Friday, 17 October 2014

Confirmation of beliefs by 3rd year students

Today I visited one of the rooms I recently refurbished with the Turn and Learn design I mention earlier in the blog.
The class was full of 3rd year physics students who knew the room pre-refurb. I asked for feedback and was told that the important things for them were comfortable chairs, good leg room and adequate writing space. 
This just confirmed my belief that comfort and space are the basis of getting a design right. The technology comes after this but once the basics are right the rest follows.

See my post The Capacity Question 

They also confirmed my position on chalk boards and white boards in large lecture theatres. They do not work. Students struggle to see the writing, especially when the lecturer is stood in front of what he or she is writing and have difficulty hearing on what is being said when the lecturer faces away from the audience and is not wearing a microphone.
I know that years ago there was no alternative but there are now and therefore there is no excuse.  I get especially annoyed when I hear 'well it was good enough in my day'

We went onto discuss lecture capture and they thought it was a great addition to their materials but wondered, as do I, why some lecturers use it and others do not!
It was a very illuminating and reaffirming 10 minutes.

For clarification, the above applies to all HE institutes according to national and international forums I am a member of.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Pictures of Summer Refurbishment of Teaching Spaces at Aberytswyth University

As promissed in my previous post below are some pictures of rooms refurbished this summer.
Feedback has been positive for all types of rooms. The trick is for the allocation of the room to match the type of teaching. This is not always possible due to the demand on rooms but the 'matching up' is improving.
 102 seat computer room with fold away screens

 With the screens folded down

40 seat traditional room with foldable desks and twin projection

Another 40 seat traditional room with foldable desks and twin projection

 A 5 Reuleux Triangle table, 30 seqt collaborative room

 A 42 seat raked Turn and Learn lecture room

 A 22 seat stabndard seminar room
New lectern in a 347 seat lecture theatre 
From the back. The seat rows are straight so I used a panoranic shot to capture the width but you get the idea.

 New dual screen setup in a 168 seat lecture theatre with two very keen students.
and from the front in a room formerly known as 'The Dungeon'

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Summer teaching refurbishments nearly finished.

This summer I have been busy refurbishing 10 teaching rooms ranging from a 24 seat collaborative space to a 335 seat lecture theatre at Aberystwyth University
This link gives more information
The project has brought unexpected challenges especially with asbestos and damp issues to overcome but we are nearly there.
I will be posting some pictures in the next week or two but the type of rooms I have refurbished are:
5 rooms up to 40 capacity with flip top tables and all new AV.
A 100 seat computer lab where the computer monitors can be folded away allowing for dual use of the room.
A room with 4 x 6seat Reuleaux triangle tables and multiple screens.
A 335 seat lecture theatre
A 220 seat lecture theatre
A 42 seat 'Turn and Learn teaching space
A common space lobby provided with open access collaborative desks and study pods.
I am very excited about the rooms and hope they deliver what the objective was i.e.  modern looking, technologically advanced learning environments, that enhance the staff-student experience  and enable different types of teaching and learning  methodologies.
As I said I will post some pictures when completed in about 2 weeks

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