Five new Collaborative Learning Spaces have been prepared for fall classes at the University of Arizona, able to accommodate between 30 and 260 students, as the initiative enters a second phase on campus.
Recently, a summer workshop gave participants the opportunity to observe John Pollard, associate professor of practice in chemistry and biochemistry, teach in one of the new spaces in Room 301 of BioSciences West. Small groups then explored best practices with David Langley of the University of Minnesota, where annually more than one-third of the university's undergraduate students take courses in a building given over to active learning classrooms of varying dimensions.
The UA's Collaborative Learning Spaces Project, an extension of the AAU Undergraduate STEM Education Project, is an effort to develop classroom environments that are more suitable for active-learning practices than traditional lecture halls. A monthlong pilot project was conducted last fall in the Science-Engineering Library’s Journal Room, which was transformed into a large, 260-seat collaborative classroom. During the pilot, the space — now permanently redesigned — was used by eight UA classes to explore active learning spaces and better understand their technological and physical requirements.
Another workshop, on technology and class management in such spaces, is scheduled for Aug. 19. For more information about Collaborative Learning Spaces at the UA, go to http://aaustem.oia.arizona.edu.