A New Frontier: Collaborative Learning Spaces

Posted August 23, 2017 by Academic and Institutional Technology
Tags: Classroom Technology

A New Frontier: Collaborative Learning Spaces

AIT is partnering with TIR, the Provost’s Office, Facilities Development, and other faculty to pilot brand new collaborative learning spaces to support active class engagement.

What is a collaborative learning space?

In the traditional classroom, the layout of the room reflects an assumption that lecture is the primary mode of instruction. Other, more interactive modes of teaching can be difficult to attempt with barriers such as fixed seating and line-of-sight issues posed by installed blackboards, screens, and lecterns.

While the installation of technology in classrooms during the previous decade has enhanced the ability to integrate computer-based presentations into professors' teaching, the classroom layout and modes of teaching have remained essentially the same.

Collaborative learning spaces allow faculty to teach beyond the lecture if they so choose. The room design, flexible furniture, writing surfaces, and technology all combine to support faculty in engaging with their students through collaborative learning activities and a participatory use of media.

Collaborative learning spaces facilitate diverse sizes and groupings of students, which creates a flexible and supportive environment for a class to transition easily between a presentation and student group work.

Pilot Spaces

Over the summer, we set up collaborative learning spaces in MSC 204 and Blanchard 472 which are ready to hold classes this fall. Beginning in January, BGC 134 will also be part of the pilot program.

Wheaton College’s pilot collaborative learning spaces include:

  • Multiple screens and whiteboards around the classroom
  • A design to support visual and physical access that gives every student the best seat in the room, while also allowing the professor and student to access one another
  • Mobile, flexible seats and desks to support quick reconfiguration among multiple modes: from lecture to project work, discussion, test taking and back again

Contact us to schedule a time to explore how these spaces could be leveraged to support your pedagogy. AIT welcomes your feedback regarding these spaces.

Interactive Digital Display

Over the summer, we updated 12 of our classrooms to include a brand new Interactive Digital Display. These elegant touchscreens serve as video conference screens, whiteboards, and computers all in one.

So far, the classrooms with a new Interactive Digital Display are:

  • Memorial Student Center
    • MSC 103
    • MSC 105
    • MSC 202
    • MSC 204
    • MSC 302
    • MSC 304
  • Billy Graham Center
    • BGC 250
    • BGC 263
    • BGC 309
  • Blanchard Hall
    • BLA 125
    • BLA 272
  • Schell Hall 201

To learn more about the new Interactive Digital Displays, visit this article.