Burnside 1104

Burnside 1104. Photo by Owen Egan

Burnside 1104. Photo by Owen Egan

Burnside 1104. Photo by Owen Egan. 

Detail of podium, Burnside 1104. Photo by Owen Egan


805 rue Sherbrooke Ouest


50 students

Alignment with Principles for Designing Teaching and Learning Spaces

Academic Challenge

  • Layout: Students can work individually or in groups at large rectangular tables, configured in rows, with an ample 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: Learning Management System and internet via student laptops. Access to infrastructure: Some electrical plugs for student laptops around the perimeter of the room. Possibilty for two sources (instructor laptop, podium PC) and screens for simultaneous display of different learning materials.
  • Acoustics: Design includes acoustic panels to mitigates distraction from outside and inside noise sources.
  • Lighting: Tall windows create a spacious environment with ample natural light. Appropriate overhead and natural lighting supports individual work during or outside of class time. 

Learning with Peers

  • Layout: A layout with rectangular tables in rows permits students to collaborate with one another and move easily from small group to larger group activities. Students at each table can work together in smaller groups of two, or turn around and work in groups of four. students are able to move about easily in the classroom due to sufficient passing space between tables. 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: Blackboards wrap around three walls of the room, providing ample shared workspace for student brainstorming, work projects, and presenting. 
  • 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 has access to all students due to a layout with clear sightlines and aisles.  
  • 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 (e.g. group work in various sizes).  
  • Technologies: Multiple projecting surfaces and dual-source projecting permit the display of different learning materials at the same time (e.g. from the instructor's laptop and the podium PC). 
  • 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. '
  • Lighting and colour: The lighting patterns provide a bright, pleasant environment and support multiple types of teaching and learning tasks. The acoustic panels provide colour in the form of a constrasting patterns of black and red fabrics. 

Campus Environment

  • 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.
  • The instructor podium is height-adjustable. 
  • Classrooms that incorporate elements of active and collaborative learning are part of a vision for a variety of flexible campus learning spaces.

High-Impact Practices

  • 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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