Computer usage in interior design: Professional applications and pedagogical implications
This study surveyed professional members of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and Institute of Business Designers (IBD), ascertained computer competencies desired for entry-level employment by interior design graduates, and determined demographic characteristics such as type of practice, computer use, size of firm, etc. This study also compared competencies desired by professional interior designers with the computer competencies required by the Foundation for Interior Design Education Research (FIDER) first professional level degree accredited programs, and surveyed FIDER-accredited programs and determined how interior design students were being instructed in computer applications. Questionnaires were mailed to 640 ASID and 160 IBD randomly selected professional members. The instrument contained questions concerning size of firm, type of practice, educational background, computer applications, and attitudes toward the use of the computer in the future of the interior design industry. A separate questionnaire containing questions concerning pedagogical methods, media, and requirements was mailed to representatives of the 73 first professional level degree programs accredited by FIDER. Forty-two percent of the IBD and 20 percent of the ASID professional members, and 63 percent of the representatives of the FIDER-accredited programs returned questionnaires. The data indicate that professional interior designers require an awareness level of student achievement for computer systems. However, professional interior designers indicated that interior design graduates should be competent in the use of computer-aided design/drafting (CAD) (73.4%) and word processing (57.4%), and the majority believed that the use of computers will be increasingly important in the future. Of the 46 FIDER-accredited programs, with a total enrollment of 5,315 students, the majority (73.9%) required a level of student achievement for computer systems higher than the "awareness" level recommended in the FIDER standards and guidelines. FIDER-accredited programs, as a whole, are currently meeting the entry-level computer skill requirements of professional interior designers. Professional interior designers indicate that the use of computers in the future will continue to escalate and will be essential to the interior design graduate. Therefore, educators must continually evaluate curricula, methods, and media to stay abreast of industry standards.