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, 6 December 2012

Learning Space Summit & Reflections on the Tour Week

Following on from the study tour, I attended a 2 day Learning Spaces Summit in Sydney and was joined by 3 other Tour Participants.  Here is a link to the Summit Information.

What was ironic about the Summit venue was the poor room layout which was perhaps an exemplar of how not to arrange a collaborative space. Serried ranks of desks facing a fixed podium at the front with a screen that was difficult to see. The space would have been almost impossible if any of our speakers had any kind of mobility difficulties let alone wheelchair bound. As it was, we all found it difficult to engage with each other and it made networking very difficult. We were also not permitted to have a list of the delegates so continuing the conversation was also very difficult.  It’s an interesting example of a good idea, poorly executed I think and in itself is a useful message for us all in ensuring an holistic design when we think of spaces and collaboration.
Not quite what we expected from a Learning Space Summit!

Nonetheless, the overall content of the Summit was relevant and useful covering a number of learning points we had encountered on the tour. 
There were a number of important messages for us to consider during the summit and the course of the tour:-
·         The consumeristion of technology –Mobile technology enters the consumers hands before large enterprise gets hold of it, a reverse of what we have traditionally seen. This is important because students are making choices that drive expectations around how they engage with us and we, of course, need to be ready.
·         Last year, we talked about the “Window of Wow” and how it is becoming increasingly short. Kay from LaTrobe referred to the Museum of Obsolete objects:. Very interesting to see what is now obsolete which, at the time, seemed so cutting edge. Those of us of a certain age would know precisely what to do with a cassette tape and a pencil!!  Kids now would be utterly confused.
·         In my own teaching about the future of technology and support of ICT, I would talk about the link between Science Fiction and innovation.  SciFi maps out our desires and aspirations which (in some more pragmatic form) we see realised in practice. Consider movies such as Avatar which presents a different image of telepresence and immersive technology – how close will technology get in the future to this kind of experience?  When I first started work as a graphic artist, cutting and pasting involved sharp knives and now it involves a couple of clicks.
·         Gaming skills were talked about as an important ability. When we look at the way we learn and consume information, construct knowledge and understanding through interaction with technology, this is an interesting point. Our children have a completely different expectation about the ways things ought to be (see the Broken iPad clip): Kids coming from schools like the Northern Beaches Christian Schools already understand how to learn their way and they will expect (and demand) that Universities are ready for them.
·         Spaces can be agents for change. (makes you wonder why we steadfastly continue to design the same old spaces then!). Universities are the last bastions of resistance of change. We are no longer just about selling knowledge. We can get knowledge online, often much more accessible than trying to empty an academic's head.  Students need to see us add value in our learning spaces.  If students can consume a lecture online without coming in, then let them! We can do something else with the face to face experience. Transmitting knowledge blandly through the old fashioned paradigm of the lecture is not what adds value, students will get that knowledge more readily on line in some way.  What they need is wisdom, knowledge in context and preparation for the world (the one we are all living in now, not the 10,20, 100 year old world). 
·         Desire Paths were a common theme throughout the whole week – students will find their own way.  We often try to resist when our vision is different (e.g. cable-tying table legs together or bolting down furniture). I reckon we’ve all done it, but why? Why not let the students show us the way and shape their spaces. I think that sometimes, we are not as prepared to learn from them as much as they are from us.
·         Magic Formula: Last year we identified a “magic formula” for group study spaces:-
o    A comfy place to sit
o    A table
o    A writable surface
o    Some kind of presentation technology
Throughout the tour in 2011 and 2012, we found that the most popular spaces in terms of student utilisation had deployed this formula.  We identified some useful additions this year that relate specifically to social learning spaces or learning commons following discussions with students in the spaces we visited and those who had designed them. This makes the list a lot longer so I’ve tried to make it easier by using a mnemonic (Fit Spaces):-
FIT SPACES                                                                                                                           
FFlexibility (reconfigurable spaces that promote student’s desire paths. However, include anchor points to avoid creating a soulless space without structure. Some solid pieces provide structure and interest to the area)
IIT  (Students may bring their own, but often some presentation technology will be needed)
TTable (at an appropriate height)

