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Our Active Learning Classrooms

The dry erase wall is one of students' favorite features in the room.

The dry erase wall — which students can use to collaborate and brainstorm ideas, and instructors can use to illustrate concepts — is one of students’ favorite features in LA-206.

The Department of English is dedicated to student success by featuring student-centered, active learning lab classrooms.

Active Spaces to SCALE-UP Learning

Based on extensive pedagogical research, our lab spaces use what is called a SCALE-UP model (Student-Centered Active Learning Environment with Upside-down Pedagogies). SCALE-UP classrooms put students first, by emphasizing active learning opportunities for students, with a focus on hands-on application of materials and concepts. Decades of research has shown that SCALE-UP learning environments:

  • Help students exceed final grade expectations.
  • Affect teaching-learning activities, even when the instructor attempts to hold these activities constant.
  • Are not conducive to a lecture-based approach; student performance improves when instructors move to active, student-centered teaching methods.
  • Are perceived in a largely positive light by students and instructors, but some adjustment of teaching techniques is necessary (Univ. of Minnesota, 2016).

Our research so far shows that we may be the first university to implement a SCALE-UP learning environment in an English Department. Similar spaces have been designed at institutions such as North Carolina State University, Clemson University, University of Minnesota, McGill University, Stanford University, University of Missouri-St. Louis, and Georgia Tech, among others. The English Department at Boise State is one of the first such spaces at Boise State and possibly the first English Department worldwide to implement a SCALE-UP model.

Liberal Arts Room 206: Collaborative Learning Space

Students enjoy the couch space in the newly remodeled LA-206.

Students enjoy the couch space in the newly remodeled Collaborative Learning Space.

The Collaborative Learning Space was designed to bring students together to collaboratively imagine, create, and write.

This room features five interactive workstations, with big-screen TVs and Solstice devices that allow for wifi streaming from phones, tablets, and laptops. A sixth table and a larger TV and Solstice device allows for instructors to directly stream learning content to an entire class at once.

The space also boasts a large, comfortable couch with a coffee table and additional stools, as well as three large mobile whiteboards. The north end of the space features a dry erase wall, where students and faculty may further collaborate and write together. The room also has a fully-equipped laptop cart, with laptops available for checkout.

We designed the room with accessibility and equity in mind. The table closest to the door  is height-adjustable; and we purchased a suite of chairs that both have arms (to assist those who need help standing) and without (to assist those who need a larger space to sit). All of our decisions were carefully and mindfully determined to ensure that the space could be used equally and fairly.

Liberal Arts Room 204

As our more traditional computer lab classroom, Liberal Arts 204 features eight desktop computers, plenty of whiteboard space, and a Clevertouch Plus¬†— a large touchscreen monitor which encourages immersive and hands-on learning.

For More Information

If you have questions about the English Department active learning classrooms, please contact Maya Duratovic at mayaduratovic@boisestate.edu.