Innovation in the globalised world: educating future building professionals
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The 42nd Australasian Universities Building Education Association (AUBEA) conference was hosted by Curtin University in Singapore in 2018. It was considered a significant success. Eighty-nine papers by approximately 70 authors or more were accepted; and were published in three volumes, one for each of the streams of the conference: Innovation, Technology and Sustainability. Participants attended from 32 universities across 14 countries. The purpose of this Special Issue is to further disseminate innovations in building education and practices on the back of the highly successful conference by showcasing some papers from the Innovation Stream. Authors whose works featured in the Stream were selected carefully and were invited to develop their papers further for a special issue of Construction Economics and Building.
This Special Issue can be considered very timely. Although back in 2018 when AUBEA conference took place, COVID-19 pandemic had not happened, the impact of the pandemic is now incontrovertible. At the time of this publication, definitive cure has not been found and many countries have struggled to recover. About 25 million cases have been infected by the virus globally. Death toll is now close to 1 million. World economy is very likely heading into a historic recession. It is understandable many current views are unequivocal to conclude the road to a full global recovery is a long and daunting one [see Baldwin and Mauro, 2020]. Similarly, the practice of teaching and learning is not left out in this: educators have had to find innovative ways to convey knowledge and reach their students over a distance. They have had to situate learning to inspire hope at a time when fear and uncertainty trouble the heart of many. In such an extra-ordinary time, there are opportunities for re-inventing, such that the lessons of today would inform the strength of tomorrow. Whilst online learning is not strange to construction and building education, the situation of COVID-19 requires construction educators to innovate further. They have had to cope with rapid changes, in which educators and students must benefit from resilience and resourcefulness. This includes finding the right balance between blended pedagogies and situated distribution. It is vitally critical that the construction management discipline is positioned to contextualise innovation appropriately so that the accelerated innovations stemming out from COVID-19 situation are neither taken for granted nor misunderstood.
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