Digital Learning Spaces:
Lessons from the MSc in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh
Jen Ross, University of Edinburgh
Monday, April 15
Noon – 1:30 PM
Seattle Pacific University Library Seminar Room
Every course design is philosophy and belief in action. This is no less true – indeed it may be truer – in courses with a significant digital dimension. Online courses can be designed to invite particular kinds of participation, to take particular sorts of approaches to knowledge. But, like the physical classroom, they do more than embody the pedagogical values of the teacher – they are also greatly affected by the nature of the environments in which teaching and learning take place. In this talk, Jen will reflect on the experiences of teachers and students on the wholly distance MSc in E-learning programme, exploring issues such as how being at but not in Edinburgh affects students and how the values and educational philosophies of teachers on the programme impact, and are impacted by, the learning spaces they use and create.
Jen is the programme director of the fully online MSc in Digital Education programme at the University of Edinburgh, co-author of the Manifesto for Teaching Online, and co-organiser of the Coursera MOOC “E-learning and Digital Cultures”. Her teaching and research concerns digital education now and in the future, online identity, and how cultural and educational institutions are changing in the digital age. The evolving meaning of space and place is one of the most interesting topics in digital and distance learning at the moment, and Jen’s visit to SPU will focus on these and other issues relating to a broader theme of active learning spaces.
You are invited to attend a presentation by:
Robert J. Beichner, Ph.D., North Carolina State University
Thursday, January 31, 1:00 – 2:30 PM, Cremona 102, Seattle Pacific University
How do you promote active learning in a large classroom? Can students practice communication and teamwork skills in a large class? How do you boost the performance of underrepresented groups? Join us as we learn from Dr. Beichner, member of North Carolina State University’s Physics Education R & D Group, and his work on The Student-Centered Active Learning Environment with Upside-down Pedagogies (SCALE-UP) Project. Materials developed by the project are now in use by more than 1/3 of all science, math, and engineering majors nationwide. Physics, chemistry, math, biology, engineering, business, nursing, and even literature classes are being taught this way at more than 150 institutions nationwide. To learn more about Dr. Beichner and the SCALE-UP Project, visit http://go.ncsu.edu/beichner
Space Matters: The Impact of Active Learning Classrooms
Interactive Lecture wit D. Christopher Brooks, Ph.D.
Tuesday, December 11, Noon – 1:30 PM Cremona 101, Seattle Pacific University
D. Christopher Brooks is a Research Fellow in Educational Technology Services at the University of Minnesota. He earned his doctorate in Political Science with a minor in Russian and East European Studies from Indiana University. He taught Comparative Politics and Political Theory at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, St. Olaf College, and the University of Minnesota-Morris before coming to the University of Minnesota where he now conducts empirical research on the impact of educational technologies on teaching practices and learning outcomes. Since 2008, he has served as co-PI on the University of Minnesota’s Active Learning Classroom (ALC) Research Project delivering nine conference presentations, presenting five posters, and publishing nine peer-reviewed articles on the subject. His research appears in a number of publications including the Journal of Learning Spaces, the British Journal of Educational Technology, the Journal of Faculty Development, The American Biology Teacher, EDUCAUSE Quarterly, the International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Evolution, the Journal of Political Science Education, and Social Science Quarterly. He is co-editor of a forthcoming (2014) volume of New Directions for Teaching and Learning that features research projects on learning spaces.
This video shares professor and student comments about a new learning spaces classroom at Seattle Pacific University.
Student Thoughts on Active Learning Space
I am teaching an educational technology course in SPU’s new active learning space classroom.* The course is taught in a blended format so we will spend about 30% of the instructional time face-to-face in this classroom. That works out to be three three-hour sessions. In our first face-to-face class meeting I asked “What do you think of this classroom?” Here is a quick summary of their responses. (Keep in mind that most of these students are K-12 teachers.)
- Ability to write on any wall
- Easy to reconfigure furniture
- Adult sized chairs
- Digital clock
- Spacious room for 20+ students
- Students placed in a position where they have to interact with each other
- Can show an individual table’s display to all other tables
- Erasers and markers for all tables.
- Placement of displays, not easy to watch screen and instructor at same time
- Can’t post student work on the walls
- Can’t write in other classrooms
- Chairs are not kid friendly
- High maintenance walls
- Spacing of tables – need more separation between groups
- Instructor’s display in the way – Need it to lay at an angle where it does not block line of sight
- Where to look – Students don’t know where to focus their attention
- Lack of central power for laptops. Have to use power strip connected to wall
- Temperature and air noise in the room
These are insightful comments after only three hours of use. But then again, they are teachers. They dream about the ideal classroom all the time. Cremona 101 is not it… at least not yet.
What are your thoughts? Do you have ideas of how we can improve this classroom or version 2.0 in another learning space?
* You may need to install or update Silverlight if you are unable to view the link above that takes you to a panoramic view of the classroom.