An Examination of CAD Use in Two Interior Design Programs From the Perspectives of Curriculum and Instructors

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Al-Mousa, Nadya
Interior Design Programs , Hand Sketching , Design Process , Design Practice , CAD , Manual Drafting
The overall purpose of this study was to examine the nature of curriculum in college-level interior design programs, explore computer-aided design’s (CAD) place in these curricula, and examine pedagogy used to teach CAD in these programs. Specifically, the objectives of this study were to better understand (a) the nature of college-level interior design programs with regard to curricular conceptions, (b) how interior design programs integrate CAD into the curriculum, and (c) how interior design instructors adopt and integrate CAD into their teaching practices. A qualitative research methodology using case study design was used. Data at two college-level interior design programs were collected using document analysis and interviews with six interior design instructors, three from each institution. Previous studies (Hill & Anning, 2001b) examined and identified how other design fields such as graphic, engineering, architectural, and apparel design practice the design process. However, there is little research found on how interior designers practice design and their profession, or how they use CAD in design. Therefore, this research contributes to the literature on how interior design professionals design using CAD programs and more specifically how they incorporate AutoCAD software in their professional design practice and in their teaching of interior design curriculum. Findings revealed that participants referred to their own professional practice to conceptualize and teach the design process. The phases of the design process described by each instructor were context-specific to a design project and their use of CAD in the design process depended on their preferences, skills, abilities, and the context of their professional practice. Findings also revealed that CAD is an important tool in the field of interior design. Even though CAD may inhibit an interior design students’ creativity, it can save time, document drawings, and assist in better coordination with other professionals in the workforce. To enhance interior design students’ skills, it is recommended that CAD courses be placed at the early courses of an interior design curriculum concurrently with manual drafting courses. This research provides useful information for future interior design instructors and CAD curriculum planning.
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