The University of Arizona has made a strong commitment to the improvement of teaching quality. Hundreds of studies show that students learn more and fail less when active learning strategies are used. To this end, Collaborative Learning Spaces (CLSs) that facilitate collaborative active learning have been created. In these spaces, faculty members are using innovative teaching and learning strategies that promote higher order thinking that leads to better understanding and improved ability to transfer knowledge to other applications. These rooms are an important component of the University's commitment to continuous improvement and culture change because numerous studies provide significant evidence that engagement is critical to the success of students. As of Fall 2021, UA has over 40 Collaborative Learning Spaces.
It's a campus-wide, collaborative effort to transform a wide variety of centrally-scheduled classrooms into Collaborative Learning Spaces.
The first initiative was a fast-paced pilot project to develop and test an active learning classroom. This pilot was conducted in the Science-Engineering Library’s Journal Room (Rm 200S) which was transformed into a large, 260-seat collaborative classroom. During the month-long pilot, the space was used by eight University of Arizona classes to explore active learning spaces in order to better understand the technology, physical space requirements, and pedagogical needs for building effective collaborative learning environments at the UA. Based on the encouraging results of the pilot, a decision was made to convert the Science-Engineering Library space into a permanent Collaborative Learning Space and to aggressively pursue opportunities to transform existing classrooms and other campus spaces into Collaborative Learning Spaces.