Learning Landscapes update for Education Committee

This year, we’re publishing Learning Landscapes updates for the University’s Education Committee and Student Experience Committee in the form of website posts instead of traditional committee papers. This means that the updates can be:

  • Public
  • Interactive
  • Richer, with hyperlinks, images, audio and video as well as text

We’ll aim to publish the updates one week before the relevant meetings, to give students and staff an opportunity to post comments and questions before or after the meetings. You might have feedback on a completed or proposed project; a question for the Learning Landscapes team; or an idea for a future project. Please share your comments using the form at the bottom of this post.

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This is an update for the first Education Committee meeting of 2013/14. The update focuses on Learning Landscapes-related developments since the Committee’s previous meeting on 5 June, and contains highlights of our plans for the year ahead.

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Summer improvements

DSC_2854This summer has seen an unprecedented level of construction and refurbishment activity across the Brayford Pool campus, with University contractors logging over 10,000 person-days in July and August alone. Virtually every building on campus has been improved. Collectively, these projects represent a major upgrade to the University’s learning environment for 2013/14, and a huge team effort by Estates & Commercial Facilities and ICT Services staff.

The new teaching and learning spaces we have created are designed in response to Student as Producer. Key goals are to encourage and support co-creation of knowledge by students with academics in seminars; and to facilitate self-organisation by students for academic and social purposes. Many of this summer’s changes also address the University’s growing demand for centrally timetabled lecture and seminar spaces, which were highly utilised during 2012/13.


We have learned from the well-received new spaces we created in 2012, adding new features and layouts while keeping their best attributes. Our new seminar spaces provide more space per person than the older rooms, and contain furniture and equipment which supports collaborative work in small subgroups as well as larger whole-group discussions.
We have trebled the number of seminar rooms equipped with the popular Node chairs. There are now nine of these rooms on campus (BH0105, BL2100, BL2111, MC3107, MB1012, MB1019, MB1020, MT207 and MT208). We have also created five new seminar rooms with group tables (MB3201, MB3202, MB3203, UL110 and UL111). Our new seminar rooms include mobile whiteboards for every six students to facilitate idea creation and sharing.

AAD Building

Landscaping-AADThe Art, Architecture & Design extension was completed in August. Students and staff in Conservation & Restoration, Creative Advertising, Fine Art, Graphic Design, Illustration, and Interactive Design are now based in the extension, bringing these subject areas into the heart of the Brayford campus. The extension also includes two significant new public spaces: a Gallery on the ground floor and an outdoor Sculpture Terrace on the second floor, accessible from both parts of the building. The new boulevard between the AAD and Engineering buildings is now open as well (pictured opposite). More information is available on the project page.

Bridge House

Bridge House has been enhanced with a new 100-seat lecture room (BH0101), a new 15-seat seminar room (BH0105) and new tutorial and office spaces on the ground floor.

David Chiddick Building

BL2100-modesThe building has been enhanced with two new 24- and 30-seat centrally timetabled seminar rooms on the second floor (BL2100, pictured opposite, and BL2111). Special thanks go to the Business School and Law School who released spaces to enable this project.


The EMMTEC has been enhanced with two new 15- and 28-seat centrally timetabled seminar rooms (MT207 and MT208) on the second floor.


LandscapingThe first phase of the landscaping programme is underway, with works to Library Square well underway (pictured opposite). This phase will be completed in late October. More information is available on the project page.

Library 1.5


The Library extension was completed in August, providing two new 30- and 40-seat centrally timetabled seminar rooms (UL110 and UL111) and a new social learning space and bookable group room on the ground floor to alleviate overcrowding in the Library. More information is available on the project page.

Main Admin Building

Vis 1Two new mezzanine floors have been installed to provide comfortable new social learning space directly adjacent to the 20 formal teaching rooms on the first floor. Also on the first floor, the English Language Centre has expanded into a second teaching space (MB1104).

The Jackson Lecture Theatre has been upgraded and extended from 243 to 331 seats in order to reduce repeat teaching and reliance on room-to-room video links. In addition, new entrance lobbies have been created at the building’s east and west entrances to improve thermal comfort and energy efficiency. More information is available on the project page.

