Call: Blended Learning in Architecture and Design Education – Special issue of JPBLHE

Call for papers:
Blended Learning in Architecture and Design Education
Special Issue of The Journal of Problem-Based Learning in Higher Education (JPBLHE)

Abstracts: January 15, 2016. Papers: July 1st, 2016

The aim of this special issue is to elucidate current practices and experiences of mixing traditional, physical, location-specific and face-to-face modes of learning with online learning formats – altogether known as blended learning. In the design disciplines, this poses particular challenges, as design learning has traditionally been deeply rooted in practices which involve interaction with both people – peers and instructors – and physical matter.

The focus in architecture and design education on solving design problems through project-oriented learning processes makes the field a perfect probe for investigating problem-based learning. As opposed to traditional learning formats in higher education such as lectures, seminars and colloquia which are still widely used in most higher education programs, architecture and design education, as a form of problem-based learning, has always been focused on the studio.

In creative and arts-related educational programs, the studio is a space for experimentation and creative development. The studio is a physical space, and rather than reading and writing, students perform design enquiries through drawing and modeling. And learning is haptic–kinesthetic and visual–spatial, rather than verbal–linguistic or logical–mathematical. As such, architecture and design education is particularly interesting in the context of blended learning, compared to other fields of study in higher education.

Slightly caricatured, new online learning formats attempt to transport traditional learning formats into the digital media. Lectures become videos, seminars become chat rooms, and colloquia become online forums for the exchange and commenting of work in progress. Even if the quality and effectiveness of online learning may be debated, it therefore somehow seems to address the teaching needs and traditions of mainstream higher education, rather than those of the problem-based learning formats of architecture and design education.

But even if online technologies to emulate drawing and modeling do exist, they do not seem to have found their way into online teaching by any substantial measure. Therefore, it is tempting to believe, that introducing blended learning into architecture and design education may cause rupture to well-established ways of teaching in this field. So where does it leave – or take – studio-based architecture and design education? Does it subtract from the long-standing qualities of the studio and it’s important physical presence of both people and matter? Or does it add new and enriching qualities to the well-established learning formats of architecture and design education?

Those are the questions we seek to address.

The themes that we suggest for this special issue are:

  • New course formats as a result of new online technologies
  • Distance learning and new balances of on-/off-campus learning activities
  • International collaboration through online technologies
  • New methodologies for analysis and/or design
  • Pilot learning design projects – successes, failures and lessons learned


  • 15/01/2016: Submission of abstract/indication of interest
  • 01/03/2016: Notification of acceptance for submitting full paper or case
  • 01/07/2016: Submission of full paper or case
  • 01/09/2016: Reviewers’ response and editorial decision
  • 01/10/2016: Submission of revised papers or cases
  • 01/11/2016: Issue to be published


Nicolai Steinø holds a MA Arch, and a PhD in Urban Design from the Aarhus School of Architecture, Denmark. He is an experienced design educator and develops blended learning formats at Aalborg University, Denmark, where he is an associate professor.


Prospective authors intending to submit a paper for the special issue are asked to supply a 500-word extended abstract, outlining the content and aims of the proposed paper, plus a list of 7 to 10 key references that the paper will be informed by and/or drawn/built upon. The editorial team will review the proposals and identify approximately 10 abstracts that would be suitable to be developed into full papers.

Please send the abstract to: Jane Bak Andersen [] by 1st January 2016.

Full manuscripts should be prepared in accordance with the journal’s author guidelines and submitted via the journal’s manuscripts system – Open Journal Systems [].

Manuscripts for the special issue must be between 4,000 and 7,000 words in length (Please note that the word count is all-inclusive of the title, author details, approx. 150 words abstract, keywords and reference list as well as any tables and appendices that the manuscript may contain). Authors are encouraged to make extensive use of visuals.

Manuscripts must be original and may not have been previously published, nor may they be under consideration for publication elsewhere at the time of submission to JPBLHE and throughout the duration of the review process. Each full manuscript will be subjected to double-blind peer review. It is envisaged that 6 or 7 articles will ultimately be published in the special issue.

For full details of the editorial criterias and comprehensive instructions on how to submit a paper, please consult the journal’s author guidelines. For further information please visit the journal web page:

Queries and requests for further information may be directed to the editors-in-charge of this special issue of JPBLHE, Nicolai Steinø [].

Abstracts or papers not selected for the special issue will be considered for the regular issue of JPBLHE. And JPBLHE remains open to ongoing submission of papers.


ISSN: 2246-0918

First published in 2013

JPBLHE has been launched to provide an opportunity for scholars to publish:

  • High-quality research articles that contribute to the current and future development of problem-based learning in higher education.
  • Review articles examining the development of problem-based learning in higher education.
  • Articles examining the intellectual, pedagogical and practical use-value of PBL or which extend, critique or challenge past and current theoretical and empirical knowledge claims within PBL in higher education.
  • Articles examining theoretical, pedagogical and practical aspects of how networked technologies or ICTs can be used to support or develop problem-based learning.
  • Articles on PBL research relating to the concepts of problem-based learning in any other wider social and cultural contexts.

Editorial board

  • Prof. Anette Kolmos (UNESCO Chair in Problem-Based Learning), Aalborg University, Denmark
  • Prof. Anthony Williams, Newcastle University, Australia
  • Prof. Erik De Graaf, Delft University, Netherlands & Aalborg University, Denmark
  • Prof. Erik Laursen, Aalborg University, Denmark
  • Prof. Lars Bo Henriksen, Aalborg University, Denmark
  • Prof. Madeleine Abrandt Dahlgren, Linköping University, Sweden
  • Prof. Paola Valero, Aalborg University, Denmark
  • Prof. Yves Mauffette, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), Canada
  • Associate Professor Khairiyah Mohd. Yusof, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Malaysia
  • Prof. Thomas Ryberg, Aalborg University, Denmark
  • Associate Professor Diana Stentoft, Aalborg University, Denmark


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