Alignment with Principles for Designing Teaching and Learning Spaces
- Layout: Students can work individually or in groups at large, round tables with a work surface for classroom materials (e.g., notebooks, laptops, textbooks).
- Furniture: Comfortable, adjustable, ergonomically approved chairs with wheels permit rapid transitions between individual and group learning activities.
- Technologies: Access to resources: Lecture recording permits individual review of course materials after attending class. Access to infrastructure: Some electrical plugs for student laptops at each table. Mutltiple sources (computer, document camera) and screens for simultaneous display of different learning materials.
- Acoustics: Design includes acoustic panels to mitigates distraction from outside and inside noise sources.
- Lighting: Large windows and tall ceilings create a spacious environment with ample natural light. Appropriate overhead and natural lighting supports individual work.
Learning with Peers
- Layout: 11 round tables permit students to collaborate with one another and move easily from small group (2, 4, or 8 students) to whole class activities. Students are able to move about easily in the classroom due to sufficient passing space. Sight lines are unobstructed.
- Furniture: Comfortable, adjustable-height chairs on wheels permit students to turn to discuss and work with those next to or behind them. Armless chairs allow students to easily turn and discuss in pairs or small groups, supporting collaborative learning.
- Technologies: Glass writable surfaces wrap the room, providing ampled shared workspace for student brainstorming, work projects, and presenting. Shared workspaces include back-lit glass writable surfaces around the classroom. Pwer outlets at each table allow students to keep their computers charged during class.
- Acoustics: Sound zones support multiple simultaneous conversations among students.
- Lighting: Windows and overhead lighting support group work. Tables are identified with unique letters. Tall windows bring in natural light. Different lighting patterns and levels support different learning activities. Grey accent acoustic panels and natural wood tabletops bring a soothing, organic element to this space.
Experiences with Faculty
- Layout: Instructor is not limited to the “front of the room” and instead has access to all students due to easily mobile furniture, clear sightlines, and ample passing space. Instructor's podium is located near the centre of the room and has plenty of space for all equipment and the instructor's materials.
- Furniture: The podium provides ample space for instructional materials and technology, and has a height adjustment for accessibility and convenience. Mobile chairs support different teaching strategies. Tables have sufficient space surrounding them for the instructor to check in with a given group.
- Technologies: Classroom technologies (data projector, document camera) permit display of different learning materials. Dual-source projecting on multiple projecting surfaces around the classroom permit the display of different learning materials at the same time.
- Acoustics: Sounds zones ensure that not only are students able to hear the instructor, but that the instructor is also able to hear the students. Sounds zones support multiple simultaneous conversations. The instructor has a wireless and a wired microphone available. Student tables have microphones.
- 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, with a standardized room control panel that simplifies instructors’ use of equipment in classrooms across campus.
- A standardized room control panel simplifies instructors< use of equipment in classrooms across campus.
- The instructor podium is height-adjustable.
- Improved ventilation.
- Classrooms that incorporate elements of active and collaborative learning are part of a vision for a variety of flexible campus learning spaces.
- Both physical and virtual affordances help maximize HIPs for student learning within and beyond this classroom.
Further information about Active Learning Classrooms at McGill