Rethinking Space

When creating new ways to deliver activities, a simple but often overlooked step is to consider what environment would best meet the needs of learners.

Making the Most of a Limited Space

If you’re short on space, you can use this to your advantage. Limited space may be used to force participants together, rapidly solving problems and focussing on solutions.

Limited spaces can enhance creativity! Rapid prototypes can often be made when limited space is the only option. Through concentrated, focused sessions decision making and new ideas and problem solving can flourish….


Small Space, Big Ideas

Even with limited space and time you can deliver engaging hands-on learning activities. A great way to do this is through a micro SPRINT – this is a compressed delivery model for the Flipped SPRINT process that supports teams to solve problems within a shortened time frame.

Go Outside

Use your timetabled space as a hub from which learners can venture out to complete activities and challenges. This could help prompt learner awareness of external communities and environments, and lead to opportunities to build group working and problem solving into learning design. Examples of this approach include ImparApp and treasure hunts.
Image credit: Andrew Neel

Embracing Collaboration

Collaborative spaces can take form in both physical and virtual environments providing endless opportunities to make connections and work creatively across timezones and distances.

Collaboration Software

Providing students with industry standard collaboration software such as Microsoft Teams or Slack helps to enhance course identity, improve communications and support students in collaborative project delivery.

International Co-operation

#3CityLink is a great example of this. This two week project supported Coventry students to connect and collaborate with students in Regina, Canada and Gyumri, Armenia, with the aim to challenge narratives and dialogue in fine art practice. Dialogue, making and sharing happened both in the three local gallery environments and via social media.
Image credit: John Schnobrich

Beyond the Traditional Classroom

Rethinking the use of space can drastically impact the experience of both academic and student. Looking beyond the constraints of the classroom, you can move outside of the four walls to creatively deliver a variety of activities.

Virtually Connected Space

Break through the physical walls of the university campus to connect with international communites and collaborators. Excellent examples of this include Immersive Telepresence in Theatre and the Virtually Connecting community.

Shared environments

Develop shared teaching spaces in professional working environments to provide learners opportunity to learn and form communities of practice outside of the institution.

Accessible Spaces

It is essential to ensure spaces are accessible to all learners. This includes making sure all learners have access to appropriate technologies (devices, software and web space) and are able to navigate the physical environment.

Assistive Technologies

Assistive technology enables disabled students to have equal access to learning environments and experiences.  A great example of this is the SWING project which developed a new learning model and accesbility centres in Egypt and Morocco.

Knowledge is power

Making information accesible in a range of formats can make a positive impact and empower students at any stage of the learning journey. A great example of this can be found within the PALS project, where current CU students developed a range of multimedia resources and basic information, hosted on a wordpress site, with an aim to provide new international students with knowledge of Coventry University before they arrive in the UK.

Image credit: Daniel Hansen on Unsplash

Taking a Hybrid Approach

There are more approaches to Hybrid spaces than teleconferencing. Combinations of media, virtual and physical space can be developed and used to delivery a comprehensive and rich learning environment. Thinking about the physical space as a part of a wider networked environment can open up many new possibilities.

Site Specific Projections

Use portable projectors to project engaging discussion materials directly on to site specific environments. A great example of this is Projekt-Project which uses live digital slide projections to animate historic sites.

Seamless Integration

An award winning example of this approach is Immersive Telepresence in Theatre, where a ‘virtual space’ was created in two locations (Finland and UK) through the re-purposing of videoconferencing technology to create a unified spatial design. This and careful lighting gave the geographically distant actors the illusion that they were occupying the same physical space.

Teacher speaking to a hybrid class

Simulated Real World Environments

Real life, professional working environments. Studios are an important space in which students can learn and practice discipline specific skills. Technical studios (such as television studios etc.) provide space to practice discipline specific processes. Cross-disciplinary studios provide students the opportunity to come together and share skills and knowledge with their peers.

Educational Role Play

Embedding role play within learning design supports students to navigate real-world issues in discipline specific scenarios. A great example of this is the Airline Alliance Simulation, where Aviation Management students learn how to plan, negotiate and establish airline alliances, with small teams representing fictional airlines.

Immersive Decision Making

Through professional practice placements combined with academic assessments, students can develop and reflect on their ability to navigate complex decision making in real-world professional working scenarios.
Image credit:

Out in the Open

There’s more to open than a MOOC. Open learning spaces can be used to widen participation in Higher Education. By opening up educational spaces you can draw on ideas and concepts from other disciplines to help naturalise topic content within the wider environment. Teaching no longer needs to take place in the confides of a four-walled environment but with the advent of portable converged technologies (such as smartphones) can take place almost anywhere.

Open Courses

Teaching no longer needs to take place in the confines of a walled environment. Open courses allow anyone to contribute and participate in learning. The Game Changers Programme aims to explore, experiment and exploit game design thinking in fostering creative problem solving and cross-disciplinary design collaboration

Open Technologies

Utilise open source technologies and teach on the open web. By building your practice around these kinds of technologies, your students (and colleagues!) will learn and respond critically on the tech and online spaces they use on a day-to-day basis. Coventry.Domains is an initiative at Coventry University that offers students and staff the opportunity to take more control over their online presence and to develop important digital competences.

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