HOGENT (Hogeschool Gent) is one of 17 Flemish university colleges. HOGENT has existed since 1995, and the college’s branches are scattered in Ghent, Aalst, Melle, Lokeren and Bottelare. The University College currently has 19,142 students and comprises seven departments and a long list of programmes, including graduate programmes. With these graduate programmes, HOGENT aims to give students maximum results by aligning theory and practice.
The school’s “Architectural Drawing” programme is a two-year, 120-credit course that introduces students to all facets of architectural drawing through a strong practical and vocational approach to workplace learning in the form of internships. Similarly, the graduate course titled: “Structural Drawings” has existed for three years and is offered during the day. It can be combined with a part-time job in which the programme is staggered to suit. Students learn architectural drawing theory, which they can apply immediately in both the practical classes of the course and in an everyday setting. The final assignment of this programme consists of modelling and documenting a house according to a chosen construction principle.
Cindy Parewijck is a Coordinator and Lecturer of these degrees at HOGENT. She explains that the programme was set up from within the sector and in collaboration with the professional field. This is done through a working committee scrutinising the programme annually.
Central to the programme is BIM; a process for creating and managing information on a construction project throughout its whole life cycle. In the programme, students work with modelling software from Autodesk, among others, and specifically the Autodesk AEC Collection which includes Revit, Civil 3D, Navisworks and AutoCAD. But to really work well together based on BIM, more is needed.
Cindy further explains the above: “During the programme, several Labs occur, with Lab 5 in the final year. In this Lab, students must incorporate all the knowledge and experience gained into a group assignment. This requires ‘real’ collaboration according to the BIM methodology.
The digital tools used to date to work together within the programme did not meet these requirements. Models and other assignment files were shared by students in more traditional ways, after which the fellow student then continued working on the assignment. That collaboration process needed to be improved, as too much work and time were lost. This raised the question of ensuring students could collaborate within the same model.
Ann Van den Borre, Technical Solutions Executive for Autodesk Construction Cloud, is on the jury of the graduate course. With HOGENT, Ann investigated whether it was an option to introduce Autodesk Construction Cloud within the Construction Drawings course.
Ann says: “HOGENT was already working with our AEC Collection tools because our organisation already had educational solutions. But suppose you want to approach the course like you would in a real-life scenario. In that case, students have to learn to work with several people in various disciplines according to the BIM methodology and link disciplines.
This means having a central platform where you store and share the data is imperative. To meet this need, Autodesk has granted HOGENT an educational licence for Autodesk Construction Cloud.
This construction management platform allows information sharing during all project stages, from design and construction to operation. As an enabler of BIM processes in projects, Autodesk Construction Cloud improves communication and collaboration within companies and also beyond with collaboration partners, subcontractors and suppliers through the four integrated workflows Design, Plan, Build and Operate.
Autodesk Construction Cloud consists of several modules made available in consultation with the school. The students may also continue to use them during their internship until the end of the programme.
Cindy adds: “Because of this cloud platform, we always have the latest version of the models at hand and each discipline can perform clash detection. This can happen both in the design and construction phases.”
It was a first for HOGENT and Autodesk to collaborate in this way. Cindy explains: “We think it is important to be up to date in the field of technology and digitalisation, especially when it comes to BIM. This is the only way a university can offer its students the opportunity to be fully prepared for the professional world and keep up with practices in the field. Our students are already getting used to the fact that all data is always available and that data and communication via a platform go hand in hand. This is certainly important now that more and more work is done remotely.
Cindy continues: “Because data management is central to Autodesk Construction Cloud, we are considering using the platform in our other construction-related courses. Autodesk was the first Flemish college to provide us with sufficient licences. By including technology and digitisation in our courses, we hope to attract more diverse students.”
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