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

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Reflections on Day 2 - Griffith

It was a full day with staff from Griffith very generous with their time. We saw a number of different spaces including:

Libraries from 2 Campuses
I felt that Lori’s tours were inspiring and entertaining.  I’ve come to the conclusion that our learning space planning sessions would benefit from a Lori!  Her passion and the results of said passion were an inspiration.  I was very impressed with what I saw today. Keeping things flexible has meant that the spaces can be changed later if they don’t work. 

Architecture Space
This was an interesting space with the main teaching space being very open. Lots of flexible furniture with wheels.  Whiteboards floor to ceiling.  Architecture spaces work well for the discipline – highly utilitised.  We liked the movable hanging display screens. Very flexible space. The smaller spaces didn’t seem to work as well.

Engineering Computer Lab
Computer Lab – very traditional layout.  AV was a last minute and the AV facing the front rather than the student.  Line of sight is obstructed by PC monitor.  Jammed in 31 workstations where there should have been no more that 24. No space to get to students.

Mechatronics Lab
Multipurpose lab. Desks are movable. Can be divided into two smaller rooms but mostly used for larger classes.  Portable smartboards available to be wheeled in if AV is needed but otherwise the teaching wall has dry-wipe board. Plenty of storage space.

Student Group Study Room
Simple space with whiteboards and tables/chairs.  Very highly utilised, students like the space. I was surprised to hear how well this room was used because it was so basic.

Electronics Lab
Very poor line of sight.  Too much jammed into the room and too high.  The room was designed without consultation with the people who use the space. Whiteboard positioned too high for people to use. Really useful example of how not to do it.

Some of you said that it really was a contrast from yesterday and I would agree but I also see some common themes emerging. I was interested that people were also commenting about their struggles with architects – where sometimes aesthetics begin to override functionality – so its not just me then!!

Here are the key learning points from today. I’m sure that James will blog more detail so feel free to check out his comments via the link to his blog and I’m grateful for Danny’s photos which are much better than mine (see links to the right):-
·         Don’t bolt things down if you can help it.
·         Spaces don’t work well if users haven’t been involved in the design.
·         Holistic design is so important – tagging technology on at the end doesn’t work.
·         Cramming too much in makes the space overwhelming.
·         Do the spaces work? – again no formal evaluation but Lori does her own informal evaluation.
o   Migration of students and furniture changes in session
·         It is easy to lose the aims of the requirements as projects progress because...
o   Senior leaders over-ride user’s requirements
o   Users engage late or not at all (or are not invited to sometimes)
o   Space gets swapped out for other reasons
o   Small tweaks add up to a large variations
·         Flexible spaces seem like a really useful approach
o   Some practical considerations – someone has to re-jig the spaces in flexible spaces.
·         Consistency of interface design for teaching technology has also been a theme at Griffith.  Major investment in resolving this has resulted in improved satisfaction and reduction in support calls.

1 comment:

  1. I certainly sympathise with the challenges faced by AV and IT folks when form seems to take precedence over function. We have to find ways to ensure we are continually in the loop through all phases of Teaching and Learning space projects.