Department of Engineering and Mathematics
Sheffield Hallem University, UK
Photo link here
Engagement: try to feel ‘belonging’, part of a community of staff and students. Aim: How to develop this more effectively.
Developing patterns of social behaviour.
Need IT-enabled space.
Community = having a common purpose. Space supports this aim. Communicate this idea frequently to students.
Design of Open Learning Space
(maybe in a corridor …)
- Sense of belonging
- Encourage staff-student, student-student interactions
- Keep students engaged in gaps between classes.
- Key words: active, collaborative, social
- Activities: Peer-supported learning (PSL/PAL), group work, individual work, social/professional activities (e.g. strategy board games), informal staff-student contact (small amounts of interaction makes a big difference).
- Activities enabled by: an attractive space people want to use, meeting rooms with white boards, tut rooms with white boards, IT enabled, card access to students after hours – trust needed (and security)
- Room numbers in binary to make the space look mathematical.
- Informal resource station: staff-donated textbooks, class handouts in bookshelves/cupboards.
- Kitchen for staff only (as there are 300+ students). Coffee served at Maths Arcade (board games) events.
Survey to staff and students
- Improved availability of staff.
- Community aspect of space – contact between students in different years.
- First years had 1 term before moving into new space so can compare.
- Space enables students to work more efficiently.
- Feeling ‘at home’.
A supportive dean was the enabler for being able to design a new space. Start with any space and develop a reputation for making engaging spaces. Eventually new spaces are built and need designing.
See full article about this space in the relaunched MSOR journal:
Space for community building. Consider sharing work there.
Annual conference 10-11 Sept in UK – consider coming.