Page 33 - Campus Technology, May/June 2019
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The design for University of California, Irvine’s Anteater Learning Pavilion was informed by an experimental, smaller-scale revamp of another space on campus.
is happening in the rooms, and how well the rooms are supporting the instructional practices and goals of the instructors. “We are curious about the dynamics between the space itself, the decisions instructors make about how they are going to teach, and the expectations of students when they walk into a space like that,” he said. “How much does that contribute to their willing- ness to engage more in collaborative learning instead of a lecture hall, which may lead to a dif- ferent set of expectations?”
Formalizing a Flexible Learning Initiative
In February 2019, the University of North Car- olina at Chapel Hill unveiled a Flexible Learning Spaces Initiative, a five-year plan to modernize up to 50 general-purpose classrooms. UNC actually started working with flexible classroom concepts in 2010. The technology and furniture markets have changed since then, and the cam- pus processes around making changes have
evolved, too. But according to Bob Henshaw, ITS liaison to the Center for Faculty Excellence, the process always has been faculty-led. A few years ago, a set of faculty surveys revealed that many faculty members wanted to be able to interact more, walk around the room and move furniture. “Between 2010 and 2018 we had been doing these [flexible classrooms], but with more of a piecemeal approach using end-of- year money or external grants,” Henshaw said. “We did not have a master plan for how we were going to move forward. Last year our classroom policy steering committee presented a plan to our Provost and he agreed to fund it.”
Like at other universities, one of the biggest roadblocks to change at UNC was the problem of giving up seats in new configurations. “If you are starting with a room that already has adequate space per student, you may not need to give up any seats,” Henshaw explained. “But with the majority of our classrooms, we are going to lose some seats because they are just stuffed with 33

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