Birks Building 203

Birks 203


3520 rue University


58 students

Alignment with Principles for Designing Teaching and Learning Spaces

Academic Challenge

  • Layout: Large tablet work surface for notebooks, laptops, or textbooks
  • Furniture: Comfortable, tablet chairs on wheels permit students to work individually or in groups.
  • Technologies: Access to resources: LMS, internet (via student laptops)
  • Acoustics: Acoustic design to avoid distraction from outside and inside sources
  • Lighting/colour: Appropriate lighting for individual work.  

Learning with Peers

  • Layout: Flexible layout permits students to move easily from small group to larger group activities.
  • Furniture: Tablet chairs on wheels permit students to turn and discuss with those nearby, or to easily form small groups of two or four. Such easy reconfiguration of the classroom supports a variety of collaborative learning approaches.
  • Technologies: Whiteboards provide shared workspace for student brainstorming, work on projects, and presenting.
  • Acoustics: Sound zones support multiple simultaneous conversations among students.
  • Lighting/colour: Lighting fixtures provide pleasant lighting and large windows bring in natural light.

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, which can be set up in multiple configurations (e.g., pairs, small groups, or facing front) according to the pedagogical activity and goals.
  • Furniture: The podium provides ample space for all instructional materials, and has a height adjustment for accessibility and convenience. Mobile furniture supports different teaching strategies.
  • Technologies: Classroom technology (data projector) permits display of different learning materials.
  • 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.  
  • Lighting/colour: The refinished original wooden flooring, uncovered during construction, considerably lightens the room.

Campus Environment

  • University standards applied, IT consistent with teaching and learning needs, and durable furniture.
  • Designed for all populations using the space: well-lit, with natural and supplemental lighting, with standardized room controls to facilitate use of multiple classrooms.
  • Classroom is designed for flexible future use (e.g., cabling permits instructor podium to be relocated in the future)
  • Classrooms 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.


IT instructions


McGill University is on land which has long served as a site of meeting and exchange amongst Indigenous peoples, including the Haudenosaunee and Anishinabeg nations. We acknowledge and thank the diverse Indigenous people whose footsteps have marked this territory on which peoples of the world now gather.

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