S Safe (for 24/7 access)
PPower (for their own devices)
AAccessibility (ensure people with disabilities can make good use of the spaces)
C Comfort (personalised – this may mean a cosy private spot, a beanbag or a chair and desk)
EEat (Students want to eat and drink in these spaces, include kitchenettes, a microwave, hot water and vending machines for 24/7 access)
S - Surfaces to write on

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Day 3 (21st Nov): Aggressively Shaping Learning Culture – SCIL

Yesterday I thought I understood what flexible learning is but today, I have a different and broader understanding.  I met Lisa Knight, Director of Online School Development of the Sydney Centre for Innovative Learning (SCIL) at a few months ago at a Blended Learning conference and was convinced that a visit to  at the North Beaches Christian School (NBCS) incorporating SCIL was a must on this year’s learning space tour.  We were met with what I can only describe as joyous chaos at NBCS and as we walked around the learning spaces with the students, it was evident that flexibility was being used in ways that I have not seen before in a formal setting. Not just here and there as a ‘special’ element to the school or being paid lip service but absolutely everywhere.  Blended space, time and delivery was visible throughout the whole facility. Even the toilets are considered fair game:-

2 Girls showed us round the toilets which have been used to display a recent art competition.

Students were at the core of the curriculum and were driving their own learning.  I sat on the floor with a group of students who were immersed in their learning activity during a learning session and they enthusiastically described what they were doing.  “I’m visual smart” said one particularly energetic girl, “we did some tests at the beginning of the year to find out what kind of smart you are and I’m visual smart so I picked a visual smart activity for this session”.  She and her group were working together on the floor to develop posters that showed how the maths objective they were working on could be presented visually.  I asked why they chose to sit on the floor – “the floor is yummy” said another and, like all young girls they immediately fell about giggling.  “It’s just comfier sometimes" they explained after recovering "We do sometimes sit on the loungers but not all the time”.  Elsewhere children were at desks and chairs, others on loungers. I scanned the room and located a teacher (not sure they are called that here) who I was expecting to be looking over sternly at the group of giggling girls and shushing them but she was engaged in a discussion with another child seated next to her on a sofa and didn’t seem to mind talking in class at all.  In fact, at NBCS, discussion and collaboration is a normal part of the learning session.  

Children learn where they feel most comfortable in this scheduled learning session.

I asked the School’s award winning Principal, Stephen Harris whether such an approach really works. He pointed to the student’s results which remain consistently good. He explained that the school is not aiming for all the kids to get 97 or 98 in their HSCs but they do aim for most to achieve high 80s and many do achieve really high results too.  The school is able to track children’s progress after they have left school and report that they go on to do really well at university because they are used to taking responsibility for their own learning. Stephen measures success as: How successful are they at; getting a job; showing compassion; continuing to learn.

But surely such an environment is suited to a narrow group of students? Children with special needs such as Autism and ADHD could not cope in such a free culture?  In actual fact, children with such special needs thrive at NBCS, in a couple of cases, parents of ADHD kids have been able to take their children off medication as a result. In traditional schools, they will be asked to sit still and be quiet. Some older students are employed to complete tasks like keeping the rooms tidy after school depending on their strengths. During recess, our tour group gathered in one room where a young girl was preparing the tables for the next session which was spelling.  As she set out baskets of pens on the tables and wrote on the tables (all of which are writable surfaces), I asked her who had asked her to help out.  “I asked to do it” she said with a broad smile, “I like to organise things”. 

The spaces themselves were large and open with lots of natural light and a variety of comfortable places to sit including the floor.  There were no really extraordinarily expensive furniture or architecture – in fact in some cases staff and students had designed and or made some of the furniture themselves. 
These 'racers' were designed by a student. It's a seat, somewhere to write/use a laptop and includes space to store a bag. 
As part of a professional development exercise, staff developed this suite of recycled furniture in a day and it is used in the design lab.

