Giving Compass' Take:

The author discusses how college faculty turned to information technology staff to help them design classrooms to be ideal active learning sites.

The collaborative effort was widely successful, and the author says that working together was a critical part of the process. Can other schools utilize their information technology staff in the same ways?

Read about why flexible learning environments are vital for success.

Although a wealth of research suggests that active learning increases student engagement and improves academic outcomes, many college campuses struggle to get faculty to shift away from traditional, sage-on-a-stage style teaching practices.

But some institutions are gaining traction using a novel approach: leveraging the expertise of facilities and information technology staff to support the redesign of classroom learning experiences.

The last wave of instructional initiatives in higher education saw colleges build centers of teaching and learning, sites where faculty could grow their skills and try out new teaching approaches. These centers offered access to tools and training on proven pedagogies and new technologies, but faculty often viewed using them as optional or an addition to their already busy schedules.

Often, facilities and information technology staff are seen as the “back of house” support for the work that is happening in classrooms. When viewed this way, space redesigns frequently occur without discussion of instructional design practices and primarily focus on budget cycles. But flipping this model invites those with expertise in space design and instructional technology to be at the core of what it means to create comprehensive, active learning experiences for students.

Faculty are reaping benefits from these programs that go beyond traditional incentives. Many value being on the leading edge of campus developments and wear their participation in the process as a badge of honor.

Read the full article about making classrooms active learning environments by Devin Murphy at EdSurge