Are you teaching in an active learning classroom, such as Beckman Hall 201, Keck Center 130, Leatherby Libraries B14, or Smith Hall 206? If so, you may be wondering how you can use the technology-enabled space to support active learning. We asked Chapman instructors and students for examples of how they use our active learning classrooms, and below is what they shared with us.
“I teach MATH 203 (Introduction to Statistics), MATH 303 (Biostatistics), and FSN 508 (Statistics for Food Scientists) throughout the academic year.
When the students work on problem sets and textbook exercises, each group is given different data that each member of the group needs to see and analyze, and having a space to collaborate on the statistical analysis is great. Hence, it is great to have tables that can hold up to 5 members and a screen/monitor where a student can project their work to show the group.”
-Dr. Criselda Toto Pacioles
“I have had one or two instructors who use TVs at each table to encourage in-class group assignments where each table will be working together to draw a diagram or code something together on the table TV using AirPlay.
I found those exercises super helpful for me because it allows me to practice the skills we learn in lecture, which reinforces it better for me rather than re-reading lecture notes. I think small group work like that also helps me because sometimes it lets me discuss concepts with fellow students, and they explain it to me in a different way than the professor that helps me understand it more. I think having the tables in pre-formed groups is nice because it removes that awkward barrier of creating groups on your own where students can sometimes get left out if they are shy or afraid to talk to the people around them.”
-Briana Craig, BS in Computer Science ’24 and MS EECS ’25
“I’ve done some activities where students are solving different conceptual problems that involve mathematical calculations on the different whiteboards and other activities where students are asked to concept map or diagram out different ideas on the whiteboards in the room and then do a ‘gallery walk’ to view other groups’ work.”
-Dr. Jeremy Hsu
In addition to using the physical whiteboards, students can project and collaborate on digital boards, such as Padlet.
“In my philosophy classes, I leverage the unique features of active learning classrooms to enhance student engagement and critical thinking, and to help prepare students for written assessments, especially weekly online discussion board posts. As these posts go on to form the basis of my students’ final papers, active learning classrooms play an essential foundational role in all major forms of assessment in my classes.
Each week, I present my students with a thought-provoking prompt related to that week’s reading, focusing on controversial philosophical topics to challenge students’ thinking. Following my lecture on the reading, students form small groups of 4-5 to discuss the prompt collaboratively. During these group discussions, I move from group to group, sitting down with students to provide personalized feedback. The design of active learning classrooms allows for this close interaction, contributing to a more tailored and impactful learning experience. After the in-class group discussions, students submit their individual responses to the prompts on Canvas discussion boards. These graded responses reflect the success of the preceding group activities. The interactive nature extends to the online platform, where students are also required to provide constructive feedback on their peers’ responses to the prompts. This additional layer of engagement helps them refine their critical thinking skills and encourages a collaborative learning community.”
-Dr. Kelvin McQueen
“In the pods, small groups of students can share their papers on the local screen, allowing the small group to workshop the paper – focusing on specific components. This in-real-time editorial work is invaluable, as students see the changes – a word choice, an organizational change, a syntax concern – can make in the communicating of an idea. Student work is exponentially improved when they a) share it with their peers beyond just reading it aloud and b) play with the paper on the spot, while their peers are there to see how workshopping really WORKS.”
-Dr. Jan Osborn
“I’ve also had groups run simulations where they’re able to use the individual TV screens for their group and analyze the simulations, and similarly had groups come up with mini-presentations in the class where the TV screens facilitate the groupwork.”
-Dr. Jeremy Hsu
How can students use the screens in active learning classrooms?
When the instructor selects Collaboration Mode on the AV panel, students can share content from their devices to the monitors at their tables.
Students can connect a laptop using the cable provided at the table or use AirPlay Screen Mirroring on an Apple device to share their device’s screen on the monitor.