Here is a virtual tour but it doesn’t really do the space justice, which you can only really understand when it is full of students.

As we all wandered round interrupting sessions and talking to students and staff, no-one seemed to mind, no tutting or shushing – there was a constant hum of chatter and activity. Clearly the school is used to such interruptions and everyone was very happy to chat about their school.  One group of boys told me that they enjoyed learning here – “Its fun and so you, like, want to do more of it”.   “Its not all interesting” said another “but mostly it is and you have to get the theory done before you can do the prack [practical] –you know, the fun stuff – so you get it done”.   Student's strengths are nutured in this environment such as this student, Ellis who was delighted to show us the fruits of his labours:-

Every 7 weeks the children are assessed and set their own targets against which they are measured.  Everyone from year 5 has a laptop – they are all different – the BYOD approach that we all keep talking about but it seems to work well. They have IT Support on site and the students help each other. Stephen Harris told us that, in terms of cost, the parents break even really as they don’t have to buy expensive text books as all learning materials are provided to the children online. There is a wireless network they make use of – Facebook is blocked but they have a VLE/online portal they all use for learning. If they forget their laptop they just borrow one of the schools and there are places to charge them up everywhere.

All the spaces have nooks and crannies, desks chairs, sofas and the children sit where they are most comfortable. Individual creativity is encouraged and each child’s strengths are nurtured in the most extraordinary way.  Collaboration and inquiry doesn’t need to be encouraged – it is just natural here.

The whole tour group were excited by the school – the spaces, the attitude of the staff and the responses of the students. I asked the Principal how such a shift in learning paradigm could be achieved. “By aggressively shaping a learning culture”, he said.  Lisa Knight explained that the results have been achieved over many years, with strong leadership, the commitment and passion of the staff and support of the education authority.  The results speak for themselves.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Day 2 (20th Nov): University of Technology, Sydney (UTS)

Prof Shirley Alexander.  
DVC - Teaching, Learning and Equity
Linking Pedagogy, Technology and Spaces: Changing the way learning happens.

Shirley has an impressive biography including chairing the Data Intensive University Project and she is also on the Board of Trustees for the PowerHouse Museum.   She recently spoke at the CAUDIT Spring Meeting and arrived this morning after attending the Prime Minister's Teaching Awards event in Canberra where Dr James Arvanitakis of University of Western Sydney collected the award for University Teacher of the Year. 

UTS have embarked on an ambitious building program worth $1.2billion and includes impressive new learning buildings within their existing footprint. The new Dr Chau Chak building will be an extraordinary new building which will enhance the city in addition to the University.  

In her presentation, Shirley outlined the process that led to the design of new spaces at UTS which has also initiated an annual investment over the next 3 years into curriculum renewal to support good use of the new spaces.  Feedback from students, the profile of attendance and the changing nature of students who are increasingly working 4 or 5 days a week fed into the specifications of the new rooms we saw today.

Under Shirley's leadership a new team of stakeholders was  formed to include IT, AV, Capital Works and they have worked together to implement the new learning environments.  I think that the idea of askings the students to keep a video/photo diary was an excellent way to solicit feedback.  They were asked to take photos of the worst and best spaces and this informed the decisions to invest in specific spaces.

Students want
  • Good lighting
  • Proximity to food
  • Use of colour
  • Sense of order

Following Melbourne's example, UTS have clearly articulated their model of learning and have identified the links between curriculum renewal and technologies. Shirley's view is that any lecture that could be replaced by a podcast, should be. We should be making better use of the face to face time with students.
UTS are using tools to support their academic staff in their monitoring of the curriculum:-
  • REVIEW to help with assessment.
  • Self and Peer Assessment Resource Kit (SPARK)

The overall vision for UTS was to create a 'Sticky Campus' - where students feel they want to come to campus and then stay there.

It was evident from the tour this afternoon that this mission has been accomplished. We chatted to one of the many students we enountered in the new spaces who talked enthusiastically about the 'green room'. "I love it" he said and went on to explain how the 24/7 access has enabled students to use the space to prepare presentations in the early hours when they can't sleep.  

