EDUCAUSE is a nonprofit association and the largest community of technology, academic, industry, and campus leaders advancing higher education through the use of IT.

The EDUCAUSEreview: Why IT Matters to Higher Education is an important resource for all. From the current issue:

Higher education is rapidly evolving in response to changing economic models, the emergence and growth of startups, declining enrollments, new student profiles, and an increased emphasis on addressing inequality. For leaders and academics alike, this uncertainty and complexity is disorienting. The scope and the speed of change suggest that higher education cannot continue under an assumption of “business as usual.” Instead, a fundamentally different approach to teaching, learning, administration, and research is required. We believe that complexity science offers the best lens to understanding and managing this change. Through complexity science, higher education leaders can apprehend and make sense of broad-ranging trends, as well as the urgent need to plan for and provide systemic responses.

“Complexity: A Leader’s Framework for Understanding and Managing Change in Higher Education” by George Siemens, Shane Dawson, and Kristen Eshleman.

The Learning Space Rating System (LSRS) project provides a set of measurable criteria to assess how well the design of classrooms support and enable active learning.

ELI Annual Meeting: February 19–21, 2019, Anaheim, California.

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Everything I Learned About Learning in Kindergarten” by Rebecca Berry, LEED AP, AIA, page 14 in College Planning & Management.

Design standards for kindergarten classrooms – which encourage active and collaborative learning – are making inroads into higher education.

Contrasting pictures come to mind when recalling historically typical learning spaces: from rows of flip-top desks with attached chairs, bolted to the floor, all facing forward toward a blackboard; harkening back to single-room schoolhouses in rural America where younger children would sit up front , older children at the rear of the room, in near total silence, working on their “lessons.”

In the early part of the 20th century, new concepts began to emerge relative to educating young children. Driven particularly by Maria Montessori, the idea of the child as the center of the education process arose.

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From the Chronicle of Higher Education:

A Third of Your Freshmen Disappear. How Can You Keep Them?

Colleges redesign the first-year experience to improve retention, learning outcomes, and students’ sense of belonging.

LINK: Access the article here>>>

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Making an Old Science Building Relevant Again

UConn Project Updates Structure and Enables Contemporary Teaching Methods

Renovating an old science complex can be a cost-effective way to transform a 1970s relic into an education facility for the 21st century. The Gant Science Complex, built between 1970 and 1974 on the Storrs campus of the University of Connecticut, is big—285,000 sf—but outdated and environmentally inefficient with an R value in the single digits. It also reflects old-fashioned science teaching and research methods, making it hard to enable the kind of collaborative learning used today.

LINK: Access the report here>>>

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Reports from the National Research Council (NRC) are essential resources for planners. The NRC report Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation & America’s Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads  (LINK to report) will be of value in informing discussions about why and how to design for inclusivity.

The Inclusive/Excellence Program at HHMI (Howard Hughes Medical Institute) (LINK to report) signals what is important to address if campuses are committing to increasing in measurable ways their infrastructure, resources, and expertise to involve undergraduate students in science, resulting in expanded access to excellence for all students, and especially those who belong to the “new majority” in American higher education. Best Practices from HHMI grantees can be adapted in other settings.

The June LSC Roundtable Collection II: Essays on Designing for Dissolving Disciplinary Boundaries will spotlight a soon-to-be-released report from the National Academies: Branches from the Same Tree. This report anticipates a future for learning and research in undergraduate environments in which boundaries are dissolved between arts, humanities, STEM fields, and medicine. (AHSTEMM).

Register for the May Webinar introducing this report. (LINK to registration). Free.