Student and practitioner collaboration in an online knowledge community: Best practices from a capstone course implementation

Jonathan U. Dougherty, M. Kevin Parfitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Abstract The e-Studio Practitioner Mentorship Program is one element of a framework that makes up the Penn State Architectural Engineering department's fifth-year senior capstone design program. It was structured to incorporate increased student/practitioner collaboration and knowledge sharing. As such, knowledge transfer and mentorship are accomplished through a dedicated and controlled collection of online discipline-specific discussion forums populated by practitioners from various building industry backgrounds focused exclusively on assisting students. This paper analyzes the type and content of the collaboration, including both student questions and practitioner responses, posted to the various community forums that were implemented. The results of a question typology content analysis are described, and insight into why some student questions initially went unanswered by the mentors/experts is discussed. On the basis of this analysis, in addition to several years of postreview operation and best practices course improvement cycles, the paper offers a list of critical issues for consideration and suggestions for implementation for any technical academic program interested in implementing a student/practitioner collaboration effort of this type.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12-20
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Architectural Engineering
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2013


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts

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