MB3200-3 from northOn the third floor, a new study space and three new 30-seat centrally timetabled seminar rooms (MB3201, MB3202 and MB3203) open onto a newly decked south-facing outdoor terrace. More information is available on the project page.

Maps and signage

Campus Map 2013New outdoor directional signs are being installed across campus to improve wayfinding. We have also produced a new city centre map and campus map to simplify navigation.

The new signs will include short links to the campus map to facilitate downloading to mobile phones.

Media, Humanities & Technology Building

BRJDubsCMAE92cOThe MHT Building has been enhanced with two refurbished 24-seat centrally timetabled seminar rooms on the ground floor (MC0019 and MC0020) and a new 24-seat centrally timetabled seminar room on the third floor (room number MC3107).


Computer Labs A and D have been merged to create a larger lab (room number MC3203) to enable more efficient teaching. Also on the third floor, a new suite of offices for academics in the School of Computer Science supports continued growth in the School’s research activity.

Student Centre

The Student Centre has been enhanced with new air-conditioning systems to improve conditions for Students’ Union and Commercial Facilities personnel based in the building.

Student Village

The second phase of the Student Village refurbishment programme has been completed. Courts 6 to 17 have been redecorated with new cookers and appliances throughout and the communal rooms all have new lighting and flooring.

Think Tank

The Think Tank has been enhanced with two new clinical practice suites on the ground floor (room numbers THT0003 and THT0004) and new tutorial areas for student nurses on the first floor.

Village Hall


Village Hall has been refurbished and is now Study Group’s base of operations on campus, including seminar rooms, an IT lab, and staff offices. Four of the ground floor seminar rooms (VH0001-4) will remain in University use until Christmas, and two of them (VH0001-2) until the end of March 2014. The Prayer Room remains in VH2004.

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Improvements to processes and systems

We are also making a number of improvements to key processes and systems to further improve the teaching and learning environment.

Room bookings

We are working to test and launch the new room booking system developed by ICT Services this summer. For the first time, students and staff will be able to view and book available rooms across campus quickly and easily on their computer or mobile device. The new system will also confirm bookings instantly, with no waiting for approval. The ability to book space is essential for Student as Producer and many other aspects of University business, and we expect this new system to be very beneficial for both students and staff.

Room information panels

room-info-panelWe have installed new information panels in all centrally timetabled lecture and seminar rooms, to clarify how to book and use rooms, and how to get help when needed.

Transparent project development

We have simplified our project initiation process to make it quicker and easier for new projects to get started. For the first time, we have also published a complete list of current estates projects and project initiation forms in review on our Projects Portal page so that all students and staff can see what’s being developed.

Plans for 2013/14

Here are a few highlights of our plans for 2013/14 so far:

  • Construction work at the Joseph Banks Laboratories (pictured below) and Minster House is well underway and is expected to finish in December, ahead of University fitout work from January to July 2014. The Schools of Life Sciences, Pharmacy and Chemistry will be based in the new facilities from August 2014. More information is available on the project page.


  • We continue to plan for a number of major projects beyond JBL & Minster House. This work is now being coordinated by the newly formed Programme Steering Group chaired by the Vice Chancellor to ensure congruence between the University’s academic, financial and property strategies.
  • We are working with the organisers of this year’s Frequency festival to provide indoor and outdoor venues on the Brayford campus and in the Cathedral Quarter. The festival will run from 18-26 October 2013.
  • We are working with Network Rail to mitigate the impact on students and staff of its planned improvement works on and around Brayford Wharf East during 2013/14. Construction of the new wildfowl habitat in the Brayford Pool is expected to start in October, with construction of the new footbridge across the railway due to start in November.
  • We plan to organise a number of focus groups for students and staff during 2013/14. The aim of these sessions, which will be similar to the seminar room design workshop we ran at the Student/Staff Conference in February 2013, will be to gather feedback on the new teaching and learning spaces we have provided this summer, and to produce design concepts for new space types which might further enhance teaching and learning.
  • We will be blogging, tweeting and posting to Facebook about all of the Learning Landscapes developments during the year, as well as reporting formally through the Education Committee and the Student Experience Committee.

We hope you find this update useful. If so, please do share it with your networks and let us know your thoughts using the form below.

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