About This Issue: Learning Spaces

min read

By Nancy Hays

This is the first edition of the new EQ. The articles on learning spaces complement the theme of the March/April EDUCAUSE Review. At our invitation, the authors in this issue accepted the challenge of addressing learning space design in new and productive ways. The EQ reviewers helped them by suggesting different formats to take advantage of online options, and EDUCAUSE staff pulled all the elements together. The result is a remarkable online publication that carries on EQ’s tradition of quality and service to the community through thoughtful, practical advice on IT issues in higher education.

This issue covers a wide range of approaches to learning spaces. Shirley Dugdale proposes new types of spaces for the University of Buffalo that she calls teaching and learning hubs and learning corridors. Bryan Lewis and Gerry Starsia describe an effective process for implementing technology at the McIntire School of Commerce. Gene George, Tom Erwin, and Briony Barnes describe the construction of learning studios at Butler Community College.

Many of the authors stressed the importance of consulting stakeholders during planning, but several focused directly on that topic. Andrea Nixon surveyed students on their use of study spaces, Clare van den Blink researched lab use, and Liz Aspden and Louise Thorpe collected Twitter comments from students on space use.

Then there are the more unusual learning spaces: Angelo Fernando and Ricardo Leon explain how the ASU Decision Theater is used, while Stephanie Gerald and Dave Antonacci demonstrate nurse training in a virtual operating room in Second Life. Barbara Weaver shares the remarkable story of Clemson University’s conversion of a swimming pool to a sandbox classroom.

Practical advice on implementing informal learning spaces comes from Angie Hammons and Lauren Brady Oswald. Aimee Whiteside, Linda Jorn, Ann Duin, and Steve Fitzgerald share their work on converting classrooms to engaging, active spaces. George Fox and Crit Stuart explain multiple stages of renovating student areas in the Georgia Tech Library, with a focus on processes that worked and the value of involving students in the planning.

Phyllis Grummon explains general concepts behind best practices in learning space design that can benefit all of us. Then there is Larry MacPhee’s tutorial, with advice both general and detailed. He has graciously allowed us to use his extensive advice, which echoes that of the other authors, to set the stage for this special issue on learning spaces.

You’ll also find some distinctive views in our four new departments and in this issue’s nontheme articles. In addition to provocative essays from Mark Askren and Wendell Brase, Colin Currie, and Lanny Arvan, you’ll find career advice from the EDUCAUSE Professional Development Committee, whose members respond to your questions about handling problems on the job. And don’t miss the proposed guidelines to accessibility issues from the EDUCAUSE Accessibility Constituent Group, the fascinating speculation on multimobile services by Alan Livingston, or recommendations from Sean Cordes on serving nontraditional students.

We encourage you to explore the many and varied articles in this first online-only edition of EQ. Please share your comments and ideas with us, either by commenting on the individual articles or contacting me by e-mail.

Welcome to the new EQ!

Nancy Hays ([email protected]) is Editor of EQ and Manager of Publishing Operations for EDUCAUSE.