Bringing Students Together: Collaborative Learning Spaces

Posted October 30, 2017 by Academic and Institutional Technology
Tags: Classroom Technology

Bringing Students Together: Collaborative Learning Spaces

Thanks to the collaboration efforts of TIR, the Provost’s Office, Facilities Development, faculty, and Academic and Institutional Technology, we are piloting brand-new collaborative learning spaces to support active class engagement.

Pilot Spaces

This fall, the College debuted collaborative learning spaces in MSC 204 and Blanchard 472, and work is continuing later this school year to add BGC 134 to 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

Steven Park, Director of Academic and Scholarly Technology, said, “We are giving faculty, who would like it, a more flexible teaching environment. Many faculty want to break their students into small groups, use cohorts, or work on guided projects in class.  By putting chairs and tables on wheels and adding digital displays and whiteboards around the room, it is now easier to learn in collaboration with classmates.”

Faculty in the Education department have said that the Collaborative Learning Space in Blanchard 472 has allowed them and their students to explore new and varied teaching methods.

Dr. Jon Eckert commented, “The new technology in Blanchard 472 has significantly enhanced our ability to prepare teachers. The new SmartBoard has phenomenal clarity and allows for easy connection through Apple TV. The additional monitors allow multiple simultaneous micro-teaching experiences with the flexible furniture. We have used this functionality in several classes.”

Contact the AIT Service Desk to schedule a time to explore how these spaces could be leveraged to support your pedagogy. AIT welcomes your feedback regarding how we can continue to improve these spaces.