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By : Jeffrey Hou, Min-Jay Kang

With the ability of linking distant partners and diverse bodies of students and faculty, virtual design studios provide unique opportunities for examining cultural, contextual, and methodological differences in design and design collaboration. However, most evaluations of virtual design studio in the recent literature have focused primarily on technical and operational issues. In contrast, the social and cultural dimensions of virtual design studio and their pedagogical implications have not been adequately examined. To address this gap, this article examines the experience and outcomes of a recent virtual design studio involving international collaboration between faculty and student partners. Specifically, it looks at how presence of differences and process of dialogic learning create pedagogical opportunities in a collaborative 'virtual' environment. Based on the case study, this article argues that through dialogues, collaboration, and negotiation of cultural, contextual and methodological differences, collaborative virtual design studio offers an alternative to traditional design studio based on the primacy of individual practice and the master-apprentice model of learning. By creatively utilizing the collaborative environment involving diverse partners, virtual design studio can foster a critical understanding of cross-cultural design process and the significance of dialogues and negotiation in design.

Keywords : Virtual Design Studio, Difference, Dialogic Learning, Pedagogy, Design Collaboration

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