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Faculty feedback for the win

Mosaic Design Symposium attendees offer guidance on what works, and what doesn’t, in active learning classroom design

Teaching and learning Jun 14, 2019

They sit clustered around computer screens, faces lighting up as they make a point or a joke with a friend, water bottles at the ready.

You might think you’re watching a group of students, working on an end-of-semester project. Instead, it’s a group of IU faculty members taking part in the second-annual Mosaic Design Symposium, collaborating to improve classrooms—and teaching—across the state.

On May 13, just a few days after the end of the spring semester, a group of faculty again gathered on the Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) campus for a day-long workshop to discuss IU’s active learning classrooms. The collegial group focused on what works, what needs improvement, and the future of classrooms around IU.

It’s really great that faculty are considered when these spaces are built—I think that’s the right way to do things.

Rob Elliott, senior lecturer, School of Engineering and Technology, IUPUI

“The Mosaic Initiative hosts the annual Mosaic Design Symposium to encourage instructors from each of our campuses to share their ideal classroom designs,” said Tracey Birdwell, Mosaic Initiative program director. “By gathering instructors from different campuses and from a variety of disciplines, we foster strong faculty input in the growing conversation about space across IU.”

Back to the drawing board

Here, participants flesh out an idea. They are (left to right): Jeremy Price, IUPUI; Julie Mendez, IUPUC; Kevin Jerome, IUPUC; and Lance Mason, IU Kokomo.

“Our learning space design team values faculty input, so these workshops are imperative to us for gathering real-world data, what’s really necessary for the faculty to be successful with students in the classroom,” said Julie Johnston, director, Learning Spaces.

Watch a video about the Mosaic Design Symposium

IU’s Mosaic Initiative supports innovative classroom design, research, and active learning in all IU classrooms. “It is critical to the success of Mosaic that we seek input from faculty who believe in active learning and want a voice in classroom design direction,” said Anastasia (Stacy) Morrone, associate vice president, Learning Technologies.

New this year, the symposium was open to all IU faculty, not just Mosaic Faculty Fellows. By including all voices, organizers tried to foster a diverse environment for discussion—one that participants appreciated.

“One thing I really enjoyed about today’s workshop was the ability to talk to faculty from different campuses,” said Rob Elliott, senior lecturer, School of Engineering and Technology, IUPUI. “It’s really great that faculty are considered when these spaces are built—I think that’s the right way to do things.”

“It is important to bring faculty together when we talk about how we are building and upgrading future and current learning spaces,” Tracey Birdwell said. “The instructors who teach using active learning approaches must have say in how to design spaces that facilitate student engagement.”

For Larry Darling, an IU learning space design engineer, the event is the perfect place to get feedback directly from people with day-to-day experience with his design decisions.

“This type of design symposium is a great way for my team to measure our progress and to hear where the instructors are now, what they’re struggling with now, and where they’d like to be in the future,” he said.

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