How to maximise existing space for student-centred learning: Campus masterplanning at Curtin University

Universities operating in a tight fiscal environment have dominated media headlines in recent times. In spite of the negative vibes attached to this theme, many tertiary establishments are becoming more innovative with their existing assets. One asset in particular has set the tone in the context of campus masterplanning: the learning and teaching space.

The focus on maximising existing space combines academia and design in architecture to enable active student-centred learning.

When universities undertake this journey, they don’t only benefit from a cost savings perspective, they also provide students an experiential offering that supports their learning outcomes. When that occurs, the benefits multiply – from stronger reputations institutionally to continued excellence in educational rankings.

However, with demand changing so quickly, how can universities manage competing priorities and align the use of space with student learning outcomes? How can they unlock the value of existing space beyond financial aspirations?

Ahead of Campus Development 2016, we spoke to Khoa Do, Associate Professor – Architecture & Construction Management, Curtin University, who discussed how existing space can be used to accommodate changing pedagogy, improve student learning outcomes, and measure the effectiveness of learning and teaching spaces.

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Listening Diagram for the Curtin General Learning & Teaching Facility, courtesy of Khoa Do & HASSELL

Khoa Do, Associate Professor – Architecture & Construction Management, Curtin University

Adopting an Integrated Design Model (IDM) for space utilisation

My background is in Architecture and the built environment. Having spent a considerable part of my professional career moving between academia and architectural practice, I have developed an interest and expertise in the areas of Architecture of Education and the Pedagogy of Space.

The direct link between pedagogy and space for learning and teaching are intrinsically interconnected and integrated. Good design of learning spaces can positively impact the development of innovative learning and teaching scholarship; good education spaces are transformative environmental conditioning agents for generating innovative learning and teaching practices.

Leading universities are agile and timely in the way they stay abreast of the challenges reshaping the higher education sector. The disruptive environment is been fuelled by a wide range of interconnected factors that include: advancing technologies, preferences for courses catering more towards multi-disciplinary (cheaper, short-intense and high quality), the balancing of face to face versus online delivery, applied research and industry engagements (commercialisation of research) and so on.

Leading universities are responding by putting greater investment in the development of campus spaces aimed at offering more experientially transformative learning environments of both virtual and face to face.

The emphasis for universities is to afford quality learning experiences that go beyond simply the process of acquiring skills and knowledge for the attainment of a degree in the traditional model of learning and teaching.

Staying relevant, ahead of the competition and being at the forefront of what universities do and offer are hallmarks of a progressive and innovative university.

Khoa Do is a featured presenter at the upcoming Campus Development Summit. These insights are part of an exclusive case study on using existing space to accommodate changing pedagogy and support student learning outcomes. He goes on to explore how the Integrated Design Model (IDM) approach investigates design considerations and strategies that enable the explorative process of identifying small scale opportunities across the campus for upgrading, retrofitting and redevelopment.

If you’d like to know more about the Campus Development Summit, download the brochure or visit http://www.campusdevelopment.com.au. Khoa will be joined by more than 20  specialists from across Australia, the UK and Singapore at the Summit. They will share key considerations that you need to make to ensure a pedagogically responsive and innovative campus and facility for 21st century learners.

 

 

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