As the Mosaic Initiative approaches is five-year anniversary, I’ve begun to reflect on how far we’ve come in supporting innovative classroom design, research, and active learning in all Indiana University (IU) classrooms. In the early days of the Mosaic Initiative, we led a lot of workshops focused on helping faculty become acquainted with Indiana University’s first active learning classrooms. We do more one-on-one and asynchronous support for faculty as we have evolved our support model. However, when I think back about the planning for these early workshops, I most remember facing two challenges:
- developing strategies for how to support large numbers of faculty teaching in classrooms with distinct designs with different features.
- creating a plan for how to customize faculty support for instructors teaching in any type of Mosaic classroom.
My first goal was to discover an ideal ratio of scale to customization that would allow the Mosaic Initiative to address the unique needs of diverse faculty for a growing number of Mosaic classrooms.
Balancing Scale and Customization
In those first workshops, I created a handout that was the first example of the balance of scale and customization that would typify the Mosaic Initiative’s faculty support efforts.
If you consider these three examples, you can see that I created the handout specifically for configurable classrooms, spaces with furniture that can be arranged in many different ways. The handout’s purpose was to help faculty choose the configurations that worked best for them and to give them a resource they could refer to in the future. It also served as a series of prompts for activities during the first workshops on these Mosaic classrooms.
Scaling Support for Configuring Spaces
Looking at the handouts from three different room designs, you can see the same format for each (images from the room, space for personal observation under each image, space for recording ideas about how to arrange spaces, and literature for further review). A consistent format meant that I could reproduce it (with minor changes) for a variety of rooms. For example, the classroom known as AD 1000 is the only space like it at Indiana University. In order to create a handout specifically for this room design, I was able to use the same format as the GISB classrooms handout (which both support multiple classrooms each) to offer support on this singular design.
Scaling Support via Blogging
Another way we further scaled support for configuring classrooms was to turn the classroom handouts – often only seen as part of a workshop – into their own, individual blogs.
Here are the three examples from the handouts above:
In transforming the handout into blogs, we could reach out to instructors who might not normally attend a workshop or request one-on-one help. How do instructors gain access to these blogs? Twice a year, all instructors who teach in configurable classrooms receive links to the appropriate configuration blogs via email. In this way, the Mosaic Initiative is not only scaling our original efforts to facilitate rearranging classrooms, but also reaching out to new audiences, both in person and online.
In creating a standard format for a handout for configurable classrooms, the Mosaic Initiative now has content that can be amended for different formats and shared in different faculty development engagements such as workshops, one-on-one consultations, and web resources.
How do you scale your efforts to support active learning classrooms? How do you specialize support to acknowledge the unique features within each of your classrooms? Please share your ideas below.
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