Thursday, February 4, 2016

THE PROBLEMS OF GAINING KNOWLEDGE – A REVIEW OF A CPD OFFER





There is no intent to belittle or denigrate anyone or anything in this review. One feels like John Soane here:
And if in the endeavour to discharge the duties of my situation, as pointed out by the laws of this Institution, I shall be occasionally compelled to refer to the works of living artists, I beg to assure them that, whatever observation I may consider necessary to make, they will arise out of absolute necessity, and not from any disposition or intention on my part merely to point out what I may think defects in their compositions. For no man can have a higher opinion of the talents and integrity of the architects of the present time than myself, nor be more anxious on all occasions to do justice to their merits and fair pretensions to fame.

Sir John Soane The Royal Academy Lectures edited by David Watkin Cambridge University Press 2000 p.29



Why are CPD providers not accredited by the Board?
Would it make a difference?

Indeed, the matter that is of importance here is the substance and quality of CPD offerings, nothing more or less. The Board of Architects of Queensland has declared that, to have any registration renewed, an architect has to accrue a minimum of ten formal CPD points, and ten informal CPD points per annum. Just what might be involved in this situation is explained in the Board's guide, Information Sheet 1 - see: http://www.boaq.qld.gov.au/Content/NavigationMenu/Resources/ContinuingProfessionalDevelopment/Qld_Info_Sheet_1_-_Practising_Architects_and_CPD.pdf  The Board offers nothing further; neither does it supervise offerings, nor accredit any provider of educational sessions that claim to be of sufficient quality to allow an attendee to add a specified number of particular points to the annual count. The issue seems to be that the new CPD rules are generating what might be seen as just 'business opportunities.' The problem that is sought to be highlighted here is that of quality. If the CPD point system is not going to fall into the farcical situation where architects turn up to anything that might claim to be point-worthy, that could be a most mundane and irrelevant presentation but still count, then the Board surely has to question its modus operandi and establish rigorous rules and manage circumstances so that the profession might be able to truly benefit from the CPD requirements and the associated events.





Currently one sees situations promoted that, in earlier CPD-free times, were merely manufacturers' promotional days that encouraged attendance with lunches; perhaps an after-hours beer. Now the tables have turned. Manufacturers are now being begged to participate to provide opportunities for CPD points. When this observation was jokingly made to a representative of a large company who was due to speak at a recent CPD session, the speaker shrugged and said that no one had asked the company to provide lunch! One guesses that it might have been happy to do so. Ah! Those were the days. One can recall long, happy Christmas lunches provided by manufacturers as a 'thank you' for using and specifying their products throughout the year. The potential moral 'outrage' or the sense of 'bribery' in this situation was never questioned or raised: it really was a simple, honest and welcome “Thank You.” Today there would be many questions about this, maybe a Royal Commission, such is our supercilious political correctness.




The tables have been reversed. Now we pay to listen to promotional propaganda just because the Board has established this new regime – well, has now started enforcing the Act, but, it has to be emphasised, only in part: see - http://voussoirs.blogspot.com.au/2012/05/who-or-what-is-architect.html Why? So it was of interest to receive the E-mail from the Australian Green Development Forum, specifically the Green Speed Learning Forum – CPD Events, that told of a talk, the GSLF Feb 10, 2016: Sustainability Master Planning, Mixed Use City Scape. Does one have to point out to the author of this promotional piece spruiking educational benefits, that 'mixed-use' is hyphenated, and that  'cityscape' is one word? This is the beginning of the problem that lies at the heart of the concern: one is expected to pay to attend a one-hour talk to gather formal points, a talk that starts with a problem and might possibly continue likewise. Why should one bother with wasting time and money when one starts correcting the expression/understanding from the very beginning? Why pretend that one has learnt anything? It seems that just by completing the worksheets provided that one can get the extra couple of points added to the chart that one is asked to keep. This is where the farce starts. One begins by correcting the promotion, and one is likely to continue to remain critical and to do likewise throughout the whole involvement with the event.






