Learning and Teaching Investment Fund 2008

Summary of Projects

Project Title

Dual Sector CAD teaching

Project Leaders

Geoff Outhred, Senior Lecturer

School of PCPM RMIT University

Funds Approved


Summary of the project, outcomes, impacts and dissemination

The Dual Sector CAD Teaching has been set up to enhance students’ learning and skill development in the course BUIL 1107 Residential Design and Documentation.

This project was developed collaboratively with input from staff within the School of Property, Construction and Project Management, and the VET School of Design.

Students who enrol in the course BUIL 1107 (approximately 200, across the Property and Construction disciplines) are involved in learning about residential construction and design, largely by producing drawings that exhibit the technology of construction, and also demonstrate the communication methods used in the construction sector. In the past, the students have mostly prepared these drawings in hard-copy format, i.e. pens on tracing paper. Students were exposed to CAD (Computer Aided Design and Drafting) briefly, but merely as an alternative to hard-copy format drawings. This project addresses the imperative for students to be skilled in the use of CAD, which has almost completely replaced hard-copy format drawings in the construction sector. The project therefore is to vastly increase the CAD content of BUIL 1107.

The 'dual sector advantage' forms a central part of the RMIT Strategic Plan (RMIT 2010: Designing the Future 2006). The Dual Sector CAD Teaching Project supports the university’s strategic plan to embed the dual sector advantage in its course offerings to students. Increasingly, HE graduates at RMIT have enrolled in VET courses to boost their technical skills after entering the labour market.

Assessment comprised the students’ hard-copy drawings, CAD drawings and the theory of design and documentation. Students who successfully completed the VET CAD sessions were also awarded a VET (TAFE) certificate for competency in AUTOCAD. VET issued each successful student with the internationally accredited AUTOCAD certificate at a ceremony, as well as adding the CAD assessment component into the total course assessment.

This project provided students with a much greater knowledge base regarding drawings and documentation in the residential construction sector. It also brought them up to date and familiar with the principal method of drawing communication method in the industry, CAD. They gained the skills to not only produce basic CAD drawings, but also to read them and extract the correct information from them.

The project was evaluated by reviewing CES scores for BUIL 1107 at the end of Semester One, and for the “follow-on” course, BUIL 1114, in Semester Two. To supplement this feedback, students were asked to prepare a journal of their experiences and development during the Semester Two course, BUIL 1114

There was a large variation for the reactions to CAD. Some loved using it, and some loathed it. Many students requested that more CAD be included in later courses. Most students produced high-quality CAD drawings.

The CES results for BUIL 1114 in Semester Two, obtained after the students had been able to put their CAD skills into practice, were far better than for previous years.

The GTS was 88.1, and the overall satisfaction was 93.8. The following students’ comments were in their CES response:

“The hands-on aspect is the best where your hard work is shown in the end”.
“Practical application of knowledge is great with drawings”.
“The use of drawings gives you a lot of insight into construction”.
“AUTOCAD session was good for building the model”.
“Great learning tool for the future”.
“Interesting and gave an insight into how buildings are constructed from drawings”.
“It was good to follow design aspects from the drawings through to the building phase – it makes you realise what is actually “buildable”.

Geoff Outhred.

NOTE: Please refer to attached files for various photos and examples of CAD drawings produced by students.

Download Full Report [PDF, 53 KB]

Download Supporting Files [ZIP, 1.05 MB]