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Digital Education team blog


Ideas and reflections from UCL's Digital Education team


Learning and teaching spaces update

By Steve Rowett, on 28 May 2014

It has been a little while since we gave you an update on progress in transforming our learning and teaching spaces, so here’s one now.

We’ve done a lot of work over the last two or three years, from full room refurbishments to ensuring that each centrally bookable teaching space has a PC. It’s great to see that these changes are making a difference. A full room survey by the independent Alexi Marmot Associates rated the equipment and technology in our spaces as 50% four years ago – we now score 80% on the same measure. That’s great progress and thanks to everyone who has been involved.


Easter 2013 and Christmas 2014 programme

To help us deliver more we now undertake smaller work programmes over the Christmas and Easter holidays, with 9 refurbishments already under our belt this year:

  • Chadwick 223 and Bedford Way G11 computer rooms: a full makeover with redecoration, new lighting, furniture and new AV teaching facilities.
  • Gordon House 106: new AV teaching facilities (including its first ever network point!).
  • Foster Court 112/113/114/124 and 14 Taviton 534 and 535: new AV teaching facilities.

The upgrades to the computer rooms are the most impressive. Both rooms were very tired and unattractive before, and now look clean, modern and bright – see an example below. Phil Spencer would be proud of us!


Bedford Way G11 after makeover

Bedford Way G11 after makeover

Thanks to all those in ISD who contributed to these projects and to the many UCL Estates people and external contractors who are involved.

Summer 2014 programme

The summer is always the busiest time for refurbishments, especially those big projects that cannot be fitted into the short timeframe at Easter and Christmas.

Capital projects

This year sees seven major refurbishments led by UCL Estates and funded as UCL capital projects. Roberts 309/508 and 1-19 Torrington Place basement lecture will be stripped back and rebuilt; and Roberts 421 and 422 and 26 Bedford Way G03 will be freshened up with new decoration.

The large computer room in 25 Gordon Square will receive the biggest change, with a full redecoration, new furniture and new all-in-one PCs. E-Learning Environments have been working with UCL Estates on the design of this room, including custom-built furniture which not only enhances the layout for teaching but also increases the capacity of the room.

Summer works

A further 20 or so rooms will receive replacement audio-visual facilities along with associated minor redecoration as part of the ‘summer works’ programme jointly funded by UCL Estates and ISD and managed by Tim Burles in the ISD ITCPD team. A summary of the works planned are given below, but please note these are still subject to change:

  • Archaeology 117 and 501: redecoration and new teaching facilities (small computer room specification: teaching PC and display)
  • Small classrooms in Cruciform and Rockefeller (10 of them): redecoration and new teaching facilities (small classroom specification: wall mounted PC and display)
  • Chadwick B05: New teaching facilities (standard classroom specification)
  • Pearson G23: New teaching facilities (standard classroom specification plus repeater screens)
  • Pearson G26: New teaching facilities (standard classroom specification)
  • 26 Gordon Square B32: New teaching facilities (standard classroom specification plus extra projector to accommodate L shape)
  • Roberts 110: (upgrade of projection/wiring)
  • Rockefeller G02: New teaching facilities (standard classroom specification)
  • Chandler B01, B02, G10 and 118 (standard classroom specification – B01 still under discussion due to need to maintain fire exit access)

Note that a number of these projects are now using the UCL standard classroom specification, albeit occassionally with some modifications such as repeater screens to accommodate awkwardly-shaped rooms. Details of this specification and much more information about our aspirations for learning spaces are available in UCL’s Learning Spaces Guidelines.

Other projects

Some further projects aim to tackle service and technology issues that were raised in the 2013 staff survey:

  • Ensuring that each teaching space has a working phone, clearly labelled with its number, and fixed or attached to a wall or desk.
  • Microphone improvements to reduce the number of silent Lecturecast recordings.
  • A full room audit to update the information on the room bookings website.

It’s a busy programme, and thanks in advance to the many people in ISD who will be involved for their efforts.

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