Design Principles in collaboration with Innovation hub logo

Extracted from Innovation Hub April 2019 Report

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Design principles are guidelines derived from the knowledge of researchers and practitioners to help organize and prioritize design features. They are useful for weighing the benefits of potential designs against one another by offering a unified set of criteria and come from a place of empathy for the user and their needs. The core features of future designs should draw inspiration from these principles, established through this process and with the contributions of staff in Accessibility Services and Learning Space Managements Classroom Technology Support.

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Accessibility Comes First

Designing with accessibility in mind creates classrooms where everyone can access course content in the way that best suits them. This benefits instructors and students with identified needs and those without.

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Individuals, Not Averages

Students and instructors feel welcomed and recognized when they see their specific needs reflected in classroom design. In cases where this is not possible, create opportunities for them to bring their own solutions.

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Instructors as Partners

Frequent and open communication with instructors allows us to design and assign classrooms effectively, to adapt to changes in course structure or teaching strategies, and to establish best practices on a space by space basis.

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Consistency Builds Trust

Instructors who can depend on classroom infrastructure to deliver a consistent experience have the confidence to experiment with their teaching approach. Without this trust, innovative classroom technology often goes unused.

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The Right Room for the Right Course

LSM has an array of classrooms that many instructors are eager to teach in, but they often find themselves assigned to spaces that don't suit their needs. Effective room assignment is as important as any individual classroom feature.

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Accessible Classroom Information

Everyone benefits when information about our classrooms and their equipment is readily available and easily searchable. Letting instructors know certain approaches can be accommodated is important but introducing them to possibilities of which they were previously unaware can be revolutionary.

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Purpose-Driven Design

Rather than offering generalist spaces suited to no particular class structure or teaching style, specialized spaces make the best use of available resources. The design of a specialized space is intuitive and requires little additional preparation or modification on the part of the instructor.

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Seamless Designs Empower

When students, instructors, and instructional technology are seamlessly integrated, classroom features move to the background and the lesson takes center stage. This allows for instructors to be supported by the design of the space, and for students to be better connected to the learning experience and improve interpersonal connections.

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Movability Supports Learning

Students and instructors engage with class content physically as much as they do mentally. Whether this means rotating groups in a classroom, instructors ascending the stairs in a lecture hall to answer a question, or students scribbling notes at their desk, classroom space should facilitate moving bodies.

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Emotional Stakes Matter

When considering the emotional stakes for students, staff, and instructors, needs can be recognized and met. Is it difficult to connect a laptop to the projector? Are seats close together in long rows? What emotions might be felt by the user in these situations? By recognizing that emotions are linked to class design and a user's routine, solutions can be considered for a more accessible space.