So let’s think about designing a course. What do we need to discuss? The learning objectives, content, assessment strategies, delivery methods, and the audience among other things. When it comes to online learning we often discuss how we can leverage online spaces to engage students. For face to face courses are we being as diligent and planing with the physical learning space in mind? Are we considering the effects of our physical learning spaces when designing a course?
If you are designing a class that requires students to present multimedia presentation and the space doesn’t have a projector or large TV then your class probably isn’t going to work out. Suppose you have created a group activity to promote collaboration. The classroom you’re meeting in is a lecture hall with auditorium seating. Splitting up into groups is going to be difficult since students can’t face each other. Maybe students need to bring devices to class for an assignment. Are there enough outlets and will they be easy to access?
Luckily, we have active learning spaces being developed on campus. These spaces are designed and maintained by the Learning Spaces team managed by Lee Webster. These active learning spaces have been designed to promote collaboration and technology use. Check out this link for pictures, information, and a sign up sheet if you’re interested.
Additionally, do you even need a formal classroom to teach your lesson? Is your class having a discussion that doesn’t need any computer technology? Try meeting outside at a park or a common space. There are many spaces around the city that focus on specific topics such as the National Center for Civil and Human Rights but you aren’t limited to a space’s intended use. For a lesson on green space development in urban environments you could hold class on the Beltline and integrate the physical space directly into your lesson. Common areas on campus are another location that can easily be used as an informal learning space. Using informal learning spaces can not only provide a novel experience but provide context impossible to obtain within the classroom.
The catch is that to effectively use informal learning spaces it is imperative that you think about them when designing your course.
If you are interested in learning more about active learning spaces or designing your course with learning spaces in mind come stop by the CII or shoot us an email.