This particular talk is one by a Mr. John Tuxworth, the Managing Director of BE Collective: see - http://becollective.net/About/PeopleJohnTuxworth.aspx  Now one has to say that this commentary has nothing personal to do with Mr. Tuxworth. The promotion is being used as a typical example only. The matter is CPD quality. In amongst all of the impressive information that the promo chooses to present on Mr. Tuxworth, including dropping the names of Erskine, Foster and Rogers, the AGDF fails to inform the recipient of the E-mail that Mr. Tuxworth is on the Board of  Directors of the AGDF: see https://au.linkedin.com/in/john-tuxworth-4151a014


This fact only came out of a further search on the speaker, to learn more about this individual. Why was this omitted? Other material that came out of more searches included information on his company: see - http://becollective.net/Projects.aspx  One looked into this to see if the talk might be worth going to. Everything sounded more than impressive. Even the worksheets appeared to suggest an exuberant brilliance with phrases like: 'a very professional project proposal; architectural experience and knowledge gained about multi use, high density inner city developments; communication, cooperation and professionalism; international ratings tools, high level presentations examples.' If one overlooked the lack of the hyphens in 'high-density,' 'high-level' and 'inner-city,' one might be impressed and even consider attending the talk.



The company site was opened: what was this? One saw an 'engineered' page with a mixture of different projects designed by various architectural firms that had asked BE Collective to participate in these works. To be fair, one could say that the projects were not astonishing. Indeed, nor should they have to be; but we had been primed to expect the unexpected in the CPD talk promo - 'high level': (yes, the hyphen is again missing). There was disappointment. What was extremely 'very professional' here that might stun, amaze with its 'international' quality? What examples of 'high level presentations' were there to be observed and learned from here? What unique example of 'professionalism' might there be in the BE Collective web site that might stimulate one to do likewise? What special 'architectural experience and knowledge' was there from which one might glean 'new knowledge'? Surely one might expect something spectacular after the CPD hype?




One does not have to further analyse the subject. The link is http://becollective.net/Projects.aspx Just have a look. The whole is a sad disappointment after such an introduction. There is little transformative or special here. There does not have to be, but the CPD promo suggested otherwise. Indeed, the site seemed to try just too hard to impress. One project was illustrated with drainage pipes; another a fairly ordinary Gold Coast development; yet another showed a coloured, 3D structural diagram; and so on. It is all a little puzzling. The point being made here is not a singular criticism of BE Collective; it is to highlight the apparent exaggeration of the AGDF promo; the strangely named 'Green Speed Learning Forum' that appears specifically set up to offer 'CPD Events' – sessions that allow architects to tick boxes to accumulate required CPD points: the 'business' side of the group.



While the ADGF might like to make the promoted one-hour lunchtime talk sound amazing so as to attract attention, one has to note that there could be some self-interest here that does not appear to be a special search for quality. Mr. Tuxworth is on the Board of Directors of the ADGF; the event has a price of $27.12 for non-members – why exactly $27.12?; and the hype seems to lack any supporting evidence: the web site of BE Collective does not really appear to support the enthusiastic descriptions, (with or without hyphens), in the flyer. In spite of all of this, the event will accrue two formal CPD points for attendees. One assumes this to be so: the promo never really specifies the point rating or count, but it must be so: why else attend as a paying non-member and complete a worksheet? Does the Board care that the CPD process might have become a charade?





In spite of all of this, the 'learning experience' is boldly promised in a naive, questionable expression, minus the hyphens:
Learning Outcome:
Participants shall:
  • Obtain new knowledge and able to understand how to contribute towards and develop a very professional project proposal
  • Share architectural experience and knowledge of multi use, high density inner city developments
  • Contribute to a better understanding (improved) skills of communication, cooperation and professionalism
  • Improved skills through a better understanding of international ratings tools, high level presentations
Is this really likely? Who will gauge the relevance of this experience? How can such an outcome be predicted when neither the title of the talk nor the worksheet and learning experiences can be presented correctly? One has to remain cynical with such a state of affairs.



