Macdonald Engineering 50

Macdonald Engineering 50


817 Sherbrooke Ouest


50 students

Alignment with Principles for Designing Teaching and Learning Spaces

Academic Challenge

  • Layout: Work surfaces for notebooks, laptops, and textbooks: large, shared tables
  • Furniture: Adjustable height computer monitors for optimal comfort
  • Technologies: Access to infrastructure: desktop computers (1:1 student-computer ratio) and power for student laptops, networked printing. Access to resources: LMS, internet, regular and specialized software.
  • Acoustics: Design includes acoustic panels to avoid distraction.
  • Lighting/colour: Appropriate overhead and natural lighting from large windows onto corridor provides a pleasant environment for individual work.

Learning with Peers

  • Layout: Promotes face-to-face communication: oval tables encourage students to communicate with one another in pairs or groups of up to 8. Individuals can move about easily.
  • Furniture: Flexible seating (chairs on wheels)
  • Technologies: Shared workspaces (writable walls, screen-sharing)
  • Acoustics: Sound zones support multiple simultaneous conversations at student tables.
  • Lighting/colour: Sufficient lighting for group work. Red chairs bring an energizing accent color to this modern space.

Experiences with Faculty

  • Layout: Easy access to all students: Instructor can easily move around room and can circulate from table to table. 
  • Furniture: Podium provides ample room for instructional materials and technology. A small rolling cart does not interfere with sightlines or interaction, and allows the instructor to easily move around room while still being able to reference materials. Mobile chairs support different teaching strategies (e.g., group work in various sizes, student presentations, etc.)
  • Technologies: Dual-source projection, multiple classroom technology sources (document camera, Blu-Ray/DVD, instructor computer) and pairs of plasma screens around the room permit simultaneous display of different learning materials. Screen-sharing permits images from student tables to be displayed around the room, and images from the instructor computer to be displayed around the room and on student computers.
  • Acoustics: Sound zones support multiple simultaneous conversations.
  • Lighting/colour: Different lighting patterns to support multiple types of teaching tasks. 

Campus Environment

  • University standards applied. Room is designed for all populations using the space, with natural light, hooks for student outerwear, and standardized room controls to facilitate use of multiple classrooms.

High-Impact Practices (HIPs)

  • Both physical and virtual affordances help maximize HIPs for student learning within and beyond this classroom.


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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