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Design forum

Student versions

Akos Bezegh
Graphisoft Alumni
Graphisoft Alumni
Dear Archi-Talkers,

Meeting the needs of the student community is a key priority for us at Graphisoft. At present, we are evaluating our policy to find ways to better serve architects and students of architecture at schools and universities around the world.

We would like to get your feedback and ideas on how Graphisoft can make ArchiCAD more accessible and useful to students. Feel free to use this forum to write whatever occurs to you on this score. Some questions you might address:

1. Did you learn and/or use ArchiCAD in school?
2. Is ArchiCAD taught at universities near you?
3. Do students know about ArchiCAD when they choose a CAD system?
4. What are the most important factors for students who have decided to learn ArchiCAD?
5. What are the most important factors for students who decide against learning ArchiCAD?
6. As far as you know, do students of architecture submit their work in electronic format, or are free-hand drawings compulsory?
7. Is a working knowledge of ArchiCAD an advantage when looking for a job?


Let us know! Drop us a line.

Thank you


About me:

Greetings! I graduated as an architect, and have been working at Graphisoft since 1999 as a user interface designer. For the past three years, I have also taught Computer-Aided Design at the Technical University of Budapest. Earlier this year, I was appointed ArchiCAD Product Manager at Graphisoft. My new responsibilities include Graphisoft's educational policy, and as moderator of this forum I encourage all of you to start topics and post messages here. I look forward to lively and productive discussions!
Akos
Bezegh

ArchiCAD
Product
Manager

GSHQ
24 REPLIES 24

Eduardo Rolon
Moderator
University of Puerto Rico School of Architecture

This is basically what is happeining with our implementation of AC

1. Started teaching AC two years ago as an elective course for our Masters Program.
2. There are two courses; one AC basic that concentrates mostly on using AC to create the VB, the second concentrates on PM and in how to create the project presentation. Students have forced us to make two different sections for both courses.
3.At this date there have been 3 thesis using AC.
4. Right now students are warming up to the advantages of using AC over regular AutoCAD.
5. The $99.00 per student licence is a good incentive. AutoCAD sell for about $550.00. The students that bought R8 and received the 8.1 upgrade were surpised that it was free. There should be more promo for the student version.
6. Architectural offices down here are starting to evaluate the change from Autodesk's products to AC. I personally know 4 of them that have switched.
7. Recent job postings are talking in consideration your knowledge of AC and the initial salary is higher if you know AC.
8. The University version pricing is perfect (50 lic for $150.00) Don't change it.
eduardo rolón AIA NCARB
Another of the forum moderators.
Macbook Pro M1 Max 64GB ram
OS X 10.XX latest
AC26 US/INT -> AC08
Puerto Rico, BVI, Miami

Vectorworks 2023

Karl Ottenstein
Moderator
Welcome, Akos. 😉

I hope that your request will spur a dynamic discussion, since I firmly believe that a vibrant use of ArchiCAD in education is a critical part of the overall marketing strategy.

The answers to your questions will not doubt vary from Europe, where AC has deep penetration, to North America where it does not.

It is worth looking beyond architecture departments!! AC should be introduced in small colleges that teach drafting (2 year degrees), in colleges teaching interior design, at schools teaching construction management and more.

One key IMHO, at least in the US, is that lesson plans and teaching materials (PowerPoint files and sample AC files) should be part of the "package" ... as should a lavishly illustrated and well-organized text book for self-guided study. In university, it is likely that a graduate student might teach the material ... and a different one each term at that ... or a faculty member who is so overloaded with other duties that he/she does not have time to really learn AC. Thus, GS should make the teaching materials available. The ideal is to have someone completely enthusiastic about the VBIM and AC ... but that enthusiasm seems unlikely on a massive scale at this point in the US.

Imagine tired, overworked faculty that find it easier to continue the status quo and who also have neither a financial incentive nor one tied to job security to try something new. Now, picture what you have to do to get such people to adopt AC. Seems grim! But, providing lesson plans/etc (above) to make it an easy thing is one step.

Another step, at least in 4 year colleges and universities in the US is to make the receipt of AC (and its adoption) a "success" story for the faculty and department. Tenure-track and tenured faculty are evaluated on teaching, service and research ... and, unspoken, on their fundraising in terms of grants or other value brought to the university. The funding provides tangible benefits ... but also the intangible in publicizing "success" stories for further fundraising efforts. If you sell or give away the student version - there is no broader value to the faculty/university.

Instead I suggest the following for universities: donate full licenses with network key plugs (with appropriate contracts requiring security for the plugs and return to GS if the software is no longer used for academic purposes and various other strings attached). Graphisoft then gets a tax writeoff for the value of the licenses ... and the University appears to have a large "gift", with the associated publicity. Support and additional financial incentives (based on successful student projects perhaps) to the faculty might ensure more success than we have seen to date.

