Space to Learn

I have spent much of today working in the Teaching and Learning Commons at the University of Canberra.

It is a fascinating open space that has been available on the campus for two weeks. Working in an open space provides wonderful opportunities to engage with others and be part of a wider story of experience. It gave me a very practical sense of the observation that:

The new learning spaces incorporate technologies, engage the learner, creating new learning possibilities, enhancing achievements and extending interactions with local and global communities. (ICT Task Force)

I was there for a discussion about a PhD thesis.
Earlier this week there was a summit in Sydney to discuss redefinitions of learning spaces. The program explored “the impact physical space has on the outcomes of learning in an educational environment” and included presentations and case studies:

  • Innovation: the intersection of pedagogy, technology and design in practice (Phillip Long, Director, Centre for Educational Innovation and Technology, University of Queensland)
  • Macquarie University’s Principles for Learning Space Design (Judyth Sachs, Deputy Vice Chancellor and Provost, Macquarie University)
  • RMIT Capital Works Program (Colin Fudge, Pro Vice-Chancellor & Vice President, Design and Social Context, RMIT)
  • UTS – ‘Sticky Campus’ Masterplan concept (Glen Rabbitt, Director FMU Operations, University of Technology Sydney)
  • New Generation, Student Centred Learning Spaces (Adrian Stanic, Director, Lyons Architecture)
  • Co-creation and Innovation (Paul Duldig, Vice President of Services and Resources, The University of Adelaide)
  • The Physical Components of Learning Spaces (Brian Griffin, Architect)
  • Facilitating a Learning Community  (Christina Coleiro, Senior Project Manager – Mawson Lakes, University of South Australia, Dominic Marafioti, Campus Facilities Manager – Mawson Lakes, University of South Australia, Megan Antcliff, Architect, Woods Bagot)
  • Overview for Learning Space Design (Kenn Fisher, Associate Professor, Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, University of Melbourne)
  • Physical, Blending and Virtual Learning Spaces (Mike Keppell, Director, Flexible Learning Institute, Charles Sturt University)
  • Responding to change: developing spaces to learn (Rob Allen, Deputy Vice Chancellor, AUT University, New Zealand)
  • QUT – Developing collaborative and modern learning spaces (Geoff Mitchell, Director of Learning Environments and Technology Services, Gordon Howell, Manager, Learning Environments Support, QUT)
  • Design Principles for Mobile Learning (Tony Herrington, Director – Centre for eLearning, Curtin University)
  • Space Planning (Geoff Hanmer, Architect, ARINA Consulting)
  • Reimagining Teaching for Technology Enriched Learning Spaces (Trish Andrews, Lecturer, University of Queensland)
  • Australian Film Television and Radio School – Education provider for media studies (Joe Agius, Director, Cox Architects, Daniel Conroy, Facilities Manager, Australian Film, Television and Radio School)
  • Labshare Australia – Remote Laboratories (David Lowe, Project Director, Labshare Australia)
  • University of Sydney – Faculty of Law Building (Richard Francis-Jones, Design Director, FJMT Architects)

I am hopeful that the new space at the University of Canberra is true to the philosophy and practice of a Common, that it becomes a vibrant space in which to learn and to gain a better sense of each other as learners.

Photo Credit
Common Land


  1. […] Last week I had the opportunity to visit Ballarat to discuss Edgeless Challenges and Opportunities. I have been thinking a great deal about learning spaces and the function (rather than the form) of the university of late. In part these thoughts have been stimulated by the University of Canberra’s development of teaching and learning commons. […]


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