Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Future of Teaching and learning at ANU

ANU Union Court Redevelopment
New ANU Buildings
(artists' impression).
Greetings from the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra where Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington is speaking on the Teaching and learning futures at ANU. This is one of a series of talks about the new Union Court Development. There are also Union Court podcasts. Three of the new buildings will include teaching facilities. There will be a student services building, teaching and cultural events building (with large theaters).

The teaching building will have 60% formal learning spaces and 40% informal. Rooms are designed for 30, 60, 90 and 120 students (some rooms have movable walls). There will be translucent glass panels to provide privacy with light. The top floor will have a "super-floor" suitable for 320 students in cabaret style.

For the last ten years I have been looking at suitable teaching space design and for three years learning about teaching styles to suit these spaces. I will be presenting on this in "Dogfooding: Learning About Teaching by Being an On-line Student", at ANU, 1pm, 15 May 2017.
The culture and event building will have a flexible space with movable 200 and 512 seat tiered lecture theaters. This is intended to be used for sports and examinations with the seating retracted. I have been to conferences in similar spaces in Hong Kong and Cambridge. There will also be 150 and 300 fixed seat theaters for performances and lectures.
While the new buildings are being built there will be a need for temporary facilities. I have suggested rather than finding large temporary lecture theaters instead change to flipped teaching in flat floor rooms. Apart from being easier to find flat floor spaces this will improve the teaching.
One interesting aspect is that Professor Hughes-Warrington pointed out the new teaching building will be constructed from cross-laminated timber rather than concrete and steel. She suggested this will improve the WiFi signals, but I suspect the cabling in the building will still limit transmission.
"The university landscape is rapidly transforming, driven by societal and technological change on a global and local level. These changes provide us with an opportunity to ensure that we are providing an enriched and valuable learning experience here at ANU.
The revitalised Union Court precinct ANU is building will feature some of the country’s most advanced collaborative learning environments.
This forum will discuss the opportunities these spaces provide for teaching at ANU and the wide range of teaching possibilities our spaces will accommodate, including didactic lectures, tutorials, seminars, flipped classrooms and more."

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