11 ways the University of Melbourne is blazing a trail for Campus Development

There is a lot to be excited about with the University of Melbourne’s new building known as the Melbourne School of Design.

On the surface alone, the building boasts a 6 Star Green Star Education Design rating. It’s the first building to ever be awarded all 10 innovation points under Green Star, including the recently added credits for life cycle assessment.

The 6 Star Rating represents ‘World Leadership’ in environmentally sustainable building practices. Only 12 buildings in Australia have received a 6 Star Green Star Education Design – v1 rating – the ABP building is the largest to achieve this.

I wanted to take a look under the bonnet of this impressive building, and recently caught up with Project Director Anne Thompson, who explored the key features paving the way for future global campus development:

Built Pedagogy:

  • The building provided an opportunity to express a commitment to built pedagogy, both in terms of design as well as through the construction process. The University has embraced the opportunity to engage with the students during the construction process. Project consultants John Wardle Architects have given lecture series to share the design process; Brookfield Multiplex builders have also delivered a regular construction lecture series.
  • Every fortnight we provided site tours for students and staff and a viewing platform was installed during the demolition phase for the Faculty to hold tutorials overlooking the site.
  • Three time lapse cameras positioned around the site have provided an amazing tool for lecturing, the project team and to capture this one off opportunity. This has been supplemented by actual construction drawings for students.
  • Focusing on sharing how we’re designing and building the new MSD Building has been an extremely rewarding endeavor, which means our students and staff are familiar with the building before they even move in. There is a general buzz of excitement in the Faculty hallways discussing the latest concrete pour and progress.

Campus Integration and Stakeholder relationships:

  • The team at FABP made a substantial commitment to market intelligence. Anne, the builders and even the Dean have frequently contributed to a public blog. It’s updated every few weeks and keeps people informed of progress.
  • The building program is four months ahead of schedule; quite a feat considering development took 18 months in total. The extra time is planned to be spent on specialist heritage reconstruction of the Japanese Room into a specially designed envelope, as well as commissioning and relocation of University staff. Classes start in earnest next year.
  • To match the flexible spaces in the building, the outdoor spaces have full Wi-Fi accessibility allowing tutorials to be delivered outside. This engagement with the campus is planned and driving mobility and collaboration across campus.
  • Beyond teaching, the Faculty is very active within the architecture community and the City of Melbourne; it will be a great space for exhibitions, displays and events, with spaces designed to be changed and tailored as needed.

World Leadership rating with 6 star Green Star achievements:

  • As part of the development, a few trees needed to be removed. The trees were salvaged, dried out and will be used as part of the planned Woodwork studios run by the Faculty, where students will use the timber for the new building. These memories and reuse of the old building materials are gentle reminders of the history of the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning.
  • The building has a host of other features that helped achieve the 6 star rating including; mixed mode heating and cooling, double-glazing, glare reduction, rainwater collection, water recycling, low-energy light fittings, low-water sanitary fittings, levels of natural light, fresh air, bike storage facilities and showers.
  • ‘Innovation’ points were awarded for a pre-occupancy study of the building occupants, eliminating all car parking on the project site and preserving and integrating the National Trust-listed Joseph Reed façade.

Join Anne for a site tour of the new ABP building during Campus Development 2014. For more information, or to book your spot visitwww.campusdevelopment.com.au or call 02 9229 1000.

Free Blended Learning Webinar: It’s question time.

Watching one of those television debates recently, an idea popped into my head. The thought of having  industry experts answering the hot questions from their peers struck a bit of an intrigue chord.

Shortly after, I started working on our Blended Learning event. I’ve always been a big fan of our eduction portfolio – the pace of change is rapid and it’s pretty inspiring to see the fundamentals of teaching and learning transform.

So that’s how the Blended Learning 2014 Webinar was born. It’s pretty straight forward, it’s free to watch and get involved, and we’ll do the hard work by providing an awesome expert panel.

And here it is… Be sure to register and get involved, we’ve had over 300 registrants so far and we’re getting pretty excited:

Ahead of the 3rd Annual Blended Learning Summit we’ve gathered a few of our speakers, leading experts on blended learning practices, to discuss some of the most pertinent topics when it comes to implementing, transitioning and executing a flexible learning program.

We’ll also be taking your questions to be answered during the webinar so if you have a burning question be sure to let us know.

The webinar will be held on 16 July 2014 from 12-1PM (Eastern Standard Time)

What topics will be discussed in the webinar? (15 min each)

  • Implementing flexible learning
  • Managing the change
  • Putting it into practice
  • Q&A

Register for the free Blended Learning Webinar
You will be able to submit your questions upon registering

Our expert webinar panel:

Associate Professor Angela Carbone
Director, Distinguished National Senior Teaching Fellow, Education Excellence
Monash University
Gilly Salmon
Pro Vice-Chancellor, Learning Transformations
Swinburne University of Technology
Cathy Gunn
‎Deputy Director and Head of the eLearning Group, CLeaR
The University of Auckland

New Generation Learning Spaces: The essentials

Thinking back to my classroom experience, our weekly highlight was re-vamping the small notice board in the corner. The rest of the room (and most of the other classrooms for that matter) housed square desks and chairs facing the teacher at the front.

Those days are gone. We’re going through a huge transformation; classrooms are being reinvented as studios to suit the new ways in which we both learn and teach.

The future is technology and collaborative based and our educational facilities are adapting accordingly.

