Many universities today are struggling with the challenge of working with learning spaces that were originally designed for different pedagogies and different purposes. This paper is an update of the progress at DCU since presenting at Edtech 2015. With increasing possibilities due to advances in technology and a greater emphasis on collaborative teaching, some classrooms require a significant overhaul to meet the needs of 21st century learners. Limited budgets, however, require creative approaches and new ways of thinking in order to achieve required goals. In 2015 faced with these issues, DCU initiated a project to redesign a selection of learning spaces. What initially started as a project managed by the Estates office evolved into a interdepartmental collaboration between Estates, Computing Services and Teaching and Learning. The size of the task quickly became apparent and a multi phased project emerged. The first phase of development described in this paper involved developing showcase learning spaces that facilitated both collaborative and technology enhanced learning. Based on the seven principles of learning space design (Keppell et al 2011) the collaborative nature of the team ensured that all perspectives of design were taken into account. The paper describes our journey to date, our reasoning behind decisions taken, our lessons learnt and feedback from our end users - the lecturers and students.
the project had established seven overarching principles that need to be addressed. These were more overarching than the principles in the initial report. The SKG project established seven broad principles of learning space design which support a constructivist approach to learning: that is, principles which support a learning environment which is student-centred, collaborative, and experiential. These have the mnemonic CAFÉ BAR, which is quite appropriate, granted the student appreciation of comfort Comfort: a space which creates a physical and mental sense of ease and well-being. Aesthetics: pleasure which includes the recognition of symmetry, harmony, simplicity and fitness for purpose. Flow: the state of mind felt by the learner when totally involved in the learning experience. Equity: consideration of the needs of cultural and physical differences. Blending: a mixture of technological and face-to-face pedagogical resources. Affordances: the “action possibilities” the learning environment provides the users, including such things as kitchens, natural light, Wi-Fi, private spaces, writing surfaces, sofas, and so on. Repurposing: the potential for multiple usage of a space
Not collaborative Poor level of technology A pull down screen in front of one blackboard Three other blackboards One teachers table up the front Power sockets on the wall with on/off button for the projector No plugs for the students Would be difficult to be further away from the 7 principles if we tried
Note: Pull down projector screen, in front of the blackboard Desk away from the wall Trailing cables Button panel for projector Over head projector by the wall Two seater tables placed in a U shape. Awkward to adjust for different teaching activities The teacher can either use the projector or the blackboard not both at the same time
Note: Fixed projector screen, Blackboard removed and replaced with three whiteboards, spread around the room to encourage collaboration Podium in the corner No Trailing cables, Touch screen panel to control lights, projector and audio volume A “breakfast table” type board stuck to the back wall. This board have 4 double sockets each of which contained two normal plug sockets and two usb sockets. This is promoted as a “charging table”
This is one of the “posher” rooms with a podium, normal rooms just had panels like this stuck on the wall, with smaller rooms having projector remote controls stuck to the wall with a security cable
Now we have Same podium in every classroom Branded with the DCU logo Each podium was custom designed and is equipped to facilitate mobile lecture kits
LED lights, collaborative tables, vibrant colours, new carpets False ceiling to cover the ugly looking air conditioning pipes
Talk about Accessibility of touch screen panel, The touch screen contains help videos and also has been programmed to be “accessible” for people with visual difficulties talk about high resolution projectors to increase visibility. Two projectors put in larger rooms to increase visbility for all students
Insert pictures of multiple white boards, which can facilitate group work Wireless projection via Airmedia means that students can broadcast from their own devices. Up to four devices can be displayed simultaneously
The Flexible furniture allows (easy) multiple configurations of the room depending on the teaching activities
Group work with collaborative tables but as the tables are on wheels the room can be quickly emptied and used as an exam hall
Communication with staff is vital and consistency is key, we want lecturers to have the same experience regardless of the building that they are in Blackboards are in high demand particularly from maths lecturers The limitations on space mean that we are restricted on what redevelopment we can do with regards to furniture as we need to take account of end of semester exams The process is a collaborative process and involves people from IT Services, Estates and Teaching&Learning It is definitely a long term project, we are on that journey, we know where we are going but not there yet
Room booking panel outside some selected rooms Digital overhead projector in all maths teaching spaces
New approaches to old learning spaces
New Approaches to
Old Learning Spaces
Prof Mark Brown
Dr Mark Glynn
Keppell, M., Souter, K., & Riddle, M. (2011). Physical and virtual learning
spaces in higher education: Concepts for the modern learning environment.
Hershey, Pennsylvania: IGI Global.