficulties students have in discerning the smaller tasks within the larger scope of a given design project. She observes, “In studio, students often feel that desired results are subjective, and therefore have a hard time understanding what the specific requirements of projects are and how they are properly fulfilled.” For this year’s Part-Time Faculty Learning Community, Miller decided to tackle this challenge of helping students understand “what the specific requirements of projects are and how they are properly fulfilled.”

Miller was inspired by the learning community’s primary text, How Learning Works, by Susan Ambrose, et al., specifically the principle that “goal directed practice coupled with targeted feedback is critical to learning” (p. 5). To assist students in breaking down large projects, as well as to provide objective criteria by which each step is measured, Miller elected to create a comprehensive rubric designed to offer students guidance in bringing a design project from research, schematic design, development, to final presentation.

While rubrics are most often used as scoring tools, Miller believes they can also assist students in the learning process since they can help students understand the requirements and expectations of each element of a multi-stage project. As Miller observed, “This rubric helps the professor to establish what exactly they are expecting for the project, as well as give them a standard to grade by.”

An unanticipated bonus for professors in creating rubrics for complex projects is that they can serve as reminders for just how many steps and levels are involved in some of the projects which they are assigning, overcoming what is known as the “expert blind spot” – whereby faculty who are experts are unaware of the learning needs of novice students. Miller notes: “At the end of creating this rubric, I feel that not only does it have the potential to create a better understanding between professors and students of requirements, but in turn better results from both parties.”

Erin Miller Rubric (PDF)

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