For 2 year colleges and high schools, the current student version (donated) is probably fine ... if accompanied by the lesson plans and text.

Just some thoughts... 😉

Karl
One of the forum moderators   •   AC 26 USA and earlier   •   macOS Ventura 13.2, iMac Pro 10-Core, Radeon Pro Vega 64

Karl Ottenstein
Moderator
A P.S. to my last post: In addition to the educational materials suggested, some 45 minute video lectures (DVD format presumably) might be really helpful expecially if the lecturer is well-known in the architectural field, a dynamic speaker, and enthusiastic about presenting the VBIM and AC vision.

Few instructors can resist the temptation to pop a DVD in the projector and avoid having to prepare a lecture... 😉

But seriously, a few high-quality videos from someone with recognized stature could be inspirational in all classroom settings and also help assure Graphisoft that a unified core presentation is made wherever AC is taught. Making the videos for each country / language group would be a challenge...

I'm not talking about a boring "here's how we do X" presentation with a camera on a tripod and flipping back and forth to screenshots ... but a dynamic presentation with multiple camera angles, guest comments and dialog from site visits to architect's offices, images of projects underway and completed, etc. Get the Hungarian Film Commission to underwrite it! 😉

My 2 cents.

But ... c'mon folks - please give your thoughts on Akos' original post in this thread. It has been too quiet, but surely everyone has an opinion on AC in education?

Thanks,
Karl
One of the forum moderators   •   AC 26 USA and earlier   •   macOS Ventura 13.2, iMac Pro 10-Core, Radeon Pro Vega 64

Anonymous
Not applicable
Karl wrote:
It is worth looking beyond architecture departments!! AC should be introduced in small colleges that teach drafting (2 year degrees), in colleges teaching interior design, at schools teaching construction management and more.
My wife, Melissa, was instrumental in getting ArchiCAD installed at Boise State University. Although, it has recieved some attention and it looks like our first course may be started this fall I am troubled. It is a non-credit course to which most college students give a thumbs down to when considering their next semesters courses. Most cannot afford the time or money to attend non credit courses for software that they probably will not be using in their first, second or third job.

I spoke recently with a professor from the College of Southern Idaho. They boast of being the first university in Idaho to teach ArchiCAD. However, this professor confessed that his architectural drafting course has recently reverted back to AutoCAD. While he is a proponent of the VBM, he found that he spent more time teaching the software, when is obliged to teach architectural drafting. By the time a student of drafting reaches the architectural stage, they are well versed in AutoCAD.

I could see his point. I thought it a little strange....what better way to teach building, but by building?

Karl wrote:
Imagine tired, overworked faculty that find it easier to continue the status quo and who also have neither a financial incentive nor one tied to job security to try something new. Now, picture what you have to do to get such people to adopt AC.
We don't have to imagine too hard.
Karl wrote:
Instead I suggest the following for universities: donate full licenses with network key plugs.
This is already standard practice.
Karl wrote:
For 2 year colleges and high schools, the current student version (donated) is probably fine ... if accompanied by the lesson plans and text.
Lesson plans and text? Yes, full course work for software training. That is what it amounts to.

I consider myself to be fairly gifted and have a knack for acquiring skills quickly. I know this is not the case with most technical students and at least half of the classes that graduate are not interested even slightly in architecture.

Lets keep this discussion moving. I am very interested in hearing from Europe.

stefan
Advocate
Akos wrote:
Dear Archi-Talkers,
1. Did you learn and/or use ArchiCAD in school?
No.
Akos wrote:
2. Is ArchiCAD taught at universities near you?
Not that I know.
Akos wrote:
3. Do students know about ArchiCAD when they choose a CAD system?
They have heard about it, but they need AutoCAD knowledge.
Akos wrote:
4. What are the most important factors for students who have decided to learn ArchiCAD?
They are on Mac, in which case they have only VectorWorks and ArchiCAD as real alternatives.
Or they are smart and see what is possible with it and overlook the AutoCAD-world.
Akos wrote:
5. What are the most important factors for students who decide against learning ArchiCAD?
Everyone uses AutoCAD or VectorWorks in our country (Belgium).
Akos wrote:
6. As far as you know, do students of architecture submit their work in electronic format, or are free-hand drawings compulsory?
They submit on paper, but more and more drawing is done on computers.
Akos wrote:
7. Is a working knowledge of ArchiCAD an advantage when looking for a job?
Usually not.

---

And now about myself:
I'm an architect-engineer and learned AutoCAD at the university.

