Welcome to the 2012 CAUDIT Learning Spaces Tour which continues the momentum from the Melbourne and Brisbaine tour in 2011. This year's tour is in Sydney and will be looking at sites in the University of Western Sydney (UWS), University of Technology, Syndey (UTS) and the Sydney Centre for Innovation in Learning (SCIL).

The aims of the tour

- Engage IT leaders in the area of good design for Learning and Teaching so they can appreciate and represent holistic design concepts in their own institutions;
- Explore identified exemplars in learning space designs and understand what facilitates good learning and teaching practice;
- Develop some basic best practice guidelines around technology integration to share with the wider CAUDIT membership;
- Develop the Community of Practice for Learning Space and Technology across Australia and New Zealand.

This blog publishes the findings of the tour along with comments from participants as the tour progresses. The blog posts from the 2011 tour are included along with photos and links from last year.

Sarah Chaloner, Tour Leader

0414 349334

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Day 5 - Reflections of the week from the Group

Wrap Up Session
·         Rocky – There is still a tension about movable things compared with fixed. If fixed, we put more technology in but it is expensive to move it!  We have a new building planned and decisions are already made – not sure we are doing the right thing.   The flexibl space at Melbourne – it would be interesting to see how long it would take to de-couple the technology from the furniture.  Teaching spaces – we need to engage with the academics.
·         Irene – Agree with Rocky. Must be a better way to engage stakeholders.  Is what we say practical for my institution – we have to fit in x number of students – our lecture theatres are full. I like the idea of being able to teach from anywhere in the space. Some of our academics will embrace this but many won’t. So many good things to consider for the future.
·         Danny – Spaces we have seen have been representative of their university.  Whether they have done them well or not is not as important. What I took away is that we have to design spaces for our own university. Will be going back and really listening to understand our needs in context.  Acknowledge the different priorities of AV, IT, students.  Drive the spaces based on pedagogy – need to introduce it in to a grad cert program and professional development – early career and established practitioners.  Also introduce it into the students’ thinking. Evaluation – still not clear.  There is a lot of work to do there. Conflict between standardisation and innovation.
·         Melanie – the money being spent on single rooms is more than our annual budget.  Need leadership in property services area.  Need to go back and get support from other areas and I need to influence these people to make a success of spaces.  There is a groundswell in my uni so I’m pushing against an open door.  Big challenge – being able to fund all this.  Locally managed spaces are good but they won’t share so consistency is difficult to achieve.
·         Julie – Though technology may be quite complex, how it used has to be simple. Need to be clear about an informal learning space and a teaching space.  The teaching methodology needs to be adapted before we make radical changes to spaces.  Again, need to fit our budget.
·         Jenni – Agree.  A lot of people made good use of space in general.  We are looking at teaching spaces but we haven’t made good use of outdoor spaces and all the nooks and crannies.  We could make more use of some of these spaces with power and data and comfortable furniture.
·         Carrie – key take-aways: Maintaining focus on students.  No-one takes responsible for the character of the space.  Also slate, blackboard, whiteboard but not much has changed.  Teaching needs to adapt.  Considering a small group and sandpit to experiment. Very inspired, learned a lot.
·         James – new area for me, great to see leaders in integrating technology into spaces.  Nice to see people from different areas working well together towards a common aim.  Need to factor the culture of the organisation into the design. Leadership provides better chance of change/success.  Needs good co-operation.  There will be more subtle use of technology as students bring their own. Key thing – how do you engage with students and academic staff to get the feedback?  Lots of different thoughts and opinions.  Area neglected – the podium.  It would be good to see how to make this more accessible for students.  Existing groups so where do we position ourselves.  What percentage of rooms have a thought process underpinning them?  Furniture expensive, consultants are expensive.  It would be good to provide a collection of good suppliers that people recommend.  Another tour when the spaces are full?
