Work starts on our new Flexible Learning Innovation Space
21 Jul 2022
We’re excited to announce that work has begun to develop the Flexible Learning Innovation Space in Prospect House
Extensive engagement with our students and colleagues on the Flexible Learning strategy has shown that there is a real need for more spaces on campus where staff, students and external partners can collaborate, familiarise themselves with new technology and trial innovative teaching approaches.
Together with the Estates team, Flexible Learning got to work as soon as possible to find a suitable location on campus. Prospect House, which sits between the National Graphene Institute and Kilburn Building, was ideal to pilot new kinds of spaces that students and staff have been asking for.
The Flexible Learning Innovation Space will empower students and staff to engage with flexible and technology-enhanced educational experiences. It will be a place where colleagues can develop and apply new methods of teaching and learning, as well as promoting lifelong learning.
Work to fit out the building will take place over the next six months and is being delivered by the Estates team.
A snapshot of ideas for the Flexible Learning Innovation Space
Commuter student lounge: This space will offer commuter students flexible spaces to study, relax and work together between classes, as well as kitchen facilities and quiet areas, giving them a place to call their own on campus.
Lifelong learning suite: This space will host lifelong learning activities to meet the growing demand for upskilling and reskilling throughout a learner’s life. Reconfigurable furniture means this area is perfectly suited for collaboration and networking.
XR space: Extended Reality (Augmented, Mixed and Virtual Reality) has the potential to transform how we learn, from medical training to laboratory preparation, game development and taking virtual field trips. In the VR suite, students and staff will be able to ‘learn by doing’ in a simulated real-life environment using VR headsets.
Hy-Flex space: This space will help us to explore the challenges and opportunities of simultaneously teaching on-campus and online students, while also creating rich interactive learning experiences. It features a presentation space at the centre of the room, and group working tables equipped with conference microphones and cameras, enabling learners to collaborate with others remotely.
Emulated teaching spaces: The Emulated Lecture Theatre and Teaching Space will allow colleagues to familiarise themselves with the technology setups that appear in lecture theatres and flat space teaching rooms across campus.
Digital Learning Service: The building will also host offices for some colleagues from the new Digital Learning Service. This team will cater to staff that want to develop advanced digital learning skills, or enhance their understanding of digital and online pedagogy, as well as supporting the creation of digital resources. In addition, there will be office space for some media services colleagues, who will support the use of technology and equipment throughout the building.
Take a look at the floorplans
You can view simplified floorplans for the Flexible Learning Innovation Space on our padlet board. Please feel free to leave us a comment if there’s anything you think we’re missing, or something that would make the space work even better for our students and colleagues. You can also email us at FlexibleLearning@manchester.ac.uk.
We will keep you updated as work progresses and can’t wait to welcome you into the Flexible Learning Innovation Space soon.