Alignment with Principles for Designing Teaching and Learning Spaces
- Layout: Students can work individually (or in teams) at large tables with three “wings”. Each table has ample work surfaces for conducting experiments or for classroom materials (e.g., notebooks, laptops, and textbooks).
- Furniture: Adjustable-height stools on wheels for optimal comfort.
- Technologies: Access to infrastructure: power for student laptops, networked printing. Access to resources: LMS, internet. Multiple sources (Sympodium, document camera) and screens for simultaneous display of different learning materials.
- Lighting/colour: Appropriate overhead lighting for individual work during or outside of laboratory sessions.
Learning with Peers
- Layout: A layout with 7 large tables with three “wings” each permits students to move easily from small group to larger group portions of class work: students at each table can work together as a large group of 12, or in smaller groups of 4 or 6. Students are able to easily circulate in the classroom.
- Furniture: The table layout permits collaborative approaches to coursework, and improved communication (both verbally and line-of-sight). The standing-height tables support student movement as experiments are set up, conducted and observed, while stools on wheels permit students to easily move from small-group to larger group activities.
- Technologies: Shared workspaces include a dedicated whiteboard for each table, which doubles as a projectable surface. Part of the whiteboard is blank, while the other part is customized for drawing graphs. Screen-sharing allows students to project from their laptops to the nearest whiteboard/projectable surface, or to all projectable surfaces around the room.
- Acoustics: Sound zones by table support multiple simultaneous conversations among students.
- Lighting/colour: Table borders are colour-coded for ease of reference, and correspond to the coloured border on the nearest whiteboard/projectable surface. When the image from a student’s computer at that table is projected around the room, the coloured border of the projectable surface lights up.
Experiences with Faculty
- Layout: Instructor’s podium is located towards the centre of the room and has plenty of space for all equipment and for the instructor’s materials. The instructor has access to all students due to a layout that permits ample passing space, and clear sightlines.
- Furniture: Tables are easily accessible and have sufficient space surrounding them for the instructor to check in with a given group. Standing-height tables reduce hierarchy between instructor and students.
- Technologies: Multiple projecting surfaces around the classroom permit display of different learning materials at the same time (e.g., from the document camera, instructor’s and students’ computers, tablet/sympodium).
- Acoustics: Sound zones ensure that not only are students able to hear the instructor, but that the instructor is also able to hear the students. Instructor has a wireless and wired microphone; student tables have microphones as well.
- Lighting/colour: Lighting patterns provide a bright, pleasant environment and support multiple types of teaching tasks.
- University standards have been applied. IT is consistent with teaching and learning needs, and durable furniture contributes to sustainability efforts.
- Designed for all populations using the space: well-lit; coat-hooks provided for outerwear; room controls and equipment meets the needs of the students and instructors. Standardized room controls permit instructors to become familiar with a system for managing the technology used in multiple classrooms.
- Active learning labs (flexible spaces that incorporate elements of active and collaborative learning) are part of a vision for campus learning spaces of many different sizes.
High-Impact Practices (HIPs)
- Both physical and virtual affordances help maximize HIPs for student learning within and beyond this classroom.