Teaching Strategies

Preparing for ALC

Every instructor will use an Active Learning Classroom (ALC) differently based on their goals, content, and students. While there is no one way to effectively use an ALC, we have compiled some recommended strategies for instructors and students who are wondering how to make the most of the space.

Instructors

  • Consider orienting your course objectives and delivery towards collaborative and problem-based learning.
  • Because not all ALC resources will fit your instructional goals, reflect on 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 can take 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.
  • If possible, observe an experienced ALC instructor teaching. Sitting in on one class session can provide a concrete sense of how to navigate the technology and pedagogy in the ALC.
  • You may want to 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.
  • Strive for transparency with your students about 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

  • Keep in mind that the ALC is a shared-learning space. Consider working with students early in the semester to set expectations and prepare them to take shared ownership in their learning process by actively participating in activities and projects.
  • Aim to establish clear guidelines for the use of laptops or mobile devices early in the semester. It may be helpful to designate some time in class for “laptops open” and other times as “laptops closed” to help manage digital distractions.
  • Consider how you might 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.