The Design Society
For many students, the auditorium is the room that most embodies Higher Education. However, recent studies and developments in teaching methodologies in higher education, such as blended learning and the flipped classroom, have challenged this conceptualization of the auditorium. Results from a recent case study on blended learning at Oslo and Akershus University College, showed how the auditorium as a room challenged the implementation of the course and influenced the students' choice in how they wanted the curricular material presented to them. The inflexibility of the auditorium became a structural challenge, which constrained the instructor’s ability to use teaching methods other than the classical lecture. Essentially, the room proved to be non-functional for implementing a blended learning course. This paper challenges the traditional layout of an auditorium as an answer to new educational paradigms in higher education. It provides recommendations for innovative re- conceptualizations of both what an educational room can be and how design implementations are important in developing a better understanding of universal design for learning. The suggestions underscore the role of the technological and physical design of educational rooms for creating more functional learning environments suited for new pedagogy and generations of students, as well as how new technology is relevant in the development of the future rooms of learning. In conclusion, this paper points at how the conceptual idea of a room for learning is a virtual, borderless, and technological room, as well as a physical place.
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