Then I worked in a few offices: one year with AutoCAD, 2 1/2 years with VectorWorks (on PC and on Mac). At that time I bought my own ArchiCAD license for my own practice. A tough decision and one that is still a cause of financial concern when we are trying to buy/build a house. I might sell it in the future... with tears in my eyes.

Now I work at the university where I studied and give a part of the CAD-courses... using AutoCAD and VIZ Render and (because I suggested it) SketchUp.

Although I'm a strong defender of ArchiCAD, I can't convince my colleagues to switch ships. And I'm not even fully convinced that we should change. From an educational point of view, it makes more sense to teach the whole gamut of CAD, starting from 2D-drafting over 3D-modelling till BIM.
At this point, we don't teach them about BIM, since we lack the time. I'm planning to include it in our renewed courses, if I can. It'll probably be BIM in an ADT-form, since they are trained in AutoCAD at that time. But I'm also thinking about teaching them ArchiCAD once they know AutoCAD, so they can judge the differences (which wouldn't be fair when they don't know how ADT works).

---

As a school, we received a 30-key network version of ArchiCAD, that has recently been upgraded to 8. It's installed but not integrated in the courses. I am doing my best to at least have it installed in the classrooms and I plan to launch some ArchiCAD workshop in the near future, to at least let them experience what ArchiCAD is all about.

---

Then the aspect of students: like most students, I started with a copy of AutoCAD I got from a friend (didn't we all?). At that time, a student license was always about EURO 250 and it was the older version. Now I'm on the other side, I try to give as much information as possible about student discounts.

The truth? Most students still use a copy of AutoCAD from a friend 😉
The ones that do buy a student version are a minority.

The prices?
SketchUp 3.1 student version is EURO 30 including taxes (1 year license).
AutoCAD ADT 2004 student version was EURO 30 + taxes (2 year license).
ArchiCAD 8.1 student version is EURO 74 + taxes + shipping.
Microstation is even free when the school subscribes to the BEN SELECT program (which we cancelled, since it wasn't cheap and we weren't using it).

The fact that they need AutoCAD for their courses means many students won't bother to also buy ArchiCAD. It's as simple as that.

And if we wouldn't have received ArchiCAD for free, we probably wouldn't buy it either, since you can't teach everything. After all, we are training architects and not drafters. In fact, we are inclined to decrease the amount of direct tuition and will evolve to a system where they have to learn more by doing then by following a course.

---

When I teach AutoCAD, I explain that AutoCAD is 'just a CAD application' and that there are others as well, but if they learned AutoCAD, they will use that as their first choice.

A few of our design-teachers are using VectorWorks in their own practices and they often tell students that it beats AutoCAD in productivity (which it does, IMHO) and that makes the students confused.

---

The end result: our courses will still be based around AutoCAD for the time being, while we'll give information about other alternatives as well. And although we will try to be objective and open about the other applications, most students will keep on working with AutoCAD (and SketchUp).
--- stefan boeykens --- bim-expert-architect-engineer-musician ---
Archicad26/Revit2022/Rhino7/Unity/Solibri/Zoom
MBP2019:i9Octo2.4GHz32GBVega20/Ventura+Win11
ARCHICAD-user since 1998

Eduardo Rolon
Moderator
stefan wrote:
The end result: our courses will still be based around AutoCAD for the time being, while we'll give information about other alternatives as well. And although we will try to be objective and open about the other applications, most students will keep on working with AutoCAD (and SketchUp).
The way I have structured my courses (which are in the process of being re-evaluated) is:

1) AutoCAD basic class- the purpose of this one is to introduce the student to the CAD world and to Photoshop as part of their tools for their design studio. The course goes from AutoCAD basics up to 3D and paper space and how to export the file to Photoshop for final rendering. The typical student for this class is first year-second semester and second year-first semester.
2) The second class concentrates in 3D. It starts with Sketch-up, continues with Art-lantis and finishes with 3D Viz. It builds on the 3D model the students worked on the AutoCAD class.
3) ArchiCAD basics- this is a course in our master program. It concetrates on the BIM concept and how they can use AC tools when they start working on their thesis.
4) ArchiCAD 02- this concetrates on AC and PM and Artlantis, and how the students can create a final set of schematic drawings.

At this time I am considering pushing AutoCAD from the line-up to a more secondary position and giving more weight to SketchUp with Artlantis, illustrator and Photoshop as basic courses (undergrad level) with AC as a more advanced tool. The only reason I will keep AutoCAD is because if a student graduates without knowing how to use it, he will have a hard time finding work.
All my classes are electives in our program but i have never has any problem filling them out. Our design courses do not require students to work digitally so the student chooses usually the path of minimum resitance, is hand drawn does the job they do that if not they look at digital.

