Having researched learning spaces over the past couple of years, and having taught some active and collaborative workshops of my own in Van Pelt Library’s new Collaborative Classroom, I’ve become more interested in how faculty are using active learning classrooms (ALCs) to better engage students with each other and with course material. This semester, I was lucky enough to do a number of active-learning-related things: present about Penn Libraries’ Collaborative Classroom together with Sam Kirk at a local conference, travel to another university to learn about how their ALCs work, and observe active learning right here in our own Collaborative Classroom.
WIC and EC spaces will be highlighted in a Learning Spaces Collaboratory (LSC) webinar on January 21 focusing on the role of commons spaces in supporting learning communities. Resources for the webinar include a 5-page profile on WIC and EC spaces, which appeared in a larger LSC Guide published in fall 2013. Facilitators will draw on resources in the LSC Guide and lessons learned on several academic campuses.
The LSC is a national organization that focuses on research and practices that shape effective undergraduate learning environments. Members include academics, architects, and national leaders; the LSC Collaborating Partners often host workshops, seminars, and webinars. The LSC’s “Exploring Commons Spaces” webinar runs from 3:30-5pm EST on Tuesday, and you can register via a survey linked from the LSC website.
We are thrilled that WIC and EC continue to attract national attention. In January 2013, the Learning Spaces Toolkit featured us as model spaces, and in December 2012, several articles in the inaugural issue of the Journal of Learning Spaces referenced our work.
We are partnering with SAS Computing, the Provost’s Classrooms Committee, and the Center for Teaching and Learning to host a video conference with Dr. Robert Beichner about designing active learning spaces and methods in higher education. Dr. Beichner has designed the SCALE-UP model of learning, which focuses on collaborative student learning and instruction. The discussion will cover pedagogy, as well as some of the challenges of organizing the facilities, technology, and support structure to facilitate this type of integrated learning environment. This model of education has been used in many settings including his Biology course at the University of Minnesota:
The videoconference will take place this Friday, March 2 from 11 am to noon in the McNeil Building, Room 286-7. Register to attend the videoconference here.