Lessons Learned So far
  • Cleaning and security bills have increased as a result of 24/7 demand for the spaces
  • Some operational processes were missed and are now in place (e.g. a mechanism to  report problems with the new spaces)
  • UTS took the decision to implement 'janitorial' services to put flexible furniture back where it is expected.

Mel Booth - University of Librarian
University Library of the future. - More than spaces and technology.

UTS are investing in an Automatic Storage Retrieval System (ASRS) and continue to use up to date RFID. Mel believes that Libraries need to become more proactive and take the lead in constantly testing and improving the User Experience (UX). He is asking difficult questions that need consideration as Libraries develop - do we need our own cataloging systems? What can be accomplished in the cloud through the use of shared services?

In addition to developing new spaces, UTS Library is also develop a new service model and a new organisation to move into the new space and deliver the new service model. UTS is driving forward with a new vision for the library with the provision of exciting technology - focussing on culture, knowledge and collaboration.

James Stewart - Property Management Office
Overview of the Masterplan
UTS recognises that the campus is part of the city and providing improved quality walking routes to areas of the city. James showed us the new student accommodation on the top floors with a great view of Sydney. These are rented out when out of session so provides an income stream. Having the student accommodation above the campus in this way further contributed to the sticky campus concept.

Chris Cahill explained that new service delivery models are being developed to support what is a very ambitious set of building projects which will double the number of technology enabled rooms. However IT Services are looking at efficiencies and automation because it is not feasable to double the staffing resources to support the operation.

Personal Reflections
  • Learning taking the lead. This morning, one of the tour participants shared his reflections on the UWS visit and particularly that learning is the driver for design at UWS and in the successful environments at other institutions explored in the 2011 tour.  Space design at UTS is clearly linked to the L&T principles - collaborative lecture theatres with high quality break out spaces are a theme at UTS, underpinned by bookable group study rooms that support self directed learning. It was good to see strong leadership from Shirley which was supported by all the other speakers from the tour.  At UWS, whilst we do not have quite the same budget, UWS and other Universities are implementing similar concepts - Learning Commons spaces and collaborative teaching rooms so there are some similarities which suggest that we are on the right track and can learn from the examples we saw today.
  • Bridges - Mel described Libaries as bridges and throughout the tour, we have talked about how important it is to bridge the gaps across silos, responsibilities and skills. I think this is true.  We need to develop  environments where we can experiment together and make sensible mistakes. This requires a culture where people will catch you when you fall. Shirley has made a concerted effort to build bridges with a team of people invested in learning spaces as have UWS with the Learning Space Core Group and it is clear from discussions with others on the tour, there is an intent to do the same in other institutions.
  • I really enjoyed the day, it has given me some things to think about and will feed into some of the work in progress at UWS. I feel fortunate that UTS is close by so I will be watching progress with interest and will look forward to closing the loop and visiting again when some of the projects come to fruition.

Day 1 (19th Nov): University of Western Sydney (UWS)

Recap on 2011 TourI provided a whistle stop review of last year's tour which highlighted a number of learning points which have informed learning space design at UWS and other institutions:-
  • The magic formula: A comfortable place to sit; a table; some presentation technology and a writable surface.
  • Inclusion of key stakeholders (library, IT Services, Capital Works/Property Services, Learning Designers and Space Users) is key.  Without one of these key elements, spaces are often not fit for purpose. Working together as a team towards a common purpose is a powerful combination. Easy to say but difficult to achieve in environments that thrive in silos.
  • Learning should be the driver for design - do not overwhelm spaces with technology or architecture.
  • Really good learning spaces should not cost the earth. Simple, transferable concepts can be very good value.
  • Wheels!  Spaces that are flexible and reconfigurable stand the test of time and encourage interdisciplinary interaction and a blend between teaching and research. They also provide a platform for good blended learning.
UWS Campus Tour (Campbelltown Campus)
UWS has a number of campuses and it was not possible to show them all in one day so UWS selected Campbelltown - a purpose build University Campus designed specifically for HE.  It has a mix of specialist and general purpose teaching spaces as well as social learning areas. Parramatta campus is the subject of much refurbishment and renovation this year and next and is where the new Collaborative Learning Suite will be implemented later this year. In 2013, UWS will be rolling out a Learning Commons at each campus with the largest at Parramatta and so next year will be a good time to return to UWS to view some of its newest spaces.

