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Exploring Learning Spaces at ANU: Marie Reay Teaching Centre

7 April, 2021

Liane Joubert

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As part of a range of workshops and activities run by the Centre for Learning and Teaching’s Learning Environments Team, we explored and talked about Marie Reay and what makes this Learning Space unique and functional.  

Tim Grace, Manager of Education communities and Environments, along with Liane Joubert, Learning Environments Officer, discuss the flexibility and functionality of a space like Marie Reay and the possibilities of post-Covid facilitation. Many students globally are now relying on online collaboration and flexible teaching to complete assignments among other academic activities. But Marie Reay also caters for more than just post-Covid learning and teaching. 

Diana Oblinger, in an article titled Leading the Transition from Classrooms to Learning Spaces states that Learning Spaces should be a physical representation of an institution’s philosophy about learning and teaching, (at ANU, this can be translated to the Teaching and Learning Strategy). She continues to say that a standard lecture hall, with immovable chairs all facing a lectern, may represent a strategy of “pouring content into students’ heads”. While an active, collaborative teaching and learning strategy is often manifested in a different design.  

Walking though Marie Reay, it was evident that the learning spaces cater for more flexibility, collaboration and organisation of different classroom management strategies. The Superfloor of Marie Reay for instance has a flat teaching space with no fixed furniture (desks, chairs or lecterns), making this a great space for exploring teaching technologies for larger cohorts.  

Later in the series of interviews, we talk to John Debs from the Research School of Physics about how he utilises this flat teaching space in Marie Reay for first year Physics students, and also about how virtual learning spaces differ from physical learning spaces. 

Liane Joubert is a Learning Environment Officer and Tim Grace is the Manager of the Education Communities and Environments (ECE) team – one of the three teams within theANU Centre for Learning & Teaching  (CLT).  

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