Orchard Commons Active Learning Classrooms
Orchard Commons is a new academic and residential hub that provides 21 flexible classrooms as part of the general UBC Learning Space inventory.
This project produced a variety of student-centric and technology enabled learning spaces designed to be versatile. The key driver of this classroom design initiative was the need to create flexible, open spaces to encourage active engagement, collaborative peer learning, and group work. This resulted in the creation of various high and low tech spaces that provide students and faculty members multiple options for how they use the space. Notable rooms include ORCH 3018 and 4074, which are enhanced learning labs equipped with digital screens and interactive glassboards at every table group. ORCH 4018 features a mix of high and low tech group seating while ORCH 3074 is designed with videoconferencing capabilities.
These classrooms were specially designed to support the UBC Vantage One Program, a first year program for international students with integrated English language instruction. Orchard Commons as a building, creatively incorporates student housing, food options, academic and administrative space, informal learning spaces, and classrooms all in one place.
Comfortable furniture: The chairs are height adjustable, flexed-back, upholstered, and on castors. They were specially chosen for their ergonomic design and maneuverability.
Flexible room layout: Moveable furniture supports different active teaching and learning activities (e.g., group work in various sizes, student presentations, etc.).
New technology: Videoconferencing capabilities, digital glassboards, and wireless presentation facilitate effective collaboration between students and instructors. Control systems for lighting, sound, and equipment are intuitive and easy to use.
Spacious and collaborative work surfaces: Tables supports a variety of teaching and learning activities as they provide ample space for books, devices, and group work.
Sustainable building practices: Furnishings were selected to be cost effective (initial and life-cycle costs), environmentally friendly, and the vendors used have an excellent social and environmental track record.
Accessibility considerations: Entryways, walkways, seating, and acoustics are configured to be accessible for students and instructors of all abilities.
Strategic use of colour and lighting: Splashes of colour liven up classrooms and promote group work while natural and installed lighting facilitate other intended functions of the room.