At Campbelltown today, we took a tour around the School of Medicine Space (Building 30) with Fiona Pacey who was able to provide some context for each of the spaces.  Building 30 is an exciting space to work and study and I was inspired by Fiona's enthusiasm for her place of work even after 5 years.  The Problem Based Learning (PBL) Room was a simple format which highlighted the application of the "Magic Formula" of table, comfy chair, technology and writable surface.  A simple but effective and cost effective space, popular with students who use the space 24/7.

The outdoor area was designed by the architect to be reminiscent of ancient rome or greece where students would gather to listen to great teachers.  Nowadays, the students have found more modern pursuits taking ownership of the space for social and music events which drove the installation of a barbecue nearby!

The science labs for the School of Health and Science showed evidence of the evolution of thinking and learning as a result of iterative space design.  By taking account of the mistakes of the past, the current wetlabs better serve the needs of the changing student profile. During the 2011 Tour, we identified the need to move to more flexible spaces which was evident even in the more specialist spaces - the Occupational Therapy spaces as well as the wetlabs had movable furniture to provide the school with the ability to adapt as the needs of the school changed.

The use of ICT in the labs and specialist spaces has had an impact on teaching - the use of cameras attached to instruments such as microscopes is commonplace and has meant that the outputs or a small scale experiment is now available to a larger group of students at the same time (as opposed to students taking turns to huddle around a microscope for example).  This has made teaching more efficient.  It is not yet clear what this means in terms of blended learning but for a hands on, practical subject it is a shift in practice.

Other more practical observations included the inclusion of bag storage for students which is an important safety consideration for things like wetlabs.  In each of the specialist spaces, there was somewhere for students to store their bags.

In some of the more formal spaces, we saw the evolution over the years in the design of lecture theatres. Whilst the basic format remains the same, there are standards in place to improve the look and feel of teaching spaces with the use of colour, standardisation of comfortable furniture, iterative redesign of technology and inclusion of additional powerpoints for student laptop use. In her presentation, Yuen showed a number of examples where these standards had been used across a variety of spaces.  Using the 'ice cream sundae' approach, UWS has applied  Threshold Standards (recently endorsed by the Education Committee) which apply a base 'vanilla' standard across teaching spaces but allow for 'toppings' - the necessary variation for discipline specific technology (e.g. electronic whiteboards for School of Education or CAD for Engineering). Standards include projection facilities, PC, phone and the availability of writable surfaces which at UWS mean glass.  From the 2011 tour, it was evident that glass provided a much better alternative to other traditional whiteboards and writable paint.

The Library, as ever, demonstrated a focus on the customer with a range of zones that provided opportunities to study quietly, in groups or even to snooze!  The group study pods were very well utilised and the Library had made it easy for students to book these spaces using QR codes.  Next year, the library plan to improve the group study pods with presentation technology - completing the 'magic formula' for already very popular spaces.  Some other institutions had found the demand for in-house technology was dwindling but others, like UWS still receive feedback from students that they expect the university to provide them.

Lynnae Rankin, E-Learning Manager, reminded us all that the link to the Blended Learning Strategy was essential - the Learning Space is an important component of Blended Learning. She encouraged us to pursue 'Positive Deviances' to ensure that we blend the best of both online and face to face facilities. As Fiona Pacey talked about her spaces, she moved seamlessly  in the discussion between physical and virtual space which, to me, demonstrated the increased blurring of what we mean by Learning Space.

