The rationale for this site is based on the notion that many of the learning environments currently provided by UK higher education need to change. The traditional teaching room still exists in many places, it has an outdated format that focuses on the teacher, acting as the ‘sage on a stage’. Usually that means being behind a lectern, where they have all the power in their relationship with the students, who are often sat in rows passively receiving information. Many universities have recognised this and are indeed designing and developing spaces for students that reflect this need to improve.
The last thirty years have witnessed major changes and developments in higher education, with new approaches to learning and teaching. It is driven largely by a new pedagogy that is designed to move away from the traditional style of lecture-based teaching that has been delivered for hundreds of years. This didactic method of tutor-centred teaching with little scope for interaction has been shown to be found wanting. We need to consider new types of collaborative learning and move from dependency to independence and inter-dependency. Students are saying they want to learn differently, partly to reflect the varying learning styles that we as individuals possess, but also to encompass the enormous technological changes in modern society that impact on our daily lives. We also need to consider the collaborative problem-solving and communication skills that employers say they require of students. Our university campuses should be a place for students to take ownership of, to feel part of the life there and thereby be more able to actively engage with their own learning experience.
The site is partly a research journal from site visits to other institutions, as well as pages that showcase projects that I have been actively involved in at the London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London, University of Birmingham and City, University of London. There is also a link to events looking Learning Environments as well as image of spaces that could be used or as inspiration for social studying.
The views expressed within these pages are personal and reflect the information and impressions that I have gathered after each visit. If there any factual inaccuracies or you would like to contact me, please write by e-mail.
I hope you find the site useful.
James Rutherford – MA, FHEA
If you would like to get in touch, please use this form