Ellis Hall

Active Learning Classrooms

Ellis Hall

Active Learning Classrooms

 

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Research

One of the primary goals of redesigning classroom space in Ellis Hall is to evaluate how teaching spaces can facilitate changes in approaches to teaching and student learning. Over the course of the project instructors and students that use the space will be asked to reflect on the use of the space and its functionality. Understanding how the design of these spaces and approaches to teaching affect the student experience and student learning will help inform decisions about future spaces here at Queen's.

The Centre for Teaching and Learning will, during the first year of the project, work with instructors to determine an approach to evaluate the space and its influence on their approach to teaching and students learning. These may include focus groups, testimonials, teaching observations, questionnaires and surveys of students.

Report on Active Learning Classrooms in Ellis Hall - September 2013 - July 2014

Conference Abstracts

CANHEIT 2014, University of Prince Edward Island, June 1 – 3, 2014
Developing and Supporting Active and Collaborative Learning Spaces
Andy Leger and Don Harmsen

There is large and growing body of evidence that shows active learning can have a positive impact upon students learning outcomes such as increased content knowledge, critical thinking and problem-solving abilities, and positive attitudes towards learning in comparison to traditional lecture-based delivery (Anderson et al, 2005); increased enthusiasm for learning in both students and instructors (Thaman et al. 2013); and the development of graduate capabilities such as critical and creative thinking, problem-solving, adaptability, communication and interpersonal skills (Kember & Leung 2005).  There is also literature which suggests that teaching spaces can have large impact on the ability to incorporate active learning teaching strategies (Chism and Bickford 2002; Oblinger 2006; Walker et al. 2011).  In the winter of 2014 three recently renovated classrooms at Queen’s University designed for active and collaborative learning were used for the first time. One of the primary goals of redesigning classroom space was to evaluate how teaching spaces can facilitate changes in approaches to teaching and transform student learning experiences. The purpose of this session is to learn about the design considerations, configurations and technology available in each of the three new active learning classrooms and to hear about the support and assessment model that has been implemented.

This session will begin with an overview of the three classrooms by an Educational Developer responsible for the support and assessment of the new active learning classrooms. This will be followed by a description of the chosen technology and functionality for each of the three rooms. Finally a summary will be given of how we are collaboratively supporting the rooms, issues we have experienced, and how the rooms have been received so far by students and professors.  There will be an opportunity for session participants to hear about and ask questions regarding the design aspects of three new active learning classrooms, consider the configuration and the technology available in each room, and discuss the opportunities, advantages and challenges of the teaching strategies that were used in these spaces.

OUCC 2014, University of Windsor, April 27 – 29, 2014
Active Learning Classrooms @ Queen's
Don Harmsen and Dave Smith

In January 2014, Queen's launched 3 new active learning classrooms.  This presentation will include an overview of the rooms, why they were built, and reasons for technology decisions.  A summary will be given of how the rooms have been received so far by students and professors, how we are supporting the rooms, and issues we have experienced.  The focus will be on the IT side of things, rather than pedagogical value.

Lead Presenter: Don Harmsen
Lead Presenter Department: Queen's University / Information Technology Services
Lead Presenter Title: Educational Technology Analyst

Other Presenters:
Dave Smith, Production Director, Information Technology Services

Presenter(s) Biography:
Both Dave and Don have been involved in the classroom design since the beginning of the project in 2012. Both were either on-site or on-call to support the classrooms during the launch of the classrooms this January.pedagogical value.

http://webapps.uwindsor.ca/conferences/oucc/call-for-papers/program-description.php?category=concurrent&id=30

STLHE 2014, Queen’s University, June 17 – 20, 2014
Transforming Classroom Spaces for Active and Collaborative Learning
Andy Leger

There is large and growing body of evidence that shows active learning can have a positive impact upon students learning outcomes such as increased content knowledge, critical thinking and problem-solving abilities, and positive attitudes towards learning in comparison to traditional lecture-based delivery (Anderson et al, 2005); increased enthusiasm for learning in both students and instructors (Thaman et al. 2013); and the development of graduate capabilities such as critical and creative thinking, problem-solving, adaptability, communication and interpersonal skills (Kember & Leung 2005).  There is also literature which suggests that teaching spaces can have large impact on the ability to incorporate active learning teaching strategies (Chism and Bickford 2002; Oblinger 2006; Walker et al. 2011).  In the winter of 2014 three recently renovated classrooms at Queen’s University designed for active and collaborative learning were used for the first time. One of the primary goals of redesigning classroom space was to evaluate how teaching spaces can facilitate changes in approaches to teaching and transform student learning experiences. The purpose of this panel is to learn about the design considerations, configurations and technology available in each of the three new active learning classrooms and to hear from faculty members who have chosen to teach in them.

