Investigating the dynamics of an integrated learning space at James Cook University

Anders, Dana, Calder, Alan, Elder, Kate, and Logan, Alice (2009) Investigating the dynamics of an integrated learning space at James Cook University. In: Radcliffe, David, Wilson , Hamilton, and Tibbetts, Belinda, (eds.) Learning Spaces in Higher Education: positive outcomes by design. Proceedings of the Next Generation Learning Spaces 2008 Colloquium. University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia, pp. 39-44.

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The design of learning environment space and the nature of peer and staff interactions are important factors influencing successful independent learning. As University campuses evolve, student precincts must be planned to facilitate student engagement, social interaction and supportive learning communities. All key academic support services were integrated in a purpose-built building on the Cairns campus of James Cook University in 1999. The building houses library resources, IT support, disability and student equity resources, educational developers, and a Learning Centre that serves as a base for learning support and student mentor program. Specific learning spaces also include an InfoHelp desk, Learning Advice Corner, group study rooms, open space collaborative areas and individual workstations. This paper investigates how students use the various learning spaces available to them and explores the different levels of peer and staff interactions that occur. The research draws on the ‘mosaic’ approach of assessing academic support centres advocated by Kalikoff (2001). In this instance it includes tracking and observing students; analysis of traffic flow and computer login data; and text analysis of structured interviews with students. A picture emerges of complex interpersonal interactions, movement to specific learning spaces according to need, and most importantly, an abundance of independent peer learning communities. The paper urges all stakeholders within such integrated learning environments to continue to experiment, be responsive to the way students ‘vote with their feet’ and continually look for creative and flexible ways to support student academic achievement and development.

Item ID: 3238
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-1-86499-943-3
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Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2009 03:55
FoR Codes: 13 EDUCATION > 1301 Education Systems > 130103 Higher Education @ 100%
SEO Codes: 93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9301 Learner and Learning > 930103 Learner Development @ 100%
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