The inaugural Learning Innovation Week held in Sydney late last year included a conference to investigate current trends and drivers for change in university campus development. The overwhelming message I took away was that students’ changing demands for the learning experience, combined with evolving methods of teaching (pedagogies), is causing a significant rethink of university campus design across the globe. Edmiston Jones GBB have contributed to this evolution working as we do in the City of Wollongong and having the privilege of contributing to the university development over the past 35 years.
With the explosion of information technology, the access that students have to live-streaming of lectures, teaching material and their desire to learn this way, has come the realisation that students don’t need to attend a bricks and mortar campus to gain the information they need to complete their courses. There is however a beneficial social, intellectual and cultural exchange that comes from interactions that take place in the campus environment.
The importance of bringing the student cohort together in the campus environment and maintaining their desire to be there has been recognised and led to the concept of a “sticky campus”. Students are encouraged to stay on campus by providing informal learning spaces, access to information technology, diverse student services and even the odd coffee shop. In effect, the campus becomes a 24/7 place for students to live and learn.
Consistent with changing learning methods and campus life is the concept of the “flipped classroom”. Students view video lectures off campus prior to attending classes where the work involves exercises, projects or discussions in an informal and collaborative learning environment. This places emphasis on flexible, informal learning spaces that facilitates interactions between teachers and students to encourage, explore and reinforce learning.
Edmiston Jones GBB has had the opportunity to work with the University of Wollongong in recent years to create learning spaces that cater for the changing face of education. Projects include the Early Start Facility and Sciences Teaching Facility as well as providing additional student services such as the on-campus IGA supermarket. We continue to be excited by the opportunities this evolving campus provides for its students and the Illawarra.