Teaching to the space: students’ perceptions of learning following their teachers’ participation in a programme of collaborative professional development supporting teaching in the Collaborative Learning Forum.

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Research and Development in Higher Education: The Place of Learning and Teaching Vol. 36

July, 2013, 534 pages
Published by
Frielick, S., Buissink-Smith, N., Wyse, P., Billot, J., Hallas, J. and Whitehead, E.

Macquarie University’s Collaborative Learning Forum is a space that was designed to support multiple learning modes, from traditional lecture formats to more active and collaborative pedagogies, for class sizes of up to one hundred students. Evidence suggests that effective professional development is necessary to sustain innovative pedagogies in innovative spaces. The present study describes the Forum project, in which ten teachers collaborated to define what constitutes quality learning and teaching practice in the Forum, and then designed their units to be consistent with these principles. Data from a student evaluation questionnaire is reported which explores their views on the space itself, whether they were given opportunities to be active and collaborative, whether these activities enhanced their learning, whether they teachers created a supportive learning environment, and whether they were satisfied with the value and quality of their learning experience there. There was a general pattern of agreement among students that these things were true, and this suggests that the professional development offered to teachers enabled them to utilise the affordances of the Forum to deliver a valuable and high quality learning and teaching experience to their students.

Keywords: learning and teaching spaces; teacher professional development; student engagement, learning and satisfaction.