Teaching Strategies

Preparing for ALC

To ensure success in an Active Learning Classroom (ALC), we offer the following recommendations for instructors and students.

Instructors

  • Take maximum advantage of the ALC by orienting your course objectives and delivery towards collaborative and problem-based learning.
  • Not all ALC resources will fit your instructional goals. Consider what features of the ALC you would like to use for certain sessions. The Teaching Strategies for ALC resource suggests ways to get started.
  • Familiarize yourself with the ALC resources and space in advance. It takes time to adjust your pedagogy to a technology-rich learning environment.
  • Since the ALC shifts the focal point from the instructor to students, you may find it useful to stay mobile in the classroom and monitor students’ progress and provide feedback where needed.
  • Observe an experienced ALC instructor teaching. Even sitting in on one class session provides a concrete sense of how to navigate the technology and pedagogy in the ALC.
  • Plan low-stake activities (concept mapping, student polling etc.) during the first couple of weeks, allowing students to get familiar with ALC features. It may be their first time learning in an active learning classroom.
  • Engage students by encouraging them to move around and use multiple writing surfaces, screens, and movable furniture.
  • Be ready to explain to your students the merits and advantages of using an ALC for the course. Share how and why the features of ALC will help students in better learning of course materials.

Students

  • The ALC is a shared-learning space. Set expectations early that students are meant to take shared ownership in their learning process by actively participating in activities and projects as assigned by the instructor.
  • Establish clear guidelines for the use of laptops or mobile devices. It may be helpful to designate some time in class for “laptops open” and other times as “laptops closed” to help manage digital distractions.
  • Encourage students to take advantage of the flexibility the space allows. Invite them to use the various writing surfaces and screen projectors to learn collaboratively with their peers, and let students know that they are free to move their chairs to see instructor, presenter, and content.