I have personally been approached by a total of eight institutions since January to offer my opinion on the course content… Whilst I admire these institutions for contacting people in the industry for feedback, it’s important that they realise it’s not one-time input that is required; it needs to be continuous.
Here’s my dilemma with a BIM MSc or PhD – I’d love nothing more than to become ‘Dr Casey Rutland’ and I think I already have enough base knowledge to be able to research something of value to me and the company I work for. The problem is that anyone new to BIM and it’s intricacies, looking to leapfrog those currently at the coal face, simply cannot catch up over the duration of a two year static course (with a pre defined curriculum).
Perhaps you may see this as controversial, but the most important aspect when teaching future generations of our industry about BIM is the process, not the software. People in the BIM Network know and understand this. I can teach users to use software (at a basic level) in a day, but that’s not what is important.
BIM touches every part of the AEC industry…
And because of this, in my opinion the main topics to consider teaching are:
- The co-operative working environment.
- BIM for sustainability.
- The programme implications.
- Fee implications.
- The use of BIM for stakeholder engagement.
- The importance of client briefing.
- The use of data.
- How Contractors / Clients / FM co’s & end-users benefit from BIM.
- NOT forgetting about ‘design’.
- The legal aspects (not problems).
- BIM for QS’s
- The ‘new’ deliverables.
- The importance of standards.
- The state of the UK vs the ROTW.
Whilst this is not an exhaustive list, and I understand that this may not be within the remit of everyone I speak with who represent Universities, but if this point is understood by education providers we’ll all be in better place very soon. Combined, multi-disciplinary AEC courses anyone?
We must remember that any BIM authoring software is nothing but a tool, in the same way that a pencil is.
If a university’s aim is to arm students with software knowledge then I’d agree that Revit is a good starting point but BIM is bigger than that.
If we can at least aim to reduce the gap between AEC education and the practicalities of ‘real world’ business needs, things will improve slowly, but much faster than they will if all we’re doing is taking up the slack for software skills that ageing industry figures can’t (or don’t want) to use and understand.
Those who can, teach? I’m not sure…
As I stated at the top of this blog, the input from industry needs to be continuous and from my education experience I’ve mostly seen tutors who had been disconnected from the industry for a long time. This still continues and we sometimes see students being taught almost useless ways of working. At least show them how the modern sector works!
I have no global solutions, but I have a passion to teach others whilst maintaining a position within the industry I love. I’m not sure what that makes me, but I’m sure it’s a by-product of learning so much from the people I have worked with over the years.
I feel the need to share and educate wherever I can. Even if it’s outdated in 5 years, it’s better than 20 or 30 years…