·         Damien – Reinforced to me that good learning space design only happens when all the disciplines are talking to each other (and listening), need to break down silos which is hard but it needs to happen.  From a technical perspective I realise that I get too focussed on technology and I have learned to appreciate that less can be more.  Small technical details have a big impact on the room.  Height of a monitor can spoil the use of a room.  Experimental spaces – it shouldn’t finish with the building of the room – need to revisit and evaluate.  No clear way to measure learning outcomes.
·         Simon – What I took from the tour was a better understanding of the thinking and motivation. Shift to student centric perspective. AV often comes in at the end.  Being in at the beginning and throughout is important to ensure that we do not impose negatively on the end result. Need close working relationships with key stakeholders – timetabling, capital program, IT, AV.  Using software over hardware for switching and VC makes sense so that we can make use of the devices students bring.
·         Lisa M -  Idea of permeability – meeting the indirect needs of the users.  Stop hiding what we are doing (e.g. Melbourne) – seeing into labs etc.  Designing spaces to drive behaviour – is there evidence of this happening?  Ground up approach (we are a ground up approach) but if you want to have real impact there has to be top down approach too to support real changes rather than pockets.
·         Lisa T – Most of it has been said but for me it is the differentiation between teaching spaces and learning spaces. We are spending a lot of time on teaching spaces and we are neglecting informal spaces.  Students spend more time in these sorts of spaces – lets think about these more.  We need to get over the perception that if it can be moved, it will be stolen or damaged – this isn’t true. Treat them like adults. We need champions to lead their peers.  We are all doing the same things slightly differently. We are establishing a CoP from an IT perspective but we need to tap into a similar academic CoP.  Financial sustainability of what we build.  Need to work on a framework to help us manage spaces over time.
·         Geoff – Like the way we divide the spaces, COWS, tiers.  The rooms and feel of the rooms ranged from Vegas to stuffy houses of parliament! Would like to see a Gartner grid of space sizes against technology to develop categories of spaces and appropriate technology.  Disappointed that we didn’t see any strategy for the institutions – it all seemed to be quite ad-hoc. I would have liked to see a strategic view. There are spaces outside of central control but there should be a strategy for all spaces.  Didn’t see much about large touch screens.  Only 1 university looking at surface technology. Interesting to see how they impact spaces.
·         Sarah – The psychology behind how spaces are used was very interesting to me – as children we are taught not to touch walls, or write on them or take things from them and so we should not be surprised that students are constrained by this when we insist on fixing things to walls. Conversely wheels say something different to us – move me, toys have wheels, bikes have wheels, they invoke movement and fun and engagement.  Seems obvious but this was a revelation.  The similarity between the approach to 2 specialist spaces (Sport and Engineering) tells me that whilst one size does not fit all, similar concepts are transferable. Finally, for me the way in which Libraries progress and evolve is a lesson to us and our institutions – they know how to reinvent themselves.  Earlier in the week there was a comparison between classrooms at the turn of the century and classrooms today – very little has changed. But Libraries are so different now to where they were even 5 years ago and there is a consistency in this too globally.  I think Universities should learn from this, I certainly will. 

What Role Do We play now?
-          Developing a framework for evaluating spaces
-          Categories of spaces and technology
o   There are standards for describing spaces. This would be a good starting point.  Interesting statistics  around usage and utility we could tap into.  Before and after measurement.
-          Audit of spaces – very expensive.  CAUDIT perhaps could help with sourcing software to assist us.
-          Consolidation of resources – e.g. benchmarking learning spaces survey, links to other associateions.  Perhaps we can bring together all the resources that we each have access to.  Need a collaborative space – e.g. a WIKI to achieve this.  All to commit to updating. Sarah to follow up with CAUDIT and establish. Sarah to facilitate. Use this to provide links to overlapping groups.
-          Continue the conversation and widen the participation.

1 comment:

  1. When you need to consider students bringing their own devices... see http://mikelloydtech.wordpress.com/2011/11/23/byod-byoc/