Piloting Active Learning
From 2012 - 2014 ETS partnered with the Office of the Registrar and faculty across campus to pilot an Active Learning Classroom (ALC). The "Test Kitchen", as it was called, was a space for instructors to test the principles of active learning including course pedagogy, teaching techniques, and space requirements with the assistance of instructional support staff. The goal of the project was to better understand how ALCs could be integrated at UC Berkeley.
By Fall 2015, the Office of the Registrar committed to supporting ALCs across campus, and four new General Assignment classrooms became available to campus instructors.
About Active Learning Classrooms
Also referred to as "smart classrooms" or "flexible classrooms," ALC spaces offer a new way to think about the classroom experience.
In many traditional classrooms, the layouts of the room reflect an assumption that lecture is the primary mode of instruction. Other, more interactive modes of teaching can be difficult to attempt. Barriers include fixed seating and line-of-sight issues posed by installed blackboards, screens, and lecterns. While the installation of A/V-IT in classrooms during the previous decade has enhanced the ability for faculty to integrate computer-based presentations into their teaching, the classroom layout and modes of teaching remain essentially the same.
ALCs are teaching and learning spaces that allow faculty to move their course design beyond the lecture. The room design, flexible furniture, writing surfaces, and technology all combine to support faculty in engaging with their students through collaborative learning activities and more participatory use of media. Active learning classrooms facilitate diverse sizes and groupings of students, creating a flexible and supportive environment for a class to transition seamlessly between a professor's presentation and facilitated student group work. Such rooms enable options for supporting a myriad of teaching and learning arrangements.