Reserving Space for Active Learning
The classroom itself is an important situational factor for our teaching, one that can present both obstacles and opportunities. From the type and arrangement of the furniture, to the available analog and digital technologies, the features of a classroom enable or hinder various teaching practices, and they can shape students’ expectations of the learning experience.
For example, if the chairs are bolted facing a lectern and the desks have very little room to work, students will likely expect to spend class sessions passively watching and listening to the professor deliver content. If the room is full of tables surrounded by movable chairs, students may expect to work and interact during class sessions.
To support faculty as we develop and implement active forms of teaching and learning (e.g., collaborative problem-solving, small group peer review, role-play activities, case study analysis and discussion, etc.), FSU is invested in building active learning classrooms that will help facilitate creative and innovative approaches to learning-centered teaching.
So far, our active learning classrooms are defined as rooms in which the furniture is designed to be mobile. (Of course, standard tablet arm desks can also be moved around, and many faculty facilitate active learning in classrooms not officially designated as such.) The following is a list of 14 classrooms (plus one to come) with movable desks, tables with chairs that can move, or even tables that can move and chairs that are easily moved. We’ll also keep a regularly updated list here.
|BRY 0303||Active Learning Classroom||21|
|DIF 0201||Lecture Hall||140|
|HCB 0308||Active Learning Classroom||72|
|HWC 3502||Interactive Active Learning Classroom||48|
|MCH 0303||Active Learning Classroom||63|
|MCH 0315||Active Learning Classroom||81|
|PDB A0105||Active Learning Classroom||50|
|RSB 0150||Active Learning Classroom||42|
|SCN 0204||Active Learning Classroom||100|
|STB G150||Active Learning Classroom||30|
|UCC 1701||Active Learning Classroom||45|
|UCC 1702||Active Learning Classroom||51|
|UCC 1703||Active Learning Classroom||77|
|UCC 1704||Active Learning Classroom||38|
|UCC 1705||Active Learning Classroom||30|
|WJB G0039||Active Learning Classroom||49|
Several of these rooms are pre-assigned to departments, meaning that those departments’ faculty regularly use the rooms and their schedulers will have the first opportunity to reserve them, but there are many times when the rooms are unused and available to be booked by others. If you’re interested in using an active learning classroom, talk to the scheduler in your department. In Astra, schedulers can search for these rooms and determine whether they are available during the times your class meets. CAT can also help with identifying when the rooms are available.
The registrar looks forward to cooperating with schedulers to encourage the use of these rooms and the kinds of learning experiences they can help to facilitate.
Of course, the room doesn’t design the learning experience, you do, and the teaching method is a more important and influential factor for student learning than the classroom. We’re here to support you with your course design and teaching practices. If you’d like to work on incorporating team-based learning, in-class problem solving, writing-to-learn activities, structured group discussions, collaborative projects, or any other approach to active learning, we’re happy to meet with you. Based on what you want to do, we can also help you figure out what kind of active learning space you need. You can set up a consultation by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to working with you!
The Center for the Advancement of Teaching is pleased to be partnering with the Critical Thinking Initiative, Florida State University Libraries, and the Oglesby Union for the 2019 Critical Thinking Symposium: Truth and Misinformation in Media from April 1-4, 2019.
And we invite you to attend our session!
Roundtable Discussion: Teaching in a Post-Truth Culture
Tuesday, April 2nd, 2:30 – 4:00 p.m., in Westcott 201
Facilitators: Leslie Richardson and Jen Bartman
When it’s becoming increasingly difficult for students—and citizens—to decide what to believe, our responsibilities as college faculty have never been more pressing: If we don’t teach our students to think critically, who will? In this roundtable discussion, we will explore and discuss our current “post-truth” culture, our beliefs about the role of a university in such a time, and what this role means for our teaching, including how we might prepare our students to be savvy citizens and critical consumers of information. All faculty, postdocs, and teaching assistants are welcome to join us for a timely discussion and light refreshments.
Click here to RSVP. Responses are appreciated but not required. Thank you!