In complex organisations, where design agency (the ability to make design changes) is distributed widely amongst many loosely-connected people, we can achieve more together if we begin with a well stated, well understood, easily applicable, set of design values around which our efforts may be unified.

Introduction

The spaces and tools within our Extended Classroom have been selected and configured to support teachers and students in designing effective teaching and learning. We aim to enable learning that is engaged, active, connected and authentic. When you design your own use of the Extended Classroom, you should focus upon how your choices create designs that fit with how your students need to be engaged, active, connected and authentic for your intended outcomes and your discipline.

Engaged learning

Students are focussed on learning activities – behaviourally, socially, cognitively and emotionally – and are motivated to learn. For example, you can use online learning tools to help the students continually orient and reorient themselves as a module proceeds over a period of time. Students arrive at events knowing exactly what to expect and what is expected of them. The Online Module Handbook recipe is one way to help with this.

Active learning

Students actively create and test ideas, models, practices, organisations etc. to develop their understanding and capabilities. Learning by making and testing is common to all disciplines. Students in philosophy make and test arguments. Students in maths make and test equations. They might do these activities in dedicated workshop time. Or they might be doing them as a way of actively understanding a lecture as it is happening. Physical and kinaesthetic aspects may also be added to make learning more active, so as to help students resist passivity. There are techniques and tools in our Extended Classroom that help us to do this more effectively and more collaboratively, such as the Peer Learning Cycle recipe.

Connected learning

Students understand how learning activities, resources, people, real world contexts, assessment tasks and intended learning outcomes are interconnected, within, between and beyond learning activities, modules, programmes and disciplines; students can see how they relate to graduate outcomes, issues and approaches within and beyond the discipline; students can develop effective connections of their own in all of these dimensions; students can use this connectivity to enhance their learning and development. At University level, the interconnections present in directed and self-directed learning may become overwhelmingly complex. They might also be difficult to spot and to make use of. Extended Classroom tools and techniques, such as the VLE and features like Talis Aspire reading lists, may be used to make the connections more visible. Tools like Mindjet Mindmanager may be used by students to build their own maps of interconnectivity.

Authentic learning

Learning activities and assessment tasks are consistent with and clearly contribute to intended learning outcomes; where appropriate, activities replicate conditions found in the world of work; intended learning outcomes build towards graduate outcomes that are appropriate for the discipline and the students. For example, it would be “inauthentic” to teach and assess theatre skills solely through the medium of the lecture. We also need to be sure that teaching is consistent with our important ethical values. However, achieving authenticity requires a richer repertoire of techniques, spaces and tools, so that we can design activities to fit needs. The Extended Classroom includes many different styles – use this web site to find out what is possible and to make informed choices.