January 27, 2023

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A new school district at NTNU – Academic Reasoning

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The creation of new learning areas in and around Gløshaugen must be viewed in the context of needs reported by the professional communities themselves, as well as with existing learning areas in and around Gløshaugen.

In January 2021, NTNU, in the capacity of Vice-Chancellor for Education, created a user group to work specifically in areas of learning. The group had to lay out principles for the development of the future learning area in the NTNU campus gathering project. The same principles should also apply to campus development at NTNU. The group consisted of merit lecturers from Gløshaugen and Dragvoll, people associated with Fremtiden’s Technology Studies and Fremtiden’s HUMSAM studies, committed students, and representatives from research in the field of learning, implementation and lesson planning for teaching.

Karina Mathisen is also the Vice Dean of the School of Natural Sciences for Education.

It requires planning for future learning practices. We were still able to agree on ten hypotheses for future learning. We believe in learning with the student at the center, and with the teacher as facilitator and partner in dialogue. We believe in a greater diversity of learning forms, more dialogue-based learning and active student learning that adapts to a heterogeneous student population in both age and background.

Active learning forms for students are particularly well-suited to promoting deep thinking and learning among students. Also important for cohesion and well-being is that students can break away from scheduled instruction and continue dialogue with fellow students at nearby student workplaces. Therefore, the formal learning areas should be close to the informal learning areas.

The principles and hypotheses established by the user group have become an important contribution to the continuation of the work and the development of the central learning area. While designing Brooker’s job description, the campus gathering project was significantly scaled back, but the principles were nonetheless carried over into what now exist as common learning areas distributed in the first draft of the December 2022 build program.

Giving detailed notes on the number and size of rooms for a building program means moving from comprehensive principles to concrete opportunity spaces in plots and buildings. So the number and sizes will be decided later in the process near the start of construction. An important principle is that NTNU’s learning areas are shared, owned by “everyone”, and must be accessible to all academic departments. The creation of new learning areas in and around Gløshaugen must therefore be viewed in the context of needs reported by the professional communities themselves, as well as with existing learning areas in and around Gløshaugen. Another important guideline should be to plan a learning area adapted to the teaching that will take place.

When determining the types of learning areas to be created, rooms with flat floors offer greater flexibility, both for new dialogue-based and versatile teaching methods. This means that students can use the areas for several purposes, such as group work and scheduled teaching. In this way, the area capacity will be used more efficiently. The size of the flat-floored planned areas, and whether there is an upper limit on the size of “good learning”, are thoroughly discussed in the group. R2 in the Science Building, which accommodates 165 students, is in high demand after today and certainly not everyone who wants to use this learning area. We therefore look forward to the results of ongoing research by NTNU’s own staff on the use of, among other things, Øya’s new learning area, which accommodates up to 250 students.

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