Flexible Learning Spaces Initiative
In response to a 2012 faculty survey on classrooms, the University has been experimenting with alternative classroom designs to accommodate a wider range of teaching methods. In fall 2018, Provost Bob Blouin approved a master plan put forward by the Classroom Policy Steering Committee to expedite updates to roughly a third of the University’s general purpose classrooms. The Flexible Learning Spaces Initiative (FLSI) is a multi-year plan to implement these changes and help faculty, graduate instructors, and students make the most of them.
- Several dozen small to mid-sized classrooms have been updated with flexible furniture, additional whiteboards, and floor coverings (where appropriate).
- Design work on proposed renovations for two lecture halls is complete, and construction on the first, 111 Carroll Hall, was finished before the Spring 2022 semester.
- The faculty-led Classrooms Modernization Advisory Group, with ongoing input from instructors and students, continues to help oversee implementation. Its current focus is classrooms that will be part of the Bingham Hall renovation.
Resources for Instructors Teaching in Flexible Classrooms
Classroom Management Guides: These brief guides provide practical suggestions and tips for utilizing space in flexible learning spaces at Carolina.
Active Learning Videos: Short step-by-step guides to implementing easy-to-adopt active learning strategies, plus discussion from UNC instructors on how they use the techniques.
- Think-pair-share: Thomas Freeman (Chemistry) talks about his use of this popular interactive technique.
- Whiteboards: Glynis Cowell (Romance Studies) discusses her students’ use of shared writing surfaces in the classroom.
Active Learning Web Resources: A curated collection of web resources on how to implement active learning techniques.
Classroom Configuration Slides (PPT): These editable Powerpoint slides can help you communicate your expectations with students about arranging mobile classroom furniture.
Flexible Classrooms Ambassadors: Reach out to campus colleagues who have experience teaching in a flexible learning space.
Talk to Someone About Making the Most of Flexible Classrooms
For more information about getting oriented to flexible classrooms and active learning, implementing small group activities, and designing effective prompts, contact Emily Boehm or Bob Henshaw.