Stories from the Field

We introduce here a series of Learning Spaces Collaboratory stories presenting institutional case studies that illustrate—in projects of different scope and intent—best practices and lessons learned in the process of shaping new spaces and renewing existing spaces that:

  • Are designed with ‘engaged learner’ in mind, giving students responsibility for their own learning, opportunity to gain the capacity for creative and critical thinking and the confidence that underpins future success.
  • Reflect and celebrate the community of users, welcoming, transparent.
  • Make prudent use of institutional resources over the short- and long-term.
  • Illustrate promising practices in environmental stewardship.
  • Signal to the community within and beyond the campus what is important to that college or university, how it envisions its future, its mission and identity.
  • Inspire others to respond: “what a good idea; why don’t we think about that!”

These case studies illustrate planning approaches that anticipate the future, that begin by ‘backward engineering,’ identifying what it is that the user (the learner) should come to know and be able to do as a result of their experiences in the spaces to be shaped and reshaped.

The intent of these portfolios is to share different approaches to dealing with the puzzle of interlacing relationships in the process of shaping exemplary student-centered learning spaces and to promote informed discussions about and planning, shaping, and renewing such spaces—on individual campuses and within the growing community of stakeholders and collaborators.

As David Orr notes, campus buildings can be seen as crystallized pedagogy with their own hidden curriculum. The spaces that are the focus of the case studies to be presented in the PKAL LSC Portfolios are evidence of an institutional vision of what difference the spaces will make for the learners—now and into the future. The intent of these case studies is to “push-the-envelope” within the community of stakeholders—challenging communities to continually grapple with the level of change and innovation within the growing community of practice.

2015 LSC Webinar Snapshots

Part of the DNA of the Learning Spaces Collaboratory is encouraging campuses to move from analysis to action.  Over the past several years, LSC webinars have spotlighted stories about transforming the physical environment for learning. Some of these were significant initiatives—resulting in major new facilities or renovated spaces. Other stories were about beginning the process of transforming the physical environment by giving attention to low-hanging fruit.Over the summer, we presented a series of LSC Webinar Snapshots, sharing with the broader LSC community lessons learned about the value of mindful planning. 


The LSC Guide for Planning and Assessing Learning Spaces

  • University of Minnesota: Active Learning Classroom (ALC)
    Profile and Essay

  • University of Pennsylvania Libraries: Weigle Information Commons and Education Commons
    Profile and Essay