This session will begin with an overview of the three classrooms by the Moderator and Educational Developer responsible for the support and assessment of the new active learning classrooms. Then each of the panelists will in turn discuss how the classroom design and features influenced their approach to teaching and comment on the effect it had on their students’ experience. The panelists chosen for this session each used one of the new classrooms and include experienced faculty members teaching a familiar course normally taught in traditional classrooms, an experienced faculty member teaching a newly designed course, and a new instructor teaching for the first time. Questions to each of the panelists will include:  What influence did the space have on how your course was designed and taught? Can you give an example of what worked particularly well? What aspects of the space do you believe contributed the most to enhancing student experience and student learning? What surprised you about the space and how it influenced your class? What are some of the teaching and learning strategies that you used that you could not in other traditional classrooms? What was the reaction of your students to the space and the strategies that you used? What do you wish you had known before teaching in the active learning classrooms? What advice would you give other instructors teaching in these rooms for the first time? If you were to build another classroom for active learning and to help you transform your course what would it look like?

This panel will allow participants to hear about and ask questions regarding the design aspects of three new active learning classrooms, consider the configuration and the technology available in each room, and discuss the opportunities, advantages and challenges of the teaching strategies that were used in these spaces.

STLHE 2014, Queen’s University, June 17 – 20, 2014
Dynamic Literature!
Annie Riel and Catherine Dhavernas

In the field of literary studies, students are traditionally evaluated through oral presentations, essays and exams. Although all three forms of evaluation have demonstrated their effectiveness in terms of measuring a student’s capacity for analysis and mastering concepts, our objective here was to integrate new and alternative forms of evaluation that are specifically adapted to the study of literature and which offer a more participative approach to learning. In this case we decided to place students in a simulated teaching situation, an evaluation strategy which was inspired by the Three minute thesis contest at Queen’s University, in which the goal is for students to present the most important elements of their thesis in three minutes. This evaluation strategy was introduced into two different courses offered to students in 3rd and 4th year in the Department of French studies in the Winter semester of 2014, namely FREN 325/ 425 Tendances avant-gardistes et post-modernes au XXe siècle et à l’ère actuelle and FREN 327/427 Le cinéma aujourd’hui: études thématiques.

A key factor worth noting is that the two courses took place in different locations: FREN 325/425 was taught in a traditional classroom, whereas FREN 327/427 was alternatively held, twice a week, in two different active learning classrooms – one of them equipped with round tables and an interactive display, and the other with whiteboards covering three of the room’s four walls, which proved to be an interesting basis for the comparison of how the configuration of a classroom impacts the learning and teaching strategies we chose to adopt.

If, on the one hand, the more traditional evaluation tools offered by oral presentations and essays are designed to call up analytical and explanatory skills, the simulated situation scenarios that we proposed allowed us to evaluate students’ capacity to synthesize information through active learning. In our presentation, we sought to detail the results of the new approach as it was experienced in the two above-mentioned courses. As such, we shared our thoughts on the process of implementing the approach and our assessment of its effectiveness during and after having taught the courses. We discussed its impact on our teaching practices as well as its potential to transform students into teachers ; teachers into students ; teachers into mentors who teach students how to be leaders ; and passive students into active learners.

La littérature active!
Dans le domaine des études littéraires, les situations d’évaluation sont généralement ancrées dans une tradition dont les outils se résument la plupart du temps à l’exposé oral, la dissertation et l’examen sur table. Bien que ces trois situations d’évaluation aient démontré leur efficacité à mesurer la maitrise des concepts à l’étude et la capacité d’analyse de l’étudiant, nous souhaitions intégrer de nouvelles situations d’évaluation autrement adaptées à notre objet d’étude et rattachées à une approche davantage participative. Nous avons décidé de tenter l’expérience d’une mise en situation, à savoir une stratégie d’évaluation inspirée du concours « Votre soutenance en 180 secondes », dont le principe consiste à présenter les éléments les plus importants de sa thèse en trois minutes. Cette stratégie a été introduite dans deux cours différents offerts aux étudiants de troisième et quatrième année au premier cycle en études françaises au semestre d’hiver 2014, soit Fren 325/425 Tendances avant-gardistes et post-modernes au XXe siècle et à l'ère actuelle, ainsi que Fren 327/427 Le cinéma aujourd’hui: études thématiques.

Du point de vue de l’espace, il est important de mentionner que ces deux cours se tenaient dans des classes différentes: FREN 325/425 se déroulait dans une classe traditionnelle, alors que FREN 327/427 avait lieu deux fois par semaine, en alternance, dans deux classes d’apprentissage actif — la première étant équipée de tables rondes et d’une console interactive; la seconde étant munie de tableaux blancs sur 3 des 4 murs. Le fait d’enseigner dans de ces trois classes nous a permis de constater l’impact de la configuration de l’espace sur les stratégies d’enseignement que nous avions choisi d’adopter.

Si l’exposé traditionnel et la dissertation mobilisent principalement des compétences analytiques et explicatives, la mise en situation que nous avons introduite ici nous a permis d’évaluer des compétences de synthèse dans un contexte d’apprentissage actif. Cette communication proposait ainsi de rendre compte de l’expérience de cette nouvelle approche dans les deux cours en question et de partager nos réflexions avant, pendant et après l’enseignement, de même que son impact sur notre pratique d’enseignement en les rattachant entre autres plus spécifiquement aux questions portant sur la transformation d’élèves en professeurs et de professeurs en élèves ; de professeurs en mentors qui enseignent comment être leader et d’étudiants passifs en étudiants actifs.