Not Your Mama’s Classroom!

We’re ? with active learning classrooms! You know, student-centered, flexible learning spaces that allow for a range of teaching and learning activities. What does an active learning classroom look like?

According to Baepler, et al. in “A Guide to Teaching in the Active Learning Classroom: History, Research, and Practice”, active learning classrooms (ALCs)

“typically feature round or curved tables with moveable seating that allow students to face each other and thus support small-group work. The tables are often paired with their own whiteboards for brainstorming and diagramming. Many tables are linked to large LCD displays so students can project their computer screens to the group, and the instructor can choose a table’s work to share with the entire class. Wireless Internet plays an important role in retrieving resources and linking to content management systems, and depending upon the size of the room, table microphones can be critical so that every student’s voice can be broadcast across the room. Unlike the lecture hall with its clear division between front and back, the ALC is designed to even out that hierarchy and increase mobility for the instructor and students.” (p.10)

Inside the Ruscio Center for Global Learning (CGL), Rooms 104, 114, 115, 211, and 212 certainly fit the bill! Look at those:

  • movable tables and chairs allow the professor to circulate and interact for improved student engagement
    • movable chairs were designed for quick, easy transitions from one teaching mode to the next, like lecture to group work without interruption, are lightweight, portable, stackable, and COMFORTABLE! Small holes in the material allow your body to breathe, so moisture and heat dissipate, so you remain cool! (CGL 114 and 211)
    • node chairs in CGL 115 and 212 have swivel seats that give students the freedom to shift focus throughout the room. The base of node chair provides a unique storage solution for backpacks and student belongings that usually clutter the aisles. And it has an adjustable worksurface, that accommodates both left- and right-handed students and provides a perfect fit for students of all shapes and sizes.
  • multiple flat screen displays ensures that every seat is a good seat (CGL 115 and 212)
  • flip tables: allows you to save space (CGL 104)
  • dual projectionthe option to display a single source on both projection screens increases the sight lines of the classroom (CGL 115 and 212)

Compare that to college classrooms of the past …

So … which classroom is more likely to support teaching and learning in an atmosphere conducive to engaging students actively in their own learning?

blocks that spell out DUH

[Curious about active learning, a pedagogical approach that emphasizes student engagement in the learning process? Check out this great op-ed piece by Cathy N. Davidson in Inside Higher Ed, “10 Key Points About Active Learning“.]