Active Learning

Whether we call it active learning or collaborative learning, we know that getting students in groups to discuss and apply course material helps with engagement and retention of information (Barkley, E.F., Major, C.H. & Cross, P., 2014).

Brock has a long standing reputation for active learning, given our seminar and lab system. But our teaching and learning spaces are not always responsive to pedagogical needs. ST 103 and ST 105 are newly renovated rooms adjacent to the Marketplace designed to maximize instructor and student flexibility.

When you enter these rooms, you will notice that they offer a minimalist look and feel – an open palette for fostering creative potential.

The tables and chairs are moveable and stackable so that learners can utilize the full space without obstacles.

There are plenty of whiteboards for process work, and cubbies provide a spot to de-clutter. Group work can be supported by huddle boards and “buddy boards” (personal whiteboards), currently available for use from CPI.

Students are not even confined to the room – they can head to adjacent spaces (like the marketplace) to discuss problems, but still present their findings on a whiteboard when they return.

Both ST103 and 105 are equipped with wireless technology so that groups can make separate presentations on one of the four monitors using their own devices. Instructors can control the monitors from the Crestron Air Media software, or students download the app to take over the screens. The technology can be also be utilized in more conventional ways to simply present information. It’s your choice.

Active Learning Classroom

Want to know more? For the winter term, the Centre for Pedagogical Innovation (CPI) is hosting a weekly Pedagogical Incubator, where instructors and TAs can drop into ST103 to explore its creative potential. Available times are Tuesdays from 1:00 – 2:00 pm or by appointment. In addition, if you would like to try out the room with your existing class, contact the Centre for Pedagogical Innovation to make arrangements.

Instructors wishing to utilize active learning throughout their course can make a scheduling request for the Fall/Winter for ST105 by emailing Room capacity is 34 seats.

Active learning is not new at Brock. But these spaces are – come and check them out.

Barkley, E, Major, C.H. & Cross, P. (2014), Collaborative learning techniques, San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.