Showcasing interactive learning spaces at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology

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“Rank these learning spaces from most to least favourite.”

Those were our instructions for the opening activity at the Active Learning in Interactive Spaces pre-congress workshop at EUNIS19 hosted by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) inTrondheim. Each group had been given photos of five different spaces and we were asked to discuss what we liked and disliked about them. The main themes for the favourite spaces were around flexibility of furniture, space in the room and colour. It was felt that the layout of the space really depends on what you want to be teaching, but that a good teacher could teach in any space. The least favourite spaces lacked flexibility and looked dated.

The activity set the scene for the afternoon’s tour of learning spaces at NTNU and they had a great showcase of spaces.

Our first stop was a room I had seen in photos and it did not disappoint. R2 is an interactive lecture room that had been transformed from a 280 seat lecture theatre into a 160 seat interactive space. The redesign involved a wide group of stakeholders from across the institution who identified three main scenarios for the room: 1. short lectures, 2. group work and 3. sharing back from groups. The result is a tiered room with a series of group tables on each tier. At the front of the room is a traditional lecture area with lectern, PC, AV controls, blackboards and two large screens. The lectern has Skype integration and enables wireless sharing using a Solstice device. The group tables seat six students and have a display screen and whiteboard space for each group. Students can connect their own devices (via cables) to the shared screen. A control panel on the desk enables students to ‘raise their hand’ (displaying a green light to the academic), use the microphone and share their screen to the teacher. On the lectern AV control panel, the lecturer can display the screens of any of the group tables, as well as show a camera view of the table, so you see the group on the main screen when they are speaking.

Next on the tour was a visit to the NTNU Natural Science Library with a variety of spaces for students to cater for different furniture preferences. They even transformed an area previously used to house paper journals into a relaxing space just outside of the Library with beanbags.

One of the most exciting spaces, was Make NTNU. This is a makerspace for students that includes a wide selection of tools and devices from soldering irons to 3D printers to sewing machines. Mentors are available to teach people to use the tools as well as to discuss ideas with. The team run weekly workshops on 3D printing and sewing as well as other workshops on topics such as 3D scan yourself and printing, hydroponics, car workshop. The 3D printers are available 24/7 for those who have taken the course. Everything is provided free, funded by NTNU Natural Science Library.

The final two stops on the tour focussed on discipline specific spaces, starting with the medical VR and simulation lab. The lab is around two years old and was created following a need for a student space for CPR training using RQI system. This is a fully automated CPR training system that enables students to come in whenever they want and practice their CPR skills using an adult or child dummy. The dummies are connected up to a system that provides visual feedback on technique, such as speed of compressions and number of ventilations. Once students are confident in their skills they use the system to undertake a test to confirm their skills and the lab team provide the result to the course facilitator. The lab also includes two VR stations set up with scenario training. In the example we saw, students had to practice their ABC skills using a virtual patient.

Our tour finished at the Music lab that had been refurbished last year in preparation for the new Masters in Music, Communication and Technology taught in partnership with the University of Oslo. The lab enables real time collaboration between students in Oslo and Trondheim to enable them to play in the same band from different locations.

One space I missed out on visiting, but heard plenty about, was the Exam Factory – a dedicated space for digital exams seating 1,400 students.

It was great to see such a variety of spaces and certainly set the scene for the main part of the conference which looked at the ‘campus for the future’.

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One Response

  1. Sarah Ney

    June 11, 2019 10:26 am

    a whole building dedicated to exam and BYOD? Wow
    Also, interesting collaborative lecture space, shows what can be done when space is not at a premium I guess

    Reply

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