|Student-directed, informal learning centre
The objective is to design and implement a student-driven, informal learning space that will provide students with an innovative place to study and work on projects and presentations. Informal learning spaces are known to improve students' ability to solve problems and vastly improve attitudes (Oblinger, 2004). We propose to develop a new Undergraduate Learning Centre (ULC) to be housed in the Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences (EOS). This centre will contain appropriate learning technologies and will act as a study and social space that will encourage interaction amongst undergraduates of various backgrounds and ages.
Rationale: In keeping with Trek 2010 learning vision. Continue improvements to all aspects of the learning environment... and re-examine the configuration of instructional space in the context of changing expectations about teaching and learning" this new learning centre will foster interdisciplinary interaction between students in the Faculties of Applied Sciences, Arts, and Science. Students have emphasized the need for more informal learning spaces with flexible hours.
Methods: EOS has donated a large space for the ULC and we have garnered significant in-kind support. A 'mobile' learning space will be developed with movable furniture, whiteboards and tables. Appropriate learning technology, such as projectors and laptops for loan, will be purchased. A flexible space will accommodate students working alone or in groups. The centre will have flexible hours and will be staffed with graduate student TAs who will assist undergraduates in both technical and scientific problems. Earth Course Assistant Centre, an exceptionally successful resource centre for first year students (from all Faculties) will be a part of the learning centre and will encourage interaction between lower and upper level students.
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Lori Kennedy, Earth and Ocean Sciences, Faculty of Science