The other point that affects the student choice is that they look at what the instructor uses. Since I switched to AC and SketchUp some of the students have followed suit. Also I switched to OS X and I have started to see more Macs in our school, actually from 1 to 6 in this semester alone.

My conclusion is that students should not be boxed in to AutoCAD alone, the more software they learn the better for them and our profession. Just because AutoCAD has a bigger share of the market does not mean that it is the best tool to use. And like the change from regular drafting to CAD took some time, so the change from 2D Cad to BIM will take some time too.
eduardo rolón AIA NCARB
Another of the forum moderators.
Macbook Pro M1 Max 64GB ram
OS X 10.XX latest
AC26 US/INT -> AC08
Puerto Rico, BVI, Miami

Vectorworks 2023

stefan
Advocate
ejrolon wrote:
stefan wrote:
The end result: our courses will still be based around AutoCAD for the time being, while we'll give information about other alternatives as well. And although we will try to be objective and open about the other applications, most students will keep on working with AutoCAD (and SketchUp).
My conclusion is that students should not be boxed in to AutoCAD alone, the more software they learn the better for them and our profession. Just because AutoCAD has a bigger share of the market does not mean that it is the best tool to use. And like the change from regular drafting to CAD took some time, so the change from 2D Cad to BIM will take some time too.
Let me clarify that I never said that AutoCAD is the best tool. The proof is that I bought ArchiCAD 😉 While we do not consider us to be a "jobschool" (directly preparing students for the workfloor), we believe that a firm knowledge of AutoCAD is in all students' interest.
On the other hand, as I read your interesting overview of the courses, I have the feeling that students will need to learn a few things twice: working with Paperspace in AutoCAD and working with Plotmaker in ArchiCAD as the most obvious example. And learning both Art*lantis & VIZ. Do you see that as an advantage or disadvantage?

The problem with teaching too much different applications is that you can't go in detail anymore. It's a difficult balance: we try to be open and not tied to any coorporation/software, yet have to choose the "main application" and be efficient with it.
--- stefan boeykens --- bim-expert-architect-engineer-musician ---
Archicad26/Revit2022/Rhino7/Unity/Solibri/Zoom
MBP2019:i9Octo2.4GHz32GBVega20/Ventura+Win11
ARCHICAD-user since 1998

TomWaltz
Newcomer
When I was in school, they taught us AutoCAD one semester, then Microstation the next, then put us back in AutoCAD for the third.

Their reason was to break us of the "one size fits all" mentality that often develops in CAD users, that their software is the one-and-only, and all others are bad. From the get-go, we knew this was not the case.
Tom Waltz

Eduardo Rolon
Moderator
stefan wrote:
Let me clarify that I never said that AutoCAD is the best tool. The proof is that I bought ArchiCAD 😉 While we do not consider us to be a "jobschool" (directly preparing students for the workfloor), we believe that a firm knowledge of AutoCAD is in all students' interest.
On the other hand, as I read your interesting overview of the courses, I have the feeling that students will need to learn a few things twice: working with Paperspace in AutoCAD and working with Plotmaker in ArchiCAD as the most obvious example. And learning both Art*lantis & VIZ. Do you see that as an advantage or disadvantage?

The problem with teaching too much different applications is that you can't go in detail anymore. It's a difficult balance: we try to be open and not tied to any coorporation/software, yet have to choose the "main application" and be efficient with it.
Actually the idea i use is to teach the basics in the easiest application and then go into the more difficult one and explain how the procedure differs in order to create the same effect. I have found advantageous to compare applications and their procedures. Also I make emphasis on choosing the right tool for the right job (don't do page layout in Photoshop use illustrator or Corel, if you don't have time use Artlantis instead of Viz because it is faster,etc.)
On artlantis and Viz I have found out that the students get a better feel for lights, materials and rendering if i use Artlantis first since the interface is much less clutered than Viz. Once they get Artlantis then it is easier to use Viz as I only have to explain the interface and how they can produce the same/better results using Viz. My only problem here is that then I'm stuck with "Why use Viz when Art is faster and easier?" but that is the question I want the students to have so that they don't get stuck in using only one tool. The same goes when teaching PM and Pspace it helps to discuss the pros and cons of both applications.
IMO this concept has helped the students to get a better feel on how computers and software work, that they have to choose the tool that is appropiate for the work and that AutoCAD, Word and Excel are not the only tools they have.
eduardo rolón AIA NCARB
Another of the forum moderators.
Macbook Pro M1 Max 64GB ram
OS X 10.XX latest
AC26 US/INT -> AC08
Puerto Rico, BVI, Miami

Vectorworks 2023

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