Collecting feedback and implementing changes was the primary goal of 2013-2014ís classroom revitalization efforts. In the fall term, a classroom satisfaction survey was administered on the Waterloo campus, and over 150 instructors and 500 students took the opportunity to add their voice to Laurierís classroom renewal. The top classroom improvements which came out of that survey were larger work surfaces in classrooms, student access to power, additional whiteboards, dimmable lighting, and improved seating comfort.
This year saw a 33%† increase in the usage of the online problem reporting portal, which instructors and students can use to report deficiencies in their classrooms. Though the number of problems reported through the portal increased, many of those problems should have been directed to the ITS HelpDesk, and so the actual number of problems with classroom furniture and physical space dropped by 30%.
Some significant achievements in classroom revitalization this year were:
- Replacing uncomfortable and outdated classroom chairs in 7 classrooms with over 300 new, more comfortable seats which feature flexible, ergonomic components designed for comfort (N1042, N1044, SEM102, P2015, P2027, P3015, P3027)
- Purchasing mobile whiteboards for the Bricker Academic Buildingís lecture theatres
- Installing 17 new whiteboards in four classrooms to provide more space for instructors to write, as well as facilitating student collaboration, group work, and active learning activities
- Collaborated with PRISM to repair desktop power outlets in SBE2250 & SBE2260
Revitalizing Laurier's Classrooms
Tasked with a leading role in classroom management, the Quality Assurance Office in the Centre for Teaching Innovation and Excellence†has taken a proactive, interdepartmental approach to classroom management by encouraging a culture of feedback and seeking input from the Laurier community. The talents of Physical Resources, Information Technology Services, and the Registrarís Office are being coordinated and connected with the needs of faculty and students to revitalize and maintain Laurierís teaching and learning spaces.†
Repair and Renewal
Laurierís first classroom problem reporting tool (wlu.ca/myclassroom) launched in September 2012 on the Waterloo campus, and since then, the Quality Assurance Office has resolved over 100 classroom problems reported by students, staff, and faculty. Establishing a clear communication channel for classroom problems has meant that missing chairs, broken desks, and general repairs are being addressed quicker than ever before.
The most significant repair initiatives undertaken this year were the replacement of broken seats and writing tablets which reduced capacity and inhibited comfortable learning two of Laurierís largest lecture halls: 1E1 and N1002. These repairs impact approximately 9000 students in 30 courses in 1E1 each term and another 4500 students in N1002. Repairs began in December, and by September 2013 these lecture halls will once again offer a comfortable and conducive learning environment to every student.
One of the first classroom management tasks that the Quality Assurance Office undertook was to establish a classroom management website and a contact e-mail address (email@example.com) to create clear communication channels for reporting problems and following up on ideas and improvements for Laurierís classrooms.
Since September, the Quality Assurance Office has reached out to the Laurier community to ask for ideas for classroom improvements through the wlu.ca/myclassroom website. Two dozen ideas have been submitted by instructors and students through the online idea submission form. Multiple instructors requested additional whiteboards in classrooms, in part to facilitate active learning activities with their students. The Quality Assurance Office took this opportunity to also replace outdated blackboards with whiteboards on the Waterloo campus, while Campus Operations did likewise at the Brantford Campus. In total 22 additional whiteboards have been installed on the Waterloo and Brantford campuses.
With repairs underway in 1E1 and N1002, the Quality Assurance Office is working with Physical Resources to implement an annual lecture hall preventative maintenance schedule. Classrooms with fixed seating will be inspected regularly for loose or damaged parts in order to extend their lifespan.††
In September 2012, Laurier opened one of the first purposefully designed Active Learning Classrooms in Ontario. This unique learning space promotes student collaboration, increases classroom engagement, and brings technology into Laurierís learning environments like never before. 26 courses and over 600 students used the Active Learning Classroom throughout the Fall and Winter. The Quality Assurance Office provided pedagogical and technical training as well as support and administration for the classroom.