Thursday, 17 March 2011

University of Queensland part two.

The following pictures are of ACTS, The Advanced Concept Teaching and Learning Space.
More information can be found here

There was one change to the original concept which I think would have made a major improvement to the room.
The original plan was to have a walkway from the presentation area to allow the lecturer to walk into the audience space. You will see from the picture below (supplied by Derek Powell) that instead a low wall that acts as a barrier was installed. This prevents the lecturer from easily moving amongst the class if desired and impacts on teaching styles, almost forcing traditional delivery methods.
Derek would you like to comment on this observation?

We went on to visit a technology rich biology lab.

This picture may be taken in a library, there was a lot to see and I was starting to get overload so Derek may correct me.
Anyway the point is the use of light and colour to develop what could have been an uninteresting space into one that caught my eye.

Let's now take a look at The Collaborative Learning Centre.
First of all I would like to know how many HE institutions have a dedicated building for such a purpose?
I would love to have that signage on a building at Aberystwyth, of course it would have to be bi-lingual.

To demonstrate what happens here I am using the document camera showing the pens.

Here you see the image shown on the large screens at the pods. This is not new technology but pushing and pulling content and displaying it around the room rather than large screen data projection is becoming more common place. It enables different teaching styles whilst being able to support the more traditional methods.

These columns create line of site problems but at least they have been used in a positive by introducing a splash of colour.
Some may have guessed that I am keen on the development of outdoor spaces as places to work.
This picture is of a building no longer require that had been developed into a pavilion type space. I thought this was very imaginative. Often there is a tendency to moth ball or demolish. It was not busy at this time as it was early in the morning but Derek says it is a popular space.

This area was a lovely spot with lots of shade and natural colour. You might just be able to make out the group work taking place in the trees beyond the lamp post. I know that weather has an impact on this type of spaces but even in Wales we have period s of good weather. These spaces can be developed for very little cost and often become 'favourite' study or contemplative  locations for students. The point I make is if you provide these types of places they will be used.

And lastly I wondered what these guys would make of this blog and developments in education since their time.

Once again I would like to thank Derek Powell for taking the time to show me some great spaces and also giving me some points to think about especially process, which I will come back to.


  1. Hi Nigel, Another excellent blog and some very interesting stuff in there. I agree with your observations about the ACTS theatre, that a central isle would have been a benefit to the space. I had similar issues with a large lecture theatre here which didn't have any isles and the rows were very long meaning access and egress for students was poor. The architect and the faculty involved took on board my comments and suggestions and introduced two isles which improved things enormously and as there was plenty space between teaching wall and first row of seats they were able to put another row in the front and didn't lose any seats.

  2. The rooms at the back of the ACTS theatre Nigel, with the glass windows, could you enlighten me further as to what these are for and how they are used - I saw the photo's on the link you provided above. They had monitors and pc's in them. Cheers, Az.

  3. Az, the room at the rear is an observation booth. ACTS is an overtly experimental space and the room allows researchers to see exactly how various aspects of the new technology is working (or not) under real conditions. There is also a full duplicate control screen and PC - useful for conferences.

  4. Hi Derek, thanks for the clarification, makes sounds sense to have built this into the space :-)
    I can see the use for conferences as many lecture theatres these days don't have the luxury of a "projection room" . Many thanks, Az.


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