Planned flexible teaching and learning spaces

UC Davis utilises blackboards and tables fashioned from old doors in an effort to promote collaborative based labs with a small budget.

During 2002 a number of people associated with the University’s Innovative Teaching and Educational Technology Fellowship worked together to investigate how planned renovations to the School of Physics could be shaped by trends in education research and recent initiatives at other institutions. The interactions between the newly formed “ITET” team, a sub committee comprising of Kate Wilson, Iain McAlpine and myself, and physics teaching staff resulted in major shifts towards learning space that was more flexible, student-orientated and particularly amenable to collaboration, presentations and mini-conferences.

MIT makes extensive use of data projectors, microphones and other technology to create a collaborative environment in the undergraduate physics laboratory.

Part of the ITET approach included reporting on lab facilities and accompanying teaching innovations currently in place at US and Canadian Universities. Photos, interviews and documentation procured on my whirlwind tour of US physics labs provided suitable fodder to fuel our own ideas. Whilst some US universities used sophisticated technology to teach large groups effectively in a collaborative mode, other campuses chose to teach smaller class sizes with very basic levels of educational technology.

The integration of ideas that culminated from the ITET sub-committee’s findings into the planning process of the upcoming renovations will ensure that the School of Physics is providing learning facilities and teaching strategies that are world class.

George Hatsidimitris


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