New Challenges to Active Learning Initiatives

A recent Educause article by our colleagues at Case Western Reserve University shared some interesting insights into their own fellowship program designed to integrate active learning techniques and foster increased student engagement.

While the first year of their Active Learning Fellowship (ALF) ended with rave reviews from the participants, student feedback following the second year brought some unexpected surprises.  Though second year participants again had an overall positive experience, they also encountered new challenges that could effect the future and expansion of active learning in some educational settings.

While faculty and students continued to enjoy “greater amounts of in-class and active group work, group projects, and interactions with peers regarding course-related content,” when compared with traditional courses, CWRU research showed that students responded unfavorably to integrating active learning techniques into conventional “regular” classrooms with a large class size (50-200 students).  Focus groups and surveys respondents both expressed a “relative dislike for the active learning techniques” used in these settings, though other factors, including the quality of pre-class activities, in-class activities, or instructor variables also contributed to the results.

Beyond the immediate ramifications to the ALF program, this research highlights the greater importance of space scheduling and design to the successful implementation of active learning techniques in the classroom.  As we continue to add more Active Learning Classrooms at Ohio State, we’re close paying attention to lessons learned by programs like Case’s ALF to inform our own designs and adoption of best practices.

Our first large size classroom, the Faculty Innovation Center, opens this summer, with classes to begin autumn semester 2016.  The fall schedule is complete and we’re excited to start working with instructors to engage students in this exciting new space.

New Innovative Space Available to Reserve!

The Faculty Innovation Center (FIC) is now available to reserve for fall 2016 courses, through the Innovative Spaces Program.

Apply now to teach in our newest and largest Active Learning Classroom, The Faculty Innovation Center, in Campbell 100.   The 65-seat space will include moveable furniture, whiteboards, projectors and monitors, and private breakout rooms for small group work, all of which cultivate an environment perfect for collaborative projects and enhanced student participation. The deadline to apply is January 8, 2016.

Check out room designs and more about the Faculty Innovation Center on the ODEE site.

Support from Classroom Services

As Ohio State continues to integrate more technology into its classrooms, timely support is integral to fostering and maintaining successful environments for learning.

ODEE‘s Classroom Services team exists to provide assistance to anyone scheduled in their almost 400 general use classrooms across campus. If you run into a problem in class, they’re just a call away at 247-HELP (4357). In order to respond quickly, they have staff located in 6 different offices across campus.  In addition to immediate support, Classroom Services also provides training for in-room technology, best practices for equipment usage, and proactive maintenance, reporting, and repair for other issues within these rooms.  Starting this fall, each of their supported classrooms will now have, at minimum, an instructor computer and permanently installed audio/video projection system.  

Both classrooms in the Innovative Spaces Program are supported and maintained by Classroom Services and we highly recommend that all instructors accepted into the program schedule time to meet with one of their staff early in the term or before the start of classes. Their team is staffed to help out and answer your questions throughout the term, 7am-10pm Monday-Thursday, and 7am-5pm Fridays. Contact 247-HELP (4357) for immediate support or email classroomservices@osu.edu to schedule an appointment.

Want to learn more? Check out the Classroom Services website to submit an online request, browse the classrooms they support, and more.

Instructor Resources from UCAT

Teaching consultations, the Course Design Institute, and numerous other events are hosted by the University Center for the Advancement of Teaching (UCAT) every semester. From one-on-one professional development meetings to seminars and a yearly teaching and learning conference, UCAT offers a wide array of opportunities for instructors looking to improve their courses.

Attendees of last week’s joint ODEE/UCAT workshop, Active Learning Strategies for the Classroom may recognize this detailed list of active learning strategies and notes on how to use them. As part of the Innovative Spaces Program, we will continue to offer these active learning workshops throughout the year.  The next one is scheduled for September 16th and registration is open now.

If you’re just getting started with UCAT, we also recommend their teaching FAQs and A-Z list of resources for OSU instructors. To stay updated, be sure to follow their blog and newsletter cataloging offerings throughout the year.

Innovative Spaces Applications for Fall 2016 are now Open!

Innovative Spaces applications for the Autumn 2016 semester are open through January 8, 2016.

Looking for a space to complement your interactive content?  Our Innovative Spaces are designed to help promote active-learning strategies that engage students in activities like group exercises or problem-based learning while utilizing responsive mobile technology.  To receive priority scheduling in one of these classrooms, instructors must attend two 90-minute learning workshops and participate in assessment of the space.

For detailed information about the rooms available, including seating count, amenities, and a virtual tour, check out our spaces page.

Register now to attend one of our workshops on the following dates/times:

In collaboration with UCAT, these workshops strive to help participants develop strategies for active learning pedagogy, identify university resources for teaching and training support, understand the purpose and scope of this program, and provide more information about applying for the program.  Each session is held in an Active Learning Classroom and employs group work and other active learning strategies that help demonstrate how to the space can be used.

Be sure to apply before January 8, 2016 to have your fall 2016 course scheduled in one of these spaces.

 

Applications for Spring 2016 due July 31st!

Innovative Spaces Applications for spring 2016 classes close on July 31st.  If you haven’t already, complete your application here.

For more information, check out the FAQs and our spaces page, where you can find detailed information about each classroom and 360 virtual tours.

We look forward to your submissions!

University of Minnesota Active Learning Conference

The 3rd Biennial National Forum on Active Learning Classrooms will be held August 5-7, 2015 at the University of Minnesota campus.  Sponsored by the Office of Undergraduate Education and the Center for Educational Innovation, the conference will focus on promoting the application and research of active learning classroom spaces.

The forum will provide a platform for participants to share practices and research demonstrating the advantages of engaging learning environments with enhanced technology.  A wide span of participants are expected from institutions all over the nation, and internationally, to examine common issues, share successes, and network with colleagues.

Featured speakers include keynote speaker Kim Eby, Associate Provost for Faculty Development and Director of the Center for Teaching and Faculty Excellence at George Mason University, and closing speaker Thomas Fisher, former dean of the College of Design and current Dayton Hudson Chair in Urban Design in the School of Architecture at the University of Minnesota.

If you are interested in attending or curious for more details, please visit the National Forum on Active Learning Classrooms website.

FLEXspace

FLEXspace, or the Flexible Learning Environments eXchange, is an open access online archive of learning space models from around the world.  The site includes photos and information describing attributes of differing spaces from institutions of various education levels.  As the archive continues to grow through volunteer participation, the collection will evolve to a planning resource and support for future projects aiming to create their own active engagement, student-centered learning environments.

The mangers of FLEXspace, known as the Core Team, welcome new participants and questions.  Every member specializes in a particular field of interest.  If you have questions and would like to know more, check out the individuals who work to make FLEXspace a success or visit their blog.

 

Spring 2016 Applications Are Open!

Innovative Spaces applications for the Spring 2016 semester are open through July 31, 2015.

Looking for a space to complement your interactive content?  Our Innovative Spaces are designed to help promote active-learning strategies that engage students in activities like group exercises or problem-based learning while utilizing responsive mobile technology.  To receive priority scheduling in one of these innovative classrooms, instructors must attend two 90-minute learning workshops (schedule TBA) and participate in assessment of the space.

For detailed information about the rooms available, including seating count, amenities, and a virtual tour, check out our spaces page.

When you’re ready to apply, the application can be found here.  Feel free to visit our FAQ page to learn more or submit a question.