Thursday, December 7, 2017

Reframing Teaching to Use Flexible Classrooms

Last Monday I attended "Work Integrated Learning - a disciplined approach" at University of Canberra. This was based on a recent paper by Ruge and McCormack (2017) on constructive alignment of the assessment for a course at University of Canberra. Two recent case studies in EduCause point to the need for new classroom designs, plus course design and the training of staff in how to do this (Morrone, Flaming,  Birdwell, Russell, Roman & Jesse, 2017).
ANU Union Court Redevelopment
New ANU Buildings
(artists' impression).

Universities are building new flexible learning classrooms (such as in the new teaching building at ANU). These typically have a flat floor, and tables for small student groups, with display screens on all walls. However, to effectively use these spaces course redesign and teaching staff training is required. There is no point in moving out of lecture theaters if the "lecturer" gives hour long non-interactive monologues in the new "flexible" room. There is no point in putting the students in groups and link them with tech, if the primary assessment is an end of semester individual paper based examination.

The "lecturer" needs to be trained how to teach without lecturing and the assessment redesigned to use group and project based work. New classrooms can then be used effectively and the learning aligned to vocational requirements beyond the classroom.

References

Morrone, A., Flaming, A., Birdwell, T., Russell, J., Roman, T., & Jesse, M. (2017, December 4) Creating Active Learning Classrooms Is Not Enough: Lessons from Two Case Studies, EduCause. URL https://er.educause.edu/articles/2017/12/creating-active-learning-classrooms-is-not-enough-lessons-from-two-case-studies

Ruge, G., & McCormack, C. (2017). Building and construction students’ skills development for employability–reframing assessment for learning in discipline-specific contexts. Architectural Engineering and Design Management, 1-19.

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