Mosaic Senior Faculty Fellow Feedback
Prompt 2: What small changes can be made to traditional spaces to support active learning?
The only consensus of responses on this question, mentioned in five responses, was to increase space/amount of square footage per student. All other responses were each mentioned once.
SELECT DETAILED RESPONSES
Reduce capacity/increase per student square footage
- I know this seems next to impossible from a registrar point of view, but comfortable space enhances collaboration. Remove unnecessary equipment or bulky items to [create] more space.
- Students need space to move, [to] spread out [their] learning materials and comfortably move throughout the room for group activities. The standard ﬁxed table classroom creates the context where the only communicator in the class is the instructor. When there is space for the instructor and students to move, they recognize that they are part of the learning experience for the entire class.
- Reduce the number of students we try to ﬁt into traditional classrooms if there are other rooms that can accommodate larger numbers of students. (increase per student square footage)
Selection of furniture and affordances
- Remove the unwieldy tables and uncomfortable chairs. Replace them with smaller tables and comfortable chairs with rollers.
- Adding packs of small group-based whiteboards to each room would be one way to encourage active learning behaviors.
- [Student learning could be enhanced] if classrooms were oriented into a U-shape with chairs and tables . . . so everyone could see each other.
- Redesign the traditional classroom spaces for more aisle space to allow for the formation of small groups that allow the faculty member to visit with each student.
- The option and ability to record multiple screens
- Smart boards that can display on big screens. For example, the LE101 whiteboards are pretty useless for drawing on. The students in the back can’t see [them] because of size and distance. The overhead projector and the document camera are not recorded.
Location of classrooms
- Reassign classroom spaces in blocks of other classrooms or spaces in which students frequent, like the Mosaic classroom I’m teaching in currently, which is housed in the library and close to computer banks and our coﬀee shop on campus. Having classrooms so close … noisy traﬃc areas is awfully distracting for the students.
Additionally, individual Fellows suggested that improved WiFi coverage, lighting, acoustics that could absorb excessive sound, and temperature are all environmental enhancements that should be considered when assessing changes needed within traditional spaces.