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Learning Hubs to Ease the Squeeze

Joseph Wang dives into the digital revolution as Sydney University opens new learning hubs.

Credit: vancouverfilmschool under CC 2.0

The University of Sydney has begun a digital revolution, opening a number of ‘Learning Hubs’ at the Carslaw and Peter Nicol Russel (PNR) Buildings last week. Funded jointly by the federal government and the university, these new areas aim to address student and staff concerns over the lack of adequate learning and teaching spaces throughout the university.

The hubs (open from 8am to 6pm) increase the computer inventory by over 150, and the available seating area by around 600 places. With a mix of traditional fixed desks, flexible desks and couches, and an abundance of whiteboards, power outlets, network ports and WiFi, these areas provide for collaborative learning and, according to the press release a “seamless learning environment” for the student population.

The defining feature of these student learning hubs are the new ‘Pods’ which foster collaborative groupwork and are backed by state-of-the-art Information and Communications Technology
infrastructure. In the PNR building, these hexagonal-shaped open rooms feature a 64-inch touchscreen TV that allow you to connect your laptop, as well as whiteboard marker-friendly ‘idea paint’ on the walls. Video conferencing and long-distance work is also supported by the Skype-compatible HD webcam mounted on the TV, with services such as Google+ enabling screenshare. Similar pods are also available in Carslaw.

With the Carslaw and PNR hubs reaching completion, a new 24-hour Fisher Library hub and cafe under construction, and more teaching spaces under consideration, students can look forward to receiving a truly modern educational experience.

Credit: vancouverfilmschool under CC 2.0