Architects are having a field day (excuse the pun) with designs, encompassing innovative buildings, bright colours and new technologies to create truly inspirational and educational experiences. I’ve collected insights, tips and tricks from around the web and spoken to our New Generation Learning Spaces panel to share the best with you:

Immerse yourself

One of the key drivers behind re-imagining the learning space is collaboration. When you think of immersing yourself, you might be thinking it’s something you already do; reading up on the latest teaching methods and so on; but are you physically immersing yourself in the classroom?

There’s no need for the teacher to stand at the front of the room to teach anymore, don’t be afraid to move your desk around, surround yourself with students and have a 360 view of the classroom.

This was a key feature of a recent Third Teacher+ transformation, check out the video of the journey as well as some key highlights from the project here:

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/8-tips-redesign-your-classroom-david-bill

Utilise natural light

Insight from Sean Coleman, Lead – Learning Spaces, Better Learning and Teaching Team, Office of the Pro-Vice Chancellor (Learning and Teaching) at Monash University:

“Natural light is hugely important to learning spaces; we’re seeing it more and more in tertiary educational spaces. We’re doing a huge refurbishment at one of our lecture theatres currently and the designs feature some huge windows that started to get smaller and smaller during the PCG. You have to push back and keep them as big as possible.

“If there’s too much light, you can always retrofit blinds or window treatments, but let’s just get as much light as we can and provide students with a connection to the outside world.

“It aids in the connection and engagement of the teaching staff and the students, especially if you can see the changes in the season – letting light into what would normally be a dark room.”

Don’t get tripped up by technology

Insights from Barbara White, Senior Lecturer in Information Technology, Charles Darwin University:

“Technology plays a central role when considering the design for a new learning space and this can bring new challenges and opportunities for education providers. I can see in lots of places that teaching students how to use communication technologies as a knowledge practice, as opposed to an entertainment or communication practice, is where some of the issues still are. Learning spaces are certainly providing an opportunity for those things to happen.”

Hon Steve Maharey, Vice-Chancellor, Massey University (New Zealand):

“You need to invest heavily in future-proofing our buildings because the demand for technology is going to rise exponentially. Our new building is set to evolve along with the demand by students and staff for more digital capacity.”

Peter Lippman, Associate Director from EIW Architects:

“There have been a lot of lessons learned about technology and spaces, but we have to understand very clearly that technology is a tool. We have to start with how people learn and think about how we’re going to support that. 

“We have to think about what is good and what is appropriate for the kinds of spaces we’re creating. For example, if you’re just going to do PowerPoint presentations, then all you need is a lap top and a connection to mount it into a projector so you can do your presentation. How different is that from just a blackboard or building in a projector and putting a movie on the screen?

“We need involve all people from all around the university and pull IT engineers out of their caves, because there are many people who have wonderful ideas and should become part of the stakeholder conversation.”

Break down the classroom wall

Insight from Mark Freeman, on his experience designing the Kangan Institute Automotive Centre of Excellence (Stage 2).

“This unique inner city campus was envisaged as a catalyst to assist in transforming all aspects of automotive skills training and research, and automotive component and vehicle testing.

“Previously, all of the different automotive skills units were, to some extent, delivered in isolation, in individual buildings on an older campus. Now, for the first time, all of the skill units are brought together in the one building, and not just in the one building, but also in the same workshop space.

“There’s a lot more collaboration between the workshop skills managers. There’s a lot more day to day negotiation of space and the utilisation of equipment that’s there.

“One of the key benefits is that the students are exposed to a lot more things. Previously they might have existed in the one building for half the day, and then in the other building in another, and effectively those were, to some extent, closed spaces.

“In this particular building the students are exposed to everything that’s happening on a daily basis. There is industry coming in and doing workshops (they’re running seminars, running vehicle and product launches), so the students come into contact with industry. There is industry participation in terms of sponsorship and maintenance of aspects of the facility as well.

 “It’s a lot more of a collaborative environment. It’s a lot more of a transparent environment, and the building as a whole, is a good place to be in. It’s not dark, it’s not damp, and it’s not dirty. It’s light, it’s bright, and it’s a healthy environment.

“It has really lifted everyone’s spirits in terms of the students who are in the building, and also visitors to the building. It has transformed their attitude towards coming to campus.”

A few practical tips:

When you do have walls, write on them.

First came the transition from chalkboards to whiteboards, but why limit the space? Walls are often filled with clutter, or just left as wasted space. Why not integrate whiteboards across your entire wall space. Not only will this utilise the space in your classroom, but by opening up the room you’ll be helping to encourage spontaneous collaboration.

Finally, get yourself some quick (and fun) wins.

We couldn’t finish without talking about all those neat little storage tricks out there. Storage is one of the key ways that space can be created, from something as simple as adding cushions to your stable cabinets to use as chairs, through to rebuilding your entire cabinet range to fit smartly within the confines of your walls.

Check out this list of ’35 Money-Saving  DIY tricks for teachers on a budget’:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/peggy/money-saving-diys-for-the-classroom

Classroom architect is a great resource that allows you to virtually redesign your exact room:

http://classroom.4teachers.org/

Finally, for some inspiration, these two Pintrest boards have some great examples of before and after classroom transformations:

http://www.pinterest.com/mrsbartteaches/before-after-classroom-makeovers/

http://www.pinterest.com/kmp444/classroom-transformations/

Find out more by visiting www.designforlearning.com.au