Mosaic active-learning initiative builds momentum around the state

Brad Wheeler, Indiana University vice president for IT and chief information officer, and Anastasia Morrone, IU associate vice president for learning technologies, gave the IU Board of Trustees an update on Mosaic, IU's active-learning initiative, now in its third year.

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Through the Mosaic Initiative, IU is dedicated to building active-learning classrooms like this one in Lecture Hall 104 on the IUPUI campus. Photo by Emily Sterneman, University Information Technology Services

"Active learning," broadly defined as any teaching method that engages students in the learning process, is gaining ground among higher-education instructors. As instructors adopt more engaging teaching practices, many universities are building classrooms that facilitate these evolving approaches, generally called active-learning classrooms.

Through the Mosaic Initiative, IU has taken leadership in this growing movement to support active learning and build active-learning classrooms, known as Mosaic classrooms. There are more than 60 Mosaic classrooms across the IUPUI and Bloomington campuses.

Examples include:

  • Active Learning Lecture Hall Classroom (Hine Hall 118, IUPUI): Student tables boast power supplies to support students' electronic devices. A mix of long and round tables allows smaller group collaboration among up to 104 students. Glass boards line the walls, further aiding collaboration. All students can easily share content via their mobile devices to the large projectors in the front of the classroom using Mersive Solstice.
  • Collaborative Learning Studio Classroom (SB 015, IU Bloomington): Technology-enhanced tables allow students to work in teams of six. A 20-foot-wide video wall can show the work of one table -- or all tables -- to the entire class of 96. Without a traditional instructor lectern, this studio classroom has a de-centered feel, allowing the instructor to engage students from anywhere in the room.

But building classrooms is not enough; instructors need support to try novel teaching practices and experiment with new technologies. The Mosaic Faculty Fellows program gives this support to faculty who want to explore how to teach in a Mosaic classroom, research what happens in that space and share their teaching practices across IU.

The Mosaic Faculty Fellows program provides an opportunity across two semesters for faculty to explore and reflect on active-learning approaches with other Mosaic Fellows, as well as to contribute to the development of IU's learning spaces. The Mosaic Initiative now has nearly 80 fellows across all IU campuses who continue to share their experiences with the wider IU community.

"With our fellows researching and teaching active-learning methodologies all across the state, Mosaic is fulfilling one of its fundamental goals: to transform the classroom experience for students and faculty," Morrone said. "This network of faculty leaders -- our fellows -- are leading the charge to create a better learning experience for all."

Ceci Jones is media relations manager and managing editor with IT Communications.