Leeds University Business School Creating Collaborative Environments to Foster Learning
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The University has a leading, full-service business school, regularly world ranked by the Financial Times, QS and The Economist, and one of a small number of schools worldwide to be triple accredited by AACSB, AMBA and EQUIS.
To make an exceptional impact on business and society globally through leadership in research and teaching.
In making an impact in teaching the University has set a policy that no more traditional lecture theatres will be developed. The Business School wanted to become even more creative and flexible with the style of teaching offered and turned to trusted integrator Universal AV for help.
Through initial consultancy collaborative rooms on both a large and small scale were discussed to meet the Business Schools brief of innovative/functional and flexible spaces, encompassing front of class teaching and centre of the room teaching. A real shift from traditional lecture and seminar styles to a facilitated learning environment.
Two separate rooms with differing needs were to be specified. One was for G.07 a collaboration suite which would host collaborative tables with fixed displays, and an additional collaboration room which was to push the boundaries further of how lessons could be structured. This was to host fixed interactive screens with a more informal seating cluster to promote the use of touch.
Both rooms would host the traditional teaching podium at the front, as the rooms had recently been renovated a few months prior with new front of room lecterns and projection solutions. Additional reasoning for hosting a more traditional space for the academic to stand at came from feedback that not all academics like teaching from the middle of the collaborative rooms as they do not like teaching with their backs to half of the class.
Universal AV identified the Clevertouch screen as being the most appropriate screen to meet all the levels of functionality the University required. Demonstrations of the solution were carried out at the Sahara showroom in Leeds. This was then followed on with product loan so the screen could be tested by the academics before any decisions were made.
The University placed the loan Clevertouch Screen in a busy foyer area where academics could stress test the product and its functionality. Workshops were held to encourage the use of the screen and training provided. The University took the stance that unless they carried out these test and promoted the solutions through training how would they ever achieve buy in.
Responses to this method were unprecedented with such praise and feedback from users on the functionality of the screen, the fact it was so much more than an interactive whiteboard. Its simplicity when it came to use and connectivity was seen as a major plus.
Installation and Training
The installation took place over summer 2018.
Catherine Wilkinson, Enhancement and Innovation Manager, Leeds University Business School added; “The installation was fantastic and went so smoothly, the project team were really responsive and adapted to changes as we went as well as suggested tweaks to be made to ensure that the solution was easy to use. The Project Manager on site tweaked the programming to be color coordinated so any academic at the front could easily switch between the same color stations. This ensured it was so easy to use and made it even more powerful.
The Enhancement and Innovation team are responsible for getting buy in, training and encouraging the use of the technology. Training was provided to all those using the spaces, confidence has been built in the technology through this program, academics are eager to embrace the technology and engage students in new methods of learning.
The Enhancement and Innovation team embed tools/technologies where appropriate into their own practices to help expose staff to the technologies in a familiar setting to encourage staff awareness and engagement. So impressed were we with the Clevertouch Screen and Smart Markers, we had a screen installed in our office and a dry wipe table so we could collate and collaborate in an everyday, every real environment. Other offices are desperate to have the same technology now they have seen how it can work and enhance meetings and creative thinking.”
The Business School is delighted with the results of the installation. The spaces are very popular amongst Business school staff and students and are in high demand. Other areas in the University are looking to implement a similar model.
The Clevertouch Screens are regarded highly due to the writing experience and detail that can be achieved for graphs, which is not always possible on interactive screens. Academics from around the University are trying to schedule classes to be held in these rooms with students preferring this teaching and learning method.
Leeds University Business School
““We went to Universal AV Services for assistance in specifying what was needed in the rooms as they had undertaken consultancy previously for the University and specified how collaborative learning suites could be adopted.””
Facilities Manager, Leeds University Business School, The University of Leeds
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