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The Architectural Technology Fundamentals course has always included reading assignments – usually chapters from a textbook loaded with technical information, data, and a bit of history. In 2020, underpinned by historic shifts in expectations for architectural education, we took a critical look at our teaching and targeted the reading assignment as an opportunity to teach with equity and about equity. The readings have consistently ranked as the least effective learning mode, falling well behind the lectures, hands-on activities, and exams. After unsuccessfully attempting to promote engagement with the readings through quizzes, written outlines, and summaries, we took an entirely different approach. Evolving the assignment involved looking at the history and scope of design-technology and identifying histories and content realms that we have neglected. To expand the scope and timescale investigated in the reading assignment, three major shifts were implemented: diversify formats; provide countering viewpoints; and center “new” information.

The assignment evolved from text-only readings to Readings + Media which now includes text, audio, and visual resources. Based-on the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Guidelines, we strive to promote student interest and a variety of paths to learning and demonstrating learning. The resources present diverse viewpoints in several ways. First, by providing a diversity of disciplinary perspectives from Landscape Architecture, City Planning, Architecture, Engineering, Science, Medicine, Community Activism, and Art we can begin to recognize the blinders imposed by a single discipline. Second, by selecting underrepresented minority authors on issues of gender, race, and architectural technology, we promote representation of the student body in the bibliography. Third, by offering counterpoints to the pervasive ideals in the architectural academy, students can expose themselves to multiple forms of architectural thinking such as Post-Modernist, Decolonial, and Anarchist thought. After one year, student feedback shows strong support for the new assignment, and students report that Readings + Media is an educationally effective assignment.