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WVU celebrates collaborative learning center with open house event

The Steelcase Active Learning Center will officially open at West Virginia University, Thursday, October 31, 3 p.m. in the Health and Education building, Evansdale campus. The center was funded by Steelcase Education and is valued at $67,000.

According to the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences’ faculty, it ideally suits courses that emphasize collaborating and cooperative learning approaches. “The overarching goal here remains our increased capacity to engage students more actively in their own learning and to move toward interactive pedagogical approaches that better serve today’s learners,” Sean Bulger, professor, physical education and kinesiology, and associate dean for graduate and online education said.

According to Bulger, during transitional use of the space, student response was extremely favorable, and students appreciated the flexibility and ownership that the space afforded them.

The Active Learning Center is an area that fosters productivity. The vast amount of resources offered allow students to engage in new ways of learning and working with peers. The design of the space is welcoming and fun. This is a perfect place for group projects, class meetings and much more,” Meredith Robinson, CPASS student, said.

Faculty member Sam Zizzi, professor, sport and exercise psychology, and associate dean for research, likes the flexibility that the area provides.

“It will be fun to visit the ALC with my senior capstone class in sport and exercise psychology. This course is built around small group projects where students learn the ins and outs of conducting a research project in sport and exercise psychology,” said Zizzi.

“The space fits this class perfectly, allowing each group to have functional space to do their own work and then we can report out to the large class using the small and large whiteboards. So far, the student feedback has been positive. They love the space,” he added.  

WVU was just one of 12 projects awarded out of close to 1000 applicants in this grant cycle.

“We are fortunate to be moving this forward. The renovation involved the conversion of a traditional computer lab with fixed seating to a 32-seat collaborative classroom better suited for the use of mobile technologies,” James Wyant, assistant professor, physical education and kinesiology, said.

The signature space highlights all desks and chairs on wheels, allowing for the use of multiple classroom configurations; personal whiteboards for each student with multiple display options on wall hangers, new touchscreen dual monitors and laser LCD projectors at teaching station; 20 laptop, mobile computer lab with surface pros, keyboards and digital pens; thread system installation that allows students to plug-in and charge their mobile devices in floor outlets; and enhanced wireless connectivity in the space to meet increased demand.

Phase two will occur over winter break with the addition of ceiling mounted cameras/microphone drops for distance education and software that will enable learners to share their screens via the LCD projectors.

View a timelapse of the Active Learning Center's construction

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