Transforming Teaching in Innovative Learning Spaces

Series: CTLT Institute

Event Date & Time

  • May 24, 2018
    1:30 pm - 3:30 pm

Event Description

Pillar: Transformative Learning

The origins of using auditorium spaces for education date back to 1079 when Pope Gregory VII decided that the clergy needed to be uniformly educated in Christian dogma to spread a consistent message around his expanding kingdom. Gutenberg’s printing press would not be invented for another 400 years but the clergy lived in monasteries that had auditoria for religious services. Lecturers (from Latin for ‘reader’) would visit monasteries, read a manuscript and monks would copy down what they heard with perfect accuracy. When finished, each monk had their own personal manuscript and could hire themselves out as lecturers around the kingdom. This was excellent technology for the time, but almost 1000 years later we’re doing the same thing, even though our students not only have access to books, but entire libraries of information from the convenience of their smartphones.

Whether or not you use active learning, as soon as students sit down in a lecture hall, they expect to receive information from the professor. Increasingly, innovative teaching spaces are popping up around campus with round tables and whiteboards on the walls, which presents a unique opportunity to redefine the role of teacher and learner.

In this workshop, you will learn to use non-traditional spaces to maximize collaborative and active learning. You will think about how space influences behavior, identify new roles for students and instructors in a student-centered environment and describe strategies to generate student buy-in. Pedagogical strategies will be modeled throughout the highly interactive session, which will include discussions and brainstorming while providing concrete examples of potential approaches.

By the end of the session, you should be able to:

  1. Recognize characteristics of “reformed” classroom environments and how those can be leveraged for student-centered teaching
  2. Describe your role in the active classroom and develop strategies to overcome potential pitfalls
  3. Describe at least one way to set student expectations for their new role in the reformed classroom and generate buy-in
  4. Describe characteristics for student-centered activities that take advantage of reformed space


Kathleen Foote, Science Education Specialist, Department of Physics & Astronomy


  • Beichner, R. (2008). The SCALE-UP Project: a student-centered active learning environment for undergraduate programs. An invited white paper for the National Academy of Sciences.