Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)


Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning

Committee Chair(s)

Benjamin George


Benjamin George


Keith Christensen


Kristy Bloxham


Landscape architecture education focuses on creating socially-rich environments for learning. Coursework in landscape architecture often is labeled as “studio learning.” These types of classes involve a high degree of collaboration and detailed critique. They create opportunities for students to interact with each other and their professors. When considering the adoption of online learning, a primary concern of landscape architecture professors is to maintain this high degree of social interaction in online classes.

This study explores the use of several platforms to facilitate social interaction in online landscape architecture coursework. These platforms include Canvas, Basecamp, and Conceptboard. Canvas is the learning management system used for the course, and work done for this project included interaction on the discussion boards. Basecamp is a collaboration tool that included message boards and check-ins for students. Conceptboard included visual work-sharing on an online whiteboard and was used for scheduled critiques between students and the professor or TA. Over the course of two assignments, students interacted online within these different platforms. To determine the effectiveness of the platforms, data was collected from the content posted to platforms, the grades of students’ assignments, and a survey sent to students.

Students that used any platform performed better on their assignments than those who did not. Conceptboard users especially had higher grades than those who did not. Conceptboard was generally used to post work and receive a critique from a professor or TA. When comparing students who used Basecamp and Canvas, there was little difference in students’ performance.

Basecamp provided a benefit in more participation, and students who used the platform responded that they were more engaged with their fellow peers. During the study, students did respond that they had opportunities to interact with their peers. This study suggests that using online platforms for student interaction can have a positive benefit for students.