After nearly two years of construction, the Anteater Learning Pavilion (ALP) opens this Fall. The building is home to two large lecture halls, nearly a dozen 30-100 person classrooms, computer labs, and more, and at any moment may accommodate up to 3,000 students. DTEI has served a central role in this endeavor, regularly advising on the design and construction of the ALP and establishing new programs and initiatives to help the campus fully utilize the new spaces. A significant focus of these efforts has been supporting faculty in incorporating more active and collaborative learning into their courses and optimizing the learning environments for these approaches. Active learning refers to a broad collection of instructional strategies and involves increased faculty-student and student-student interaction, the creation and sharing of student content, and more frequent practice and feedback in class. A number of features make ALP well-suited to active learning:
- Seating and room layouts that enable students to easily form groups
- More space per student and wider aisles
- Shared student workspaces (e.g., whiteboards and shared displays)
- Wireless projection and smaller secondary lecterns to help reduce distance between instructors and students
- Quick switching between room modes when using student displays
- Technology that’s there when you want it and–literally–gets out of the way when you don’t
DTEI’s involvement in ALP development and continued success has been spearheaded by Mathew Williams, Principal Analyst for Learning Environments and Technologies. He also helps to coordinate scheduling for the building, including working with the Registrar and academic units to leverage the ALP spaces in the evenings for TA office hours, tutoring, and academic support programs (if interested in reserving room in the evening for your academic program please contact us at DTEI@uci.edu). In addition, DTEI is launching a long-term mixed-methods research study to better understand the impact of the ALP and help guide future efforts to support active learning.
To ensure that UCI instructors are able to maximize the potential benefits afforded by the ALP, we created the Active Learning Institute (ALI) in Fall 2017. The ALI was developed to train and support faculty in using active learning techniques and technology in the ALP. ALI-certified instructors are then provided with priority ALP scheduling for their courses.
The ALI consists of eight 90-minute interactive workshops facilitated by Andrea Aebersold, the Director of Faculty Instructional Development. These workshops bring together faculty from all ranks and disciplines to learn more about course design, active learning strategies, inclusive teaching, group work, and technology. Faculty who complete the ALI are then observed using the Classroom Observation Protocol for Undergraduate STEM (COPUS) to ascertain how much active learning is taking place. All institutes in 2017 and 2018 were at capacity as is the upcoming Winter 2019 institute. Instructors who are interested in being added to the waitlist for a future ALI can add their name here. The ALI was recently featured in The Chronicle of Higher Education.