Active Learning Classrooms Designed for Interactive Teaching
Over the summer, major renovations were made in several classrooms on the Salem and East Liverpool campuses, changing how students learn and faculty teach.
Each campus now houses what is known as an active learning space featuring six 75-inch touch screen workstations; six whiteboards; flexible furniture; and technology that allows the instructor to share images between all the monitors in each room.
The spacious active learning classrooms are designed to allow students to work together in small groups, with furniture that can be easily moved during hands-on activities. The new spaces are ideal for “flipped” classroom teaching, in which students and faculty are engaged in hands-on activities rather than a setting in which the instructor only lectures from the front of the room.
Dr. Dan Dankovich helped lead the way for the new classroom design on the East Liverpool Campus, which led to the creation of a similar classroom on the Salem Campus. He is using the classroom for his anatomy and physiology courses, during which the students work in small groups, and he can move between them to observe and instruct.
Likewise, Dr. Louise Steele is using the newly designed classroom on the Salem Campus for her anatomy classes. She explained that before each class, the students prepare by reading or viewing her recorded lectures. Once in the classroom, the new technology allows her and the students to spend time engaged in hands-on activities that reinforce what they reviewed in advance.
While the faculty members truly appreciate the redesigned classrooms, the students also give high marks for the improvements. Dankovich conducted an informal poll of his students, and the following remarks reflect their general opinions:
Student A: “I really enjoyed using the boards today in lecture. I found that they were very helpful, and I enjoyed interacting with my peers. There is nothing that I dislike about the way the class is taught; everything seems to work great for me as it did over the summer in A&P I. … I also enjoy being given handouts, especially in color.”
Student B: “I like the way this class is taught as opposed to others I've taken in the past since it's ‘not death by power point.’ Anyone could regurgitate slides and expect people to learn from them, but you force us to understand the material from top to bottom in an interactive way, using the TVs/boards. I also enjoy the aspects of the case studies since it's the application of the material being taught real time.”
Student C: “My initial reaction to group work and peer-to-peer instruction was honestly excitement. Knowing this is one of the more challenging classes I have taken, I feel like this is going to be very helpful. I learn better hands-on and being interactive with the TVs, especially in a small group instead of whole group setting. I think it will be very beneficial this semester.”
Student D: “I wasn't sure about group work at first but, after doing it, I think it will benefit me a lot. Normally I like to do stuff on my own, but group work helps me understand information that I may have not understood at first. My peers may be able to give me ways to study and retain information. With group work, I will also want to be prepared so I can be included and possibly help others as well. Working from the TV screens was very helpful with the material today.”
The active learning classrooms are also used by English, human services and nursing students.
Aside from creating the active learning classrooms over the summer, new Zoom rooms were also constructed that resulted in each campus now having three Zoom rooms. These spaces use technology to deliver instruction to multiple campuses simultaneously, eliminating the need for students to travel to other campuses to take specific courses.
Cutline A: Anatomy students on the Salem Campus are viewing the 3D structure of hemoglobin to understand how it carries oxygen in our red blood cells.
Cutline B: An anatomy student in Dr. Louise Steele’s class is identifying and color-coding the five different types of white blood cells.
Cutline C: East Liverpool students in Dr. Dan Dankovich’s anatomy class work to understand the organization of the somatic and autonomic nervous system.
Cutline D: Students working in small groups in the new active learning classroom on the East Liverpool Campus.