In spite of the afternoon treasure hunt for the afternoon tea (which resulted in said treasure being savoured by all), the group identified a number of learning points from the day which many felt would inform their imminent space design opportunities:-
  • The UWS 'Cookie cutter' approach is good - there was good evidence of consistency in the way spaces were planned. The use of the vanilla plus toppings approach seemed to be working at this campus.
  • There were examples of the deployment of the 'magic formula' in different areas.
  • Writing surfaces is common across all the spaces and had been retro-fitted in some spaces where the original design had not included them.
  • The QR code for scheduling in library study rooms was identified as something quite unique and would be implemented at other institutions.  
  • The library had a very student focussed aspect to their design - despite it being one of the older UWS libraries and struggling with the existing building constraints, it has a relaxed feel which clearly the students appreciated. The group study pods were liked amongst the group and were all heavily used.
  • It was unfortunate that the specialist spaces were science focussed it would have been nice to see humanities spaces - e.g. Flip classrooms. 
  • The evolution demonstrated showed some of the ordinary spaces - some of which were quite old and highlighted the importance of good design with the use of colour, good quality decor, up to date technology and, surprisingly important, the use of natural light.  Fiona Pacey emphasised the importance natural light had in Building 30, the spaces around the windows in the library were occupied by students (some of the spaces away from the windows remained unoccupied) and one of the less attractive spaces was one that had no windows at all. It is good to know that we all are faced with similar challenges!
  • Outdoor spaces are  increasingly important as are the Social Learning Spaces dotted around the University.
  • Getting student feedback to inform space design is difficult but there are some easy ways to get this important input.  
  • UWS has a strategic approach to Blended Learning which is driving Learning Space Design and there is a structured approach to ensuring the right people are involved in the design stages which is informing emerging standards around flexibility.
  • Accessibility is an important and often overlooked aspect of space design. If you design well for disabilities, you usually just design well!
All in all, it was a useful day for most people on the tour with people discussing ways in which they would consider some aspects in their home institution. The weather was kind to us with only a shower or two in the evening whilst we were safely sheltered in the restaurant.

We're very much looking forward to the UTS visit which promises to be very exciting with a range of new innovations in space design awaiting us.  Cameras at the ready!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Meet and Greet 18th Nov

It was lovely to meet a number of the delegates last night and we spent a very pleasant evening discussing the various pros and cons of University life.  Unfortunately the Brisbane storms had an impact on other tour participants so they were unable to join us but we are looking forward to meeting the rest of the tour ready for the UWS tour.

People on the tour are many and varied covering many different parts of the organisation, academic and administrative which will provide the right range of perspectives for interesting debate.We talked about what we expected to get from the tour and identified the following aims:-

  • How rooms are designed and who has contributed to the design
  • Identify standards with a view to benchmarking
  • Get ideas and inspiration for spaces planned for their own institution
  • How technology is integrated and how they are being designed for the future - e.g. BYOD
  • What the future of spaces is - do we still need physical spaces?

Thursday, 15 November 2012

What's New in the Learning Space Tour for 2012?

The 2012 Tour has been designed following feedback from the 2011 Learning Space tour and also other CAUDIT Study Tour.  Last year some potential participants were unable to come on the tour due to the cost and length of time out of the office (5 days last year).  In addition, participants wanted a bit more time in the evenings themselves and a little less pace in the schedule.  Last year's schedule was jam packed and though we saw some fantastic spaces and met some wonderful people, it was difficult to catch your breath. 

This year, we have shortened the tour to 3 days but arranged it to butt up against the Learning Space Space Summit in Sydney so that if participants wanted to immerse themselves (like me) in the subject for a full week, they could still do so.  This has made the tour more flexible and affordable which I think presents great value.

We have also included some evenings where participants can have some time to themselves if they wish and there is a little bit of space worked into the schedule to allow some networking which is always such a valuable part of these kinds of events.

I'm very much looking forward to the tours around UTS & SCIL and I'm hosting a day at UWS which I hope will be useful for those attending.  Let's hope the weather improves for us.

Sydney, is of course, a fantastic city and I'm sure that the whole tour will be enjoy the different experiences throughout the 3 days.

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.