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Thursday, June 19 • 11:30am - 12:20pm
CON5.03 – If You Build It…Will It Work? Perspectives on Designing, Constructing, and Effectively Using an Interdisciplinary Experiential Lab Environment (Room A339)

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Designing a teaching space requires that you put your current pedagogical needs down on paper while also including plans for future growth. The construction of that space begins with simple demolition tools but can require the creation of complex solutions to address unforeseen issues. Utilization of a new space effectively begins when the doors are opened and you can observe how students really function in the facility. This session will examine the pedagogical and operational factors that should be considered when designing, constructing and utilizing an interdisciplinary teaching laboratory.  The Honours Integrated Science (iSci) Program at McMaster University recently opened such a facility and is currently evaluating the success of their design. 

The process for developing a new lab to complement the unique pedagogy of the iSci program began five years ago with the acquisition of space and funds. Many obstacles had to be overcome during the design and construction phases of the project and we are currently reflecting on the multitude of decisions made during the process. We wish to share our experience with other educators considering a similar undertaking.  

Our short, interactive workshop will break participants into small groups that will be tasked with designing an interdisciplinary lab space that meets specified pedagogical needs. Groups will be assigned different lab configurations, space requirements, and budgets, as well as various safety considerations and technology upgrades. Participants will have to balance flash and novelty versus cost and proven effectiveness while creating a pedagogically-driven design. After a period of design process, groups will present their challenges and insights. This will all be in context of the experiences of the iSci program, including reflections on our decisions based on observed current lab utilization. Workshop participants will gain an understanding of the basic factors involved with creating an interdisciplinary experiential lab environment.

Thursday June 19, 2014 11:30am - 12:20pm EDT
A339 McArthur Hall

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