Design of Learning Spaces

The Office of the Vice-President for Teaching & Learning wishes to convene a multi-disciplinary research team, of students and staff, researchers and supervisors, with expertise across fields such as architecture, teaching & learning, education, technology, psychology and sociology to inform the transition to the Student Hub. 

The Student Hub at UCC is scheduled to open in 2018 and this programme aims to engage students and staff in the study of space design and the use of space to underpin the implementation of the Hub as an innovative space within which student learning and development will be facilitated and supported. The programme has been created to build capacity and to support the transition to the student hub through interdisciplinary research and to strengthen capacity for relevant research. The specific objectives of the programme are to:

  1. Engage students and staff in learning space design for the Student Hub;
  2. Inform the development of new spaces in the Student Hub, in relation to design, pedagogies and how space is used;
  3. Optimise teaching, learning and the student experience in the Student Hub;
  4. Assess the impact of the Student Hub on teaching, learning and the staff and student experience.

 

Participation:
If you are interested in participating in this research programme as a student of final year project supervisor please contact Sandra Irwin at s.irwin@ucc.ie

For further information please visit our web page here

Steering Group on Teaching & Learning Spaces at UCC
A strategic group on teaching and learning space has been convened to support the teaching and learning ambitions of UCC. The Steering Group on Teaching and Learning Spaces at UCC is chaired by the Vice-President for Teaching & Learning, Prof John O’Halloran. Membership of this group includes representatives from the Office of the Vice-President for Teaching & Learning, Student Experience, Information Services, Buildings & Estates, Disability Support Services, the Students Union and each of the four Colleges. The mission of this group is to 'Harness knowledge, evidence and awareness at UCC to create a platform from which to deliver next-generation teaching and learning spaces in recognition of the pedagogical shift that has occurred in educational environments in teaching and learning spaces for students and for staff'.

 

Review of Teaching & Learning Spaces at UCC
Among the most important characteristics of university learning spaces that directly affect learning outcomes and student experience are:

  • Flexibility of learning space
  • Support for diverse pedagogies
  • Support for educational technologies
  • Quality of physical space

In order to assess these factors across the UCC campus a review of all teaching and learning spaces was undertaken in the summer of 2015. As pedagogical methodologies and the activities taking place in learning spaces at UCC are evolving it is timely now to undertake such a review and to assess our space in terms of the capacity to support effective teaching and learning. While learning environments in the 21st century include online and virtual environments as well as informal learning spaces and specialised learning spaces such as laboratories, this study focussed on physical on-campus learning spaces that are centrally bookable. The objective of the learning space review was to assess the status of all centrally bookable teaching rooms in UCC in relation to their teaching and learning capacity and experience, and to evaluate their physical condition and the adequacy of the instructional technology. This will help to inform the design and implementation of upgrades and of new learning spaces at UCC to provide the best teaching and learning spaces possible in terms of learning environment, classroom furniture, educational technology and comfort. A summary report of this review can be found here 2015spacereview

 

Staff and Student Surveys
A key factor in the design of appropriate learning spaces is the input from students, teaching and learning professional staff, facilities staff, and security and maintenance professionals. The best learning spaces are those that reflect the current and future needs of staff and students. Thereforethe surveys of student and staff perceptions of learning space and learning technologies currently available at UCC will be undertaken to get a picture of their views on learning spaces to support current pedagogies and technologies.

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