The whole situation is very embarrassing. Even overlooking the quality of expression and poor spelling, one feels as though architects are being treated as school children might be, with a set of simplistic tasks identified on formal work sheets to be completed during the talk to confirm the 'learning experience.' It is as if one has to prove that one did indeed attend the session;  that one was not asleep; and that one did fully comprehend the issues being presented on 'High Density Mixed Use City Scape.' It all gets very close to being insulting. Surely the profession deserves better than this in every way?



If the Board is truly interested in quality CPD outcomes, then it has to take action itself to set the example, and to supervise the presentations and outcomes. Allowing 'Speed Learning' promos to seemingly hype up ordinary situations with wrong spelling looks to be a situation that will only add to the questioning pessimism that is growing throughout the profession. A colleague recently told me of an experience at a CPD Green Speed Learning talk: the friend sitting next to him was diligently completing his worksheet before to the speaker had started the talk. The colleague looked on puzzled, and asked naively, “How do you know what to write when he has not yet begun?”
“Oh,” said the friend, “You take all of this CPD stuff just too seriously!”



If this is what CPD point collection has come to, then one has to ask: why is such silliness perpetuated? If the Board is happy with this meaningless game, then it can keep doing what it is doing. If it is seeking something truly substantive, then the provision of CPD opportunities has to change. One can recall an era of free monthly talks for the profession that were given by invited guests and international architects who might be travelling in Australia. These stunning evenings were presented and attended by many just for the love of and interest in architecture. Now that the CPD rules are insisted upon and policed by the Board in a strict, legalistic, schoolteacher-like manner, many talks and presentations are attended only in order to achieve the cheapest and easiest points possible. It is a truly sad state of affairs that can really only be overcome by the Board itself that should begin its own quality presentations throughout the state. Gosh, it really is just not good enough for the Board to boldly threaten and reprimand architects with brash statements of demand that repeatedly remind that the declaration of points is a legal requirement, with any false statement being punishable at law; and that distance is no excuse.



Really, the Board has to know that there is no excuse for hyped-up presentations to be pushed as point-winning periods just to add to the count. This silliness merely perpetuates the nonsense of the point chaser, who is determined to tick boxes as simply and ineffectively as possible. Meaning and quality have no role in this farce that is interested in quantity only. Surely the whole ambition of the CPD philosophy is that the architectural profession will learn, will grow in meaning, strength and understanding, and respect, with a specific, well-managed, caring CPD regime. If the search for value and understanding is being turned into a cynical, legalistic farce, as it appears to be, then things need to change – NOW: or am I taking things just too seriously?


THE TALK


Australian Green Development Forum
Green Speed Learning Forum - CPD Events
cpdevents@agdf.org.au






GSLF Feb 10, 2016
Sustainability Master Planning, Mixed Use City Scape

John Tuxworth - Managing Director of BE Collective

Overview:
The presentation will explore John's recent experience as a consultant   for the Buchan group on a massive development proposal in Bangkok. It will focus on John's contributions towards the environmentally sustainable development  of this mixed use high density inner city development.

Learning Outcome:
Participants shall:
  • Obtain new knowledge and able to understand how to contribute towards and develop a very professional project proposal
  • Share architectural experience and knowledge of multi use, high density inner city developments
  • Contribute to a better understanding (improved) skills of communication, cooperation and professionalism
  • Improved skills through a better understanding of international ratings tools, high level presentations

Presentation and Interactive Workshop
Presenter: John Tuxworth - Managing Director of BE Collective
Academic Qualifications: B Eng GCertMan MIEAust MIStructE RPEQ NPER GSAP
Technical: John contributes technically across structural, civil, hydraulic & ESD disciplines. John’s tertiary education started at QUT’s school of Civil Engineering where he completed his Bachelor of Civil Engineering. Following this John spent several years abroad working for Maunsell (Aecom) in Indonesia, Waterman Partnership in London, and Michael Punch and Partners in Dublin. Whilst in London John became one of the youngest Chartered Structural Engineers by passing the exclusive Institute of Structural Engineers Part 3 Exam. In 1999 this exam was 7.5 hours long with a 64% failure rate.

