book cover of What Teaching Looks Like
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doi.org/10.36284/celelon.oa4

ISBN: 978-1-951414-07-8

June 2022

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In addition to interpersonal aspects of postsecondary educational endeavors, documentary photographs from a wide variety of institutions also bring to light aspects of teaching environments that often go unnoticed. Going beyond the frequently cited trope—that many college and university classrooms have barely changed since the early days of higher education—the images of The Teaching and Learning Project portray a dynamic physical and technological context. Across institutions, infrastructure influences teaching and learning in myriad ways—in some cases getting in the way of classroom interactions, and in others, supporting and enhancing them. Institutions and educators can also be remarkably creative in their reuse and adaptation of existing spaces for new purposes, and this chapter’s discussions and observations, through and with the photographs within, offer opportunities to rethink the interactions of spaces, technologies, people, pedagogies, power, and priorities.

Discussion Questions

Questions for faculty and teaching assistants

  • As you reflect on the spaces in which you teach, consider what you think they communicate or imply about the nature of teaching and learning. To what extent has your teaching aligned with, adapted to, or breached the apparent expectations built into the space?
  • Think of a time when your use of technology in teaching seemed particularly effective or conducive to learning for your students. If you were to see photographs of that time, what might you notice about the way the technology was used?

Questions for instructional, academic, and faculty developers

  • How could you use photographs (from this volume, existing photographs from your institution, or new photographs that you could make or commission) to better understand relationships between teaching spaces, technologies, and teaching practices?
  • In what ways do your educational development offerings assume that space dictates activities? In what ways do or could they encourage instructors to hack or breach the apparent expectations built into teaching spaces and technologies?

Questions for other staff and administrators

  • What is the mix of newly built or renovated and older teaching spaces at your institution? Does your institution represent and celebrate, including through visual representation, teaching that happens in average or older facilities? What impact do you think this has on instructors and students?
  • Who makes decisions about teaching spaces and technologies at your institution? Are they informed by visual representations of current uses, alongside other data and evidence? How might such visual evidence complement the decision-making process?