Teaching and Learning Forum

Jeremy Ham

Jeremy Ham


Faculty: Society and Technology
School: Architecture and Building
Discipline: Architecture

Campus: Geelong Waterfront
Phone: +61 3 522 78313
Email: jeremy.ham@deakin.edu.au
Website: Jeremy Ham


"I am passionate about engaging students in authentic learning environments that use innovative and creative ways to enhance their learning."

Mr Jeremy Ham is a Lecturer and Unit Chair in the School of Architecture. An award-winning registered architect specialising in residential projects, he joined Deakin in 1999.


Jeremy is driven by a search for creative means of educating students for practice. He is motivated by achieving innovations in curriculum design that utilise digital technology, have relevance to industry and the community, and result in quality learning outcomes for students.

Approaches and methods

Jeremy believes that architectural education must connect with practice so that students understand the issues that affect industry and are able to design in the real world.

His authentic curriculum was initially developed under the aegis of a Committee for University Teaching and Staff Development (CUTSD) grant entitled "Reflective Making". Authentic learning responds to the educational challenges of involving students in the real world of design and construction, collaboration and engagement in technology. Jeremy uses a variety of learning tasks to engage students in a range of problems relevant to professional practice. These encompass interdisciplinary collaboration, higher order thinking through completion of complex tasks and the use of digital technologies to support learning.

Jeremy recently set up a project based on the design of an extension to a local school, responding to a real need in a coastal community. Students engaged in this "real" project, with client, site and stakeholders. In an invaluable and authentic learning opportunity, 110 students developed design scenarios for a sustainable school design, creating connections between the university and the community. All participants in the project benefited as a result.

Jeremy seeks to connect the knowledge he has obtained in architectural practice with understanding of how students learn through the use of digital technology. Since 2001 all his projects have been delivered online. An innovative example is a series of interrelated activities in a second-year design unit that link music and architecture from concept through to construction. The affinity between these two creative art forms was famously noted by the writer Goethe in the quotation "I call architecture frozen music", but arguably has been less regarded in the last hundred years. Students compose a piece of digital music, design a music room relating to their composition and, in teams, construct a selection of projects in real scale. For several years these music rooms were exhibited at the Sustainable Living Festival in Melbourne, which attracts tens of thousands of visitors.

Jeremy has also been instrumental in retention of student work in virtual galleries for peer review, benchmarking, school promotion and research, and led development of a database that includes a comprehensive architectural image repository and enables a student projects search. He also showcases student work to national and international audiences through digital and physical exhibitions.

Equally important to student engagement, in Jeremy's view, are the lecturer's enthusiasm and a love of learning. He treats architecture and construction management education as a creative exercise where motivation and inspiration are central to students' learning, and draws on his extensive experience as a professional musician performing regularly to live audiences to project ideas and material energetically and promote interaction and learning.

Enhancing teaching

Jeremy believes that teaching should be an evolving process of development, implementation, review and reflection where teaching programs develop during semester in response to new ideas and feedback from students. To maintain a responsive curriculum, Jeremy frames a course outline but does not complete full detail until later in the semester.

When an independent evaluation of one of his units revealed some problems with engagement in digital media, particular in the area of workload, requisite student skill levels and University information technology facilities, his reflection on this evaluation led to a shift in focus from digital media as a primary curriculum driver towards collaborative, authentic learning projects supported, where appropriate, by digital media. This resulted in improved student satisfaction and learning outcomes, and improved unit evaluations.

Jeremy focuses on provision of appropriate feedback as an essential element of authentic curriculum, drawing upon reviews by industry personnel during projects and upon completion. Reviewers include architects, construction managers, engineers and relevant Council and Government department staff. He extended this in 2005 to encompass an international panel of architectural academics and practitioners in Europe, America and Asia who reviewed student projects online, providing an international context for design education.

Jeremy's technologically integrated, team-based authentic learning curriculum has been validated by above School-average academic results and high Student Evaluation of Teaching and Unit (SETU) ratings for group work and online teaching.

He has found attendance at teaching and learning conferences invaluable for building understanding in the field and for helping to create a sense of connection to the academic community.

Jeremy features as a case study for the unit Pursuit of Scholarship of Teaching in the Deakin Graduate Certificate of Higher Education.

back to top

Research and teaching

Jeremy values scholarly activity as fundamental to his development as an academic and as a source of teaching enhancement.

He was involved in a CUTSD-funded project entitled "Reflective Making" in which selected programs in architecture and construction management were developed using digital media to enhance authentic learning. Through this project, which preceded Deakin Studies Online by several years, curriculum is delivered, submitted and assessed online and students undertake projects using digital media as the primary form of communication. The project generated 22 publications and presentations at 11 international conferences since 2001 around authentic learning, the digital design studio and management of digital information to support design education.

Jeremy's Masters degree research centred on learning and teaching in the design studio, examining media use in the design studio from the perspective of students and educators.

He participated in the 2005 Strategic Teaching and Learning Grant Scheme (STALGS)-funded project Establishing Best Practice for the Teaching of Group Design Projects led by colleague and fellow of the Teaching Leaders' Forum Dr Richard Tucker.

Jeremy's research and teaching in the area of construction technology have been recognised through citations in academic publications and reference to his approach in the Innovative Teaching in Construction Technology project at Hong Kong University. He gave guest lectures and tutored construction groups for the design studio at Hong Kong University, as well as reviewing work on the Innovative Teaching in Construction Technology project.

Jeremy has also been an invited guest reviewer, tutor and public lecturer at Australian and international universities.


Jeremy has presented university seminars and workshops on innovative teaching and the assessment of group work. He also mentors colleagues in authentic learning.


  • BArch (Hons), MArch [Deakin]


  • 2006
    • Carrick Institute (now Australian Learning and Teaching Council) Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning
    • Australian Institute of Building Teaching Excellence Award
    • Deakin University Award for Teaching Excellence
  • 2002
    • WJC Banks Award for Distinguished Contributions to Teaching and Learning
    • Faculty of Science and Technology Award for Teaching Excellence
  • 2001
    • Certificate of Commendation for Vice-Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Achievement in Teaching Excellence



  • STALGS a+b/Online—Developing an Online Repository of Digital Design Resources to Demonstrate Excellence in Architectural Education


  • STALGS grant (project participant)—Establishing Best Practice for the Teaching of Group Design Projects

1999 - 2001

  • Community for University Teaching and Staff Development (CUTSD) Reflective Making project (with Adelaide University)


Membership (Teaching and learning related)

  • Course Materials Content Quality Reference Group

back to top

Deakin University acknowledges the traditional land owners of present campus sites.

29th July 2010