Interactive Learning Suite - Dalhousie Building, University of Dundee

The Dalhousie Building at the University of Dundee was designed to stimulate creativity and innovation. The Interactive Learning Suite combined two existing rooms to create a space that houses 156 PCs in a single room.

While at first glance the room looks like it’s primary design goal was for it to be a collaborative learning suite, Douglas Mcleod (Learning Spaces Product Engineer at the University of Dundee) explained that the cluster organisation of the room was not designed specifically to allow for collaboration but instead was intended to allow for a more active style of lecture while providing perfect lines of sight, via monitors positioned around the room, for every student to access the teaching material.

Unique in it’s ‘accessibility first’ design, the Learning Suite also provides pastel coloured glass writing surfaces around the room in specific RAL shades. These were described as ‘space to share ideas’ and to ‘give people a chance to think with a pen’ aiming to encourage ad hoc thinking/explaining between students.

Technology is at the core of this cutting edge space. Driven by WolfVision’s vSolution MATRIX active learning classroom collaboration solution, the technology allos for classroom content to be shared easily between the monitors on the work tables via the university network. One of the primary objectives was that students would be able to switch between their own work and to collaborate with the other students around the table.

The learning suite contains 13 of TeamMate’s WorkZone Collaboration tables, arranged around the room with custom designed numbered screens. Four further WorkZone tables (without screens) are installed in the middle of the space, one of which features a height adjustable feature in line with the equalities act.

Cabling for the tables feeds through the surface to the 19″ rack below, with each table providing enough space for a WolkVision Cynap Core.

The lecturer is able to override personal content on the monitors around the room from the TeamMate Educator Single Lectern that acts as the central teaching desk, as well as being able to override all sound from the work stations.

The space was designed to move away from ‘teaching in rows’ and create a hybrid blend of lecture and seminar. When not timetables, the rooms can be used for group work or independent learning, with students being able to use the room as a ‘drop in’ space.

The suite was a brave move for the University, reducing the teaching capacity in the building to embrace a more interactive and accessible style of teaching but the result has been a truly innovative and impressive teaching and learning space.

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