Christian F. Freisleben-Teutscher provides insights into the concept behind the classrooms at the new Campus St. Pölten.
The Campus St. Pölten will stand out with innovative teaching and learning spaces. Where does the concept come from?
Freisleben: Prior to planning the new Campus St. Pölten, we engaged in intensive research. We visited other universities, for example, in Germany, Switzerland and Austria, carried out additional research and familiarised ourselves with various concepts. And we soon understood: what is most important about creating modern teaching and learning spaces is to design them as flexible as possible. The furniture must be easily adaptable to new teaching situations, i.e. it should be easy to roll tables and stack chairs in order to implement individual work and work in small groups or other learning scenarios in a simple and easy manner. We have included these considerations into the planning of the new St. Pölten Campus.
Of course, requirements for rooms can change over time.
Freisleben: That's right. And this is why I find it so important to emphasise: it is a process which will never be entirely completed. We will be continuously asking ourselves the question: “How do we currently use which rooms?“ And on the basis of these considerations, we will need to think about ways to further develop rooms and equipment. This requires a constant dialogue with students, alumni, lecturers, researchers, etc.
How important will digital teaching be in future?
Freisleben: In future, every physical learning space will always have a digital dimension as well. This means that hybrid settings, in which on-site teaching and e-learning complement each other, will become increasingly important against the background of blended learning. The seminar rooms will be equipped with the necessary technology to enable distance learning elements if needed. To this end, we will heavily rely on collaborative tools. As part of our certificate for university didactics, we place a strong focus on offering further education opportunities about planning and implementing hybrid teaching settings to our lecturers.
What is it about the new campus that students can look forward to?
Freisleben: The new campus will provide even more space for undisturbed individual and group work and a Learning Lab with state-of-the-art equipment that can be used flexibly by students. However, in future, the campus is meant to be much more than just a place for studying and learning: with cosy seating niches, rooms that can be used according to the students’ individual needs, the new Campus Garden with outdoor teaching space and many more possibilities, the campus will become a meeting place and a “second home” where living and learning are even more intertwined.
Christian F. Freisleben-Teutscher | Copyright: Andreas Kraus
Christian F. Freisleben-Teutscher works at the Service and Competence Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning (SKILL) at the St. Pölten UAS, where he also teaches and conducts research. He has been involved in the development of the new campus from the very beginning.