COVID-19, for all of the challenges it brought, provided the catalyst to rethink and simplify our approach to remote teaching.

Zoom was adopted as the standard for both meetings and teaching. We moved rapidly to simplify teaching spaces to allow a clear focus on pedagogy, not technology. Practicing simplicity in room designs has made spaces cheaper to build. The University can now afford to revamp more teaching spaces within the current budget. The “less is more” approach makes the spaces much easier to use, allowing the teacher to teach, rather than driving AV from behind a lectern.

In the latest room design, Zoom supports the teacher to interact both with their remotely connected students and their face-to-face students from within the room at the same time. At UTAS we call this “Zoom in the Room.” The ongoing work now is to design pedagogy around the use of these spaces to better engage all students equally. First steps are to identify things not to do in these spaces such as deliver to the students on screen only.

The sudden move to on-line teaching has provided an opportunity to re-think physical teaching spaces at Uni Tas. We are now able to support students regardless of physical location by involving them in mixed classes, on-line or in the room. The technology has prompted us to question how we deliver our teaching, what is more effectively delivered on-line, what should be face-to-face with a view of providing a better experience for our students.

Fundamentally, we are thinking how better to engage our students by putting them first in our design of spaces.

Bradley Boron, Manager, Unified Communications, University of Tasmania

 Associate Professor Leonie Ellis, Director Curriculum, University of Tasmania

 University of Tasmania is a member of CAULLT (Council of Australasian University Leaders in Learning and Teaching)




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