Image: Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario

This is the eighth of 10 Lessons from a Post-Pandemic World. For the other nine, click here.

More space and fewer students per room is not only healthier, but also allows for better learning.”

Research on student responses to emergency online learning indicated that many lacked adequate space at home, often having to share space, devices and bandwidth with other family members studying or working from home.

Providing digital learning spaces on campus

As students do more and more blended learning, they will need quiet places on campus with high-speed Internet for private study (preferably with refreshments near at hand).

Many institutions have a central learning commons, often linked to the library, but students also need many smaller, local learning spaces, close to where classes will be held, where they can plug in their computers or tablets and work at a table or ben

Some institutions are already installing interactive or active classrooms.

Students at one institution sit in groups of six or seven at round tables with power points, Internet connections and cables that link them to their table screen on the wall. Group work can be displayed on the screens, or screens can be used for whole class instruction.

Lessons about overcrowding

Outside or at the back of the room, there may be individual study carrels in which a student can break out of the group to do some work or online research. That institution found the room itself encourages instructors to teach differently. Students are more active and develop a wide range of important skills, such as collaboration, independent learning and digital literacy.

COVID-19 provided an important lesson about overcrowding classes.

More space and fewer students per room is not only healthier, but also allows for better learning. If, for instance, a third of students on a particular day are studying primarily online, this provides an opportunity for reducing physical class sizes and making campus-based classes more interactive.

For Lesson 9, click here: Lessons learned for administrators


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