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Creating diverse, modern learning spaces

Renovations to develop diverse and modern learning spaces will soon begin in Mackintosh-Corry Hall.

The revitalization of the southern wing of the building – home to the Department of Geography and Planning – marks the second year of Queen’s multi-year commitment to improving teaching and learning environments on campus. The university is investing $1 million per year for three years to upgrade centrally-booked classrooms and other learning spaces.

[Mackintosh-Corry Hall - south wing]
The south wing of Mackintosh-Corry Hall will undergo renovations, including the development of two active learning classrooms and a renewed student street. (University Communications)

A focus of the Mackintosh-Corry Hall project is to provide a more diverse range of learning opportunities by creating two new active learning classrooms, renewing other classrooms, as well as enlarging the hallways and creating informal learning spaces, says Peter Wolf, Associate Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning).

“We’re basically renovating part of the wing with a recognition that there really aren’t many informal learning spaces in this building, which is a major classroom complex where these types of spaces really are needed,” he says. “We also need more flexible and active learning classrooms and we are doing this by consolidating classrooms that were less used and configured in traditional ways and reworking them to provide more active learning.”

The two new 49-seat active learning classrooms will be constructed in Rooms D201 and D205. A temporary partition between the rooms can be removed to create a 98-seat classroom as well, Mr. Wolf explains. Other classrooms will undergo more minor renovations while the hallways will be widened and informal study areas will be created.

The focus of the multi-year commitment, Mr. Wolf says, is on renewing large classrooms and increasing the proportion of active learning and flexible classrooms.

“The commitment has really given us a tremendous start for what we need to do for our classrooms, to make sure that the classrooms enable the diversity of pedagogies that are being used and are in demand across all disciplines,” he says “We will continue to need lecture spaces and we also need other kinds of spaces. The goal of this project is to renew the classroom database while at the same time making sure that the classroom spaces and technologies provide the diverse contexts that our students need to learn the diverse things they are learning.”

Another important aspect of the overall project is to make learning spaces across campus more accessible.

“A key part of a good learning environment is a fully accessible learning environment,” Mr. Wolf points out. “That includes the technology, layout, stairs and ramps and lighting and good air.”

In the initiative’s first year, major renovations were conducted at Duncan McArthur Hall, including the main auditorium where new lighting, seating and presentation technologies were introduced.

Other classroom projects have taken place in Walter Light Hall, Theological Hall, Kingston Hall and Ellis Hall, where the first three active learning classrooms were introduced in 2014.

More information about active learning classrooms at Queen’s is available online