Standardising Learning Spaces

Kathleen DONOHOE
The University of Sydney, Australia

Marianna KOULIAS
The University of Sydney, Australia


A common dilemma in many tertiary institutions is striking a balance between innovation and standardisation. There is usually a great appetite amongst academics to employ the latest technology in their teaching practices, but how does an institution incorporate innovation whilst ensuring sustainable, supportable solutions, consistency in experience and validity of application?

Over the past three years, the University of Sydney has been developing a set of standards for both physical and virtual learning spaces. These standards are shaped by iterative evaluation from student, staff and faculty feedback as well as lessons from transformational builds and its annual refurbishment program. These standards are conceived of and encompass the expectations of the educational function provided by the spaces (from student and academic perspectives) and are based on best practice internationally.

A number of universities were reviewed to try and examine their approach to learning space standards / norms / guidelines with a number of these having no such visible guidelines or policies. A number of universities have these documents available either internally or externally such as Imperial College London, The University of British Columbia, Stanford University and New York University. National organisations such as SMG (Space Management Group) in the UK are also involved in the definition of 'space norms'.

In this roundtable we aim to encourage a discussion on the development of an institutional approach to technology integration in learning space provision, that is the development of learning space standards / norms / guidelines.

Our roundtable will pose the following questions to participants:

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