Practical Expertise: John’s interest in becoming a multi-discipline building professional saw him complete a year of architectural studies at the University of Westminster in London. He has also undertaken MBA studies through Latrobe University.   John’s first involvement with ESD in the built environment was whilst working on the Greenwich Millennium Village Project in 1998, with renowned architect, Ralph Erskine. His formidable time whilst in the UK also saw John also working on projects by Norman Foster (University of East London, Docklands Campus), and Richard Rogers (Montevetro high-rise at Battersea). John is one of the few structural/civil engineers to be accredited as a Green Star Professional.

Please CLICK HERE to register your seat now!
Please CLICK HERE to download your worksheet for the Feb 10, 2016 event.

Competency Unit:  DESIGN




WORKSHEET

GSLF Feb 10, 2016 CPD Workshop Worksheet
How do you contribute towards and develop a very professional project proposal?

Detail some architectural experience and knowledge gained about multi use, high density inner city developments.

What is your understanding of communication, cooperation and professionalism?

What are some international ratings tools, high level presentations examples?



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GSLF - Sustainability Master Planning, Mixed Use City Scape
Wed, 10/02/2016 at 12:30 PM - Brisbane CBD, QLD

Event Information
Event Description
Overview:
The presentation will explore John's recent experience as a consultant   for the Buchan group on a massive development proposal in Bangkok. It will focus on John's contributions towards the environmentally sustainable development  of this mixed use high density inner city development. 

Learning Outcome:
Participants shall:
  • Obtain new knowledge and able to understand how to contribute towards and develop a very professional project proposal
  • Share architectural experience and knowledge of multi use, high density inner city developments
  • Contribute to a better understanding (improved) skills of communication, cooperation and professionalism
  • Improved skills through a better understanding of international ratings tools, high level presentations

Presentation and Interactive Workshop
Presenter:
 John Tuxworth - BE Collective
Academic Qualifications: B Eng GCertMan MIEAust MIStructE RPEQ NPER GSAP
Technical: John contributes technically across structural, civil, hydraulic & ESD disciplines. John’s tertiary education started at QUT’s school of Civil Engineering where he completed his Bachelor of Civil Engineering. Following this John spent several years abroad working for Maunsell (Aecom) in Indonesia, Waterman Partnership in London, and Michael Punch and Partners in Dublin. Whilst in London John became one of the youngest Chartered Structural Engineers by passing the exclusive Institute of Structural Engineers Part 3 Exam. In 1999 this exam was 7.5 hours long with a 64% failure rate.
Practical Expertise
John’s interest in becoming a multi-discipline building professional saw him complete a year of architectural studies at the University of Westminster in London. He has also undertaken MBA studies through Latrobe University.   John’s first involvement with ESD in the built environment was whilst working on the Greenwich Millennium Village Project in 1998, with renowned architect, Ralph Erskine. His formidable time whilst in the UK also saw John also working on projects by Norman Foster (University of East London, Docklands Campus), and Richard Rogers (Montevetro high-rise at Battersea). John is one of the few structural/civil engineers to be accredited as a Green Star Professional.

Competency Unit:  Design
WHEN
Wednesday, 10 February 2016 from 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM (AEST) - Add to Calendar
WHERE
Theatrette Room - Brisbane Square Library. 266 George St. Brisbane CBD, QLD 4000 AU -View Map
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AGDF
Organiser of GSLF - Sustainability Master Planning, Mixed Use City Scape
The Australian Green Development Forum is a balanced, non-profit coalition of members from development industries, government organisations and community groups. It is endorsed by industry and environmental bodies, and is aligned to community sectors that also have an interest in fostering positive development and resilient building.

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