Learning Landscapes rooms officially opened
New classrooms which tear up the traditional blueprint for the lecture theatre to create a more inclusive atmosphere for teaching and learning have been officially opened at the University of Lincoln.
The teaching spaces have been designed to break down the barriers between students and teachers by removing rows of desks and seats in favour of soft furniture which can be moved about the room.
The rooms are separated by large glass windows so students can see from one class into the next, regardless of the subject being taught.
The intention is to create an environment where students feel they are included in the process of producing knowledge – an atmosphere which can benefit research as well as teaching.
The rooms are part of the national Learning Landscapes project, which is being led by the University of Lincoln.
The aim of the research is to consider whether the built environment and wider infrastructure of universities needs to change to enhance teaching and learning in the 21st Century.
The new teaching spaces were officially opened by Peter Williams, Chief Executive of the Quality Assurance Agency, who unveiled a plaque to commemorate the occasion.
Mr Williams said: “Some people will of course dismiss all this as trendy nonsense - they will say there is nothing wrong with the lecture theatre. I am as much a traditionalist as the next person but even I begin to wonder whether the pedagogy of 12th Century Paris really offers the best way of stimulating our interests today as students or teachers. Too often it is about power relationships. A new approach such as this offers great opportunities.”
It was the second time Mr Williams had visited the University of Lincoln – the first being in 2004 when he opened the Great Central Warehouse Library.
Mr Williams said: “To me, the University of Lincoln is about openings and beginnings. I have been astonished at how much has been achieved in the four years since I was last here.”
Professor Mike Neary, Dean of Teaching and Learning at the University of Lincoln and Learning Landscapes Project Director said: “At Lincoln we are trying to create an environment where the students are collaborators in the production of knowledge, where they are part of the research culture. These rooms are designed to encourage that sense of collaboration.”