Active Learning Classroom Facility - Overview

One of the objectives of the Active Learning Catalysts project is to "establish a student-centered technology-rich studio classroom designed to support active learning pedagogy."

In the fall of 2011, room 108 of NMU's Harden Learning Resources Center (LRC) was transformed from a traditional classroom into a studio-style active learning classroom. The room's design follows the principles of SCALE-UP, the active learning approach first developed by Dr. Robert Beichner and his team at North Carolina State University and adopted by many institutions across the U.S. and beyond. LRC 108's design was also inspired by the University of Minnesota's ALC project.

In LRC 108, seven round tables each seat nine students, giving the room a capacity of 63 students. This configuration, adoped from SCALE-UP, accommodates multiple levels of collaboration: each table can be divided into three teams of three students for some activities, the nine students at each table can work together on other exercises, and the entire class can come together for larger discussions and presentations. Dry-erase surfaces are available adjacent to every student table.

active learning classroom

Instead of a lectern at the front of the room, a base station is located centrally for the instructor, who typically spends much of the class period moving about the room to facilitate the student groups' activities.

Technology to support learning activities is integrated throughout the room. Students tables have multimedia visual presenter cameras, microphones, and large LCD monitors that can display any student's laptop. SMART overlays transform the LCD monitors into interactive whiteboards. Web-based personal response software is used to answer informal quiz questions, respond to brief surveys, and share summarized results of activities.

During the Active Learning Catalysts project, team members will assess overall and invidual impacts of technological tools in order to produce a compendium of recommdations and best practices for future active learning classroom development.

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Introductory Videos

These short videos, created by NMU Instructional Design and Technology student technicians, introduce the active learning classroom from a student perspective.

Classroom Overview

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Student Work Stations

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Interactive Smartboards

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