‘This is a space to dream big about teaching’
Never underestimate the power of a fresh start, in new surroundings. It can hit the re-set button, activating problem-solving skills and simply brightening everyone’s mood.
On November 5, 2014, that magic was in action at the official ribbon cutting ceremony to launch Concordia’s new Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL), located on the sixth floor of the Faubourg Tower (FB).
“The space is here to engage faculty in conversations about teaching,” said Catherine Bolton, vice-provost of Teaching and Learning. By facilitating interaction and creative thinking, the centre allows staff to share ideas or come up with new ones to improve their teaching methods.
Described as “welcoming” by many who attended the ceremony, the centre itself is modern, bright and inviting, with punches of colour provided by the orange, red and purple furniture. It is divided into two distinct zones: a workspace and an active learning classroom.
With light , bright furniture, the workspace is designed for dialogue and brainstorming. There is room for group meetings, nooks and crannies for one-on-ones and a long desk that lines the window for solo work. What’s more, most of the tables, walls and even doors are whiteboards, and buckets of dry-erase markers can be found throughout the room for when, as Bolton put it, “you have that light bulb moment.”
Movable walls, movable minds
Professors can apply to use the space to practise different teaching methods that move away from traditional lecture formats. The tables and chairs can be easily moved to allow for group work or unique class configurations, or can be removed completely to create an open concept. The classroom, which seats 36, features sliding panels and can be divided into two separate rooms.
“For a teacher who has been teaching the same subject for many years, it can be hard to wrap your mind around how to rethink your courses,” said Bolton.
This is why the CTL exists. Aside from the workspace and classroom, the centre boasts a wealth of services for faculty and graduate students who are looking to change their game, including one-on-one consultations with the centre’s staff, workshops on blended learning and teaching technologies, and help with course design.
According to Bolton, the CTL responds to a student-driven need to make sure Concordia is giving students the best pedagogical experience possible. “Our students are different than they were twenty years ago. They’re technological, and the world they’re working in is, too. The importance of group work, of problem solving and of being able to communicate and work outside of the box – we need to show our students how to do this in our classrooms.”
Bacon agreed, emphasizing that the CTL is directly in line with Concordia’s mission to be welcoming, innovative and dedicated to student services.
“This is a space to dream big about teaching. And you can really feel it in the space.”
The CTL is located in the Faubourg Tower, Room FB-620 at 1455 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W. and open for drop-in from Monday to Friday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
To book the Active Learning Classroom for teaching activities, email email@example.com.