Alignment with Principles for Designing Teaching and Learning Spaces
- Layout: Work surfaces for notebooks, laptops, and textbooks: large, shared tables
- Furniture: Comfortable furniture: adjustable, ergonomically approved chairs
- Technologies: Access to infrastructure: power for student laptops, networked printing. Access to resources: LMS, internet (via laptops)
- Acoustics: Design includes acoustic panels to avoid distraction
- Lighting/colour: Appropriate overhead and natural lighting for individual work.
Learning with Peers
- Layout: Promote face-to-face communication: oblong tables encourage students to communicate with one another in groups of up to 6. Individuals can move about easily, and sight lines are unobstructed.
- Furniture: Flexible seating (chairs on wheels)
- Technologies: Shared workspaces (writable walls throughout the room, each table has their own projector to work on). Further, low-tech videoconferencing via an installed camera that permits bridging to another location with Skype, Adobe Connect, etc. allows student to interact with external participants.
- Acoustics: Sound zones support multiple simultaneous conversations at student tables.
- Lighting/colour: Subtle table colours define the collaborative space for each group.
Experiences with Faculty
- Layout: Easy access to all students: Instructor can easily move around room with small mobile podium and can circulate from table to table.
- Furniture: Small podium does not interfere with sightlines, movement and interaction, while wall shelf provides extra space for instructional materials. Mobile chairs support different teaching strategies (e.g., group work in various sizes, student presentations, etc.)
- Technologies: Dual-source projection and multiple classroom technology sources (Smartboard, document camera, instructor computer) and multiple screens permit simultaneous display of different learning materials.
- Acoustics: Sound zones support multiple simultaneous conversations.
- Lighting/colour: Different lighting patterns to support multiple types of teaching tasks.
- University standards applied, including natural light and sustainable building practices.
- Designed for all populations using the space, with natural light, plenty of room to circulate between tables, standardized room controls to facilitate use of multiple classrooms.
- Both physical and virtual affordances help maximize HIPs for student learning within and beyond this classroom.
Photograph before renovation
Further information about Active Learning Classrooms at McGill