In today’s blog, I want to share with our readers the latest from the Mosaic Initiative: the Learning-Space-Feedback-Guide. Recently, Merve Basdogan and I developed the Learning Space Feedback Guide (or LSF Guide) to “guide” our many stakeholders through the multi-step process of gathering and sharing faculty and student feedback (or data) on our learning spaces. In this blog, we share what inspired us to create the LSF Guide and our recommendations for how you might wish to use it at your own institution.
What inspired the Learning Space Feedback Guide?
The Mosaic Initiative has gathered responses from faculty and students in a variety of ways in the past, but, with the LSF Guide, we wanted to create a consistent, comprehensive, and systematic approach to the process of obtaining user insights on our growing number and increasing variety of classroom spaces.
Our motivation for the LSF Guide was four-fold:
- A growing number of new learning spaces across Indiana University – New spaces (and new kinds of spaces) raised questions of how users were experiencing them. We increasingly found ourselves with a growing need to better understand our changing spaces and transforming user practices.
- A desire to scale and systematize our feedback practices – With so many new spaces, across many campuses, and engaging with multiple stakeholders, we hoped to bring some consistency to our attempts to learn more about our classrooms.
- A need to engage in research, in some cases, and evaluation in others – We have different user information needs for different spaces at different times. We hoped to create a process that looked similar for both approaches.
- A goal to include multiple perspectives – Many stakeholders who needed to know more about what was happening in our classrooms did not have a background on gathering feedback from users. They wished to be included in research or evaluation projects. In some cases, they were interested in leading their own efforts.
Merve and I wanted to find a way to make getting feedback on rooms, whether for research or evaluation purposes, a more intentional process for our colleagues. To do this, we chose ten clearly defined prompts to guide colleagues through discussions and decision-making. The ten prompts support considered collection of feedback (or data).
How to use the LSF Guide:
To use the LSF Guide, first identify the space you want to learn more about. Then identify the stakeholders who should be involved in gathering and reading the feedback. We encourage you to consider multiple offices or departments to gain new perspectives and buy-in for future learning spaces-related projects. When you and your colleagues meet, follow the prompts as a group to collaboratively design your own approach to gathering feedback.
It is important to highlight that there is a key decision that you and your colleagues will need to make with the first prompt: Will you be engaging in research or evaluation?
If you are not sure which path you are taking, consider this question: do you plan to conduct an investigation for future publication and presentation?
If YES, then you need to obtain Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval at your institution before moving forward with engaging participants.
If your answer is NO and you only intend to assess or evaluate the current status of a service (e.g., greenroom), a product (e.g., touch screen monitors, Catchbox), or functionality of a classroom (e.g., collaboration) in your institution/department/class, then, you can move to the next prompt without the need to attain IRB approval as long as the privacy of the subjects and confidentiality of the data is protected (which you will address in prompt #7).
Note that if you choose to pursue evaluation and later desire to do a research study based on the previously collected evaluation and assessment data, IRB approval may be required before releasing the data for a new project.
Our recommendations about using the LSF Guide:
After piloting the guide within our own team, we have a few recommendations to use the suggestions for you as you attempt to use the LSF Guide.
- Read the LSF Guide before you meet: Encourage your colleagues to read over the prompts prior to your first meeting so that everyone is familiar with the questions and issues you will need to address. Invite everyone to bring their questions about the process to the meeting.
- Meet together: We recommend, when possible, that stakeholders meet together in the room on which you want to gather feedback. Another option is to meet virtually with images or recorded videos of the classroom to guide the discussion.
- Plan for more than one session: Most of the prompts will likely be easy to address in one meeting. However, some prompts such as feedback analysis or sharing the findings address specifics that might require further reflection and an additional meeting.
- Enjoy the conversation: Addressing the prompts in the LSF Guide is a great way to open conversation about topics related to learning spaces and teaching and learning beyond getting feedback on a classroom. Enjoy these talks with your colleagues and let them lead you to new research or teaching-related collaborations.
What is next?
We at Indiana University are already using the LSF Guide for several of our spaces. We are pursuing both research and evaluation projects with the Guide and we hope to have some stories of our own to share soon.
We encourage you to check out the Learning Space Feedback Guide and let us know how your teams are using it to shape your own efforts to collect feedback from faculty and students.
Tracey Birdwell, Ph.D., serves as the Program Director of the Mosaic Initiative at Indiana University. She leads a University-wide initiative to support active learning in all IU classrooms. She has published her work in EDUCAUSE Quarterly, EDUCAUSE Review, Innovative Higher Education, The Journal of Learning Spaces, Campus Technology, the Journal on Centers for Teaching and Learning, and The Conversation. Tracey earned her Ph.D. in American History from the University of Delaware. Follow her on Twitter @TraceyBirdwell.
Merve Basdogan is currently an Instructional Systems Technology Ph.D. candidate at Indiana University. Her research focuses on exploring, understanding, and supporting strategies for learners’ engagement in both online and face-to-face contexts with an emphasis on personalized and technology-supported learning design. Merve is currently working for IU’s Mosaic Active Learning Initiative to research active and flexible learning. Follow her on Twitter @MerveBasdogan.
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