Opening the door to more inclusive learning



Innovative new classrooms designed to break down the barriers between students and lecturers will be officially opened at the University of Lincoln.


The teaching spaces, based at the University’s Brayford Pool campus, have incorporated some of the best new design ideas for teaching spaces in the higher education sector.


The new spaces are part of a national project to develop better ways of teaching and learning within British universities in the 21st Century.


This programme, called Learning Landscapes, is being led the University of Lincoln, working alongside major institutions including the universities of York, Newcastle, Warwick and Loughborough.


It has been funded with almost £300,000 from the higher education funding councils of England, Scotland and Wales.


The new learning spaces will be officially launched on Tuesday 9 December by Peter Williams, Chief Executive of the Quality Assurance Agency – the agency that reviews standards in higher education.


The rooms have been designed to support more collaborative ways of teaching and learning – attempting to remove the physical and imagined boundaries which discourage intellectual engagement between tutors and students.


Rows of desks are replaced with soft furniture which can be moved around the room. The walls between rooms are panelled with glass, so one group of students can see into the next, creating a greater sense of solidarity, even across different disciplines.


Learning Landscapes Project Director Professor Mike Neary, Dean of Teaching and Learning at the University of Lincoln, said: “The more traditional classroom or lecture theatre is not designed for a close intellectual engagement between the lecturer and the student. We are trying to encourage a model where the student is included in the process of the production of new knowledge and, therefore, becomes part of the university’s academic and research culture.”


Alongside the redesign of university campuses, Learning Landscapes also addresses other ways in which the traditional academic infrastructure can support higher learning. This includes looking at the relationship between academics and support and professional staff.