By Sarah Dean
A new modern and innovative learning environment is the SCALE-UP classroom located in Sage Hall. SCALE-UP stands for “Student Centered Active Learning Environment for Upside-down Pedagogies,” or teaching methods.
This large classroom in Sage 222 can hold 72 students total, and is the new location of organic chemistry, as well as introduction to biology taught by Dr. Alicia Schultheis.
While the classes are large, Dr. Schultheis says it provides for a unique learning environment. “The class time is incredibly interactive, especially amongst the students,” she said.
The classroom has eight tables, an LCD screen and whiteboard for each table and four projector screens.
The upside-down teaching method involves students receiving content, such as lectures and readings, outside the classroom and then participating in interactive activities and group projects, or “high cognitive demand tasks,” during class time.
This idea contrasts a more traditional class setup. Instead of lectures being in class and projects outside of class, the two are reversed. Thus, the “upside-down” title of the method.
In addition to the difference in content delivery, there are also a lot more assignments than in previous semesters of introduction to biology. This provides the students with more work, but most of this can be completed in class, and can help build to a good grade as well as an increase in knowledge.
Student teaching assistants Mandy Camp and Anja Erwin commented on the students’ overall reaction to the new classroom and teaching style.
“The brunt of the workload hits them quickly, but the students realize that the work is extremely beneficial to them,” Camp said.
“Students who put in a lot of effort get a lot out of the class in return,” Erwin said.
Dr. Schultheis said she is very pleased with how the class is going so far, and how well the room has turned out. Her favorite features include the organized table setup and the multiple projector screens, which allow all the students in the room to easily see and participate in the lesson.
“This looks like a place where people really work together,” Schultheis said about the room as a whole. “Students really learn a lot from each other as well as the instructor.”