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IU creates Mosaic initiative to support active learning environments

The Mosaic Active Learning Initiative enhances learning with portable whiteboards, movable furniture, and more

Indiana University has launched the Mosaic Active Learning Initiative, an innovative approach to instruction that will transform the classroom experience for both students and faculty.

Beginning this fall at IU Bloomington before expanding to all IU campuses in the 2016-17 academic year, Mosaic will provide a comprehensive set of services and strategies supporting faculty teaching in active learning spaces. The initiative is named Mosaic to refer to the diverse, flexible and tech-rich environments that enable collaborative learning.

"The Mosaic approach is so innovative because it recognizes the value of active learning spaces to all disciplines, as well as the unique needs and challenges of each individual discipline," said IU Provost and Executive Vice President Lauren Robel. "We are excited to see the rich variety of collaborative learning spaces that will be created all across the Bloomington campus for the benefit of our students and faculty."

"This initiative not only adds to the body of research on active learning spaces, it also helps fulfill IU’s bicentennial plan priorities by effectively using new technology and developing a network of faculty leaders," said Anastasia Morrone, IU associate vice president, learning technologies.

The Bloomington campus already has a variety of active learning spaces—including the Collaborative Learning Studio (Student Building 015), Collaboration Café (Cedar Hall 102) and multiple classrooms inside the new Global International Studies Building (GISB)—designed to promote student engagement, and there are plans to design more active learning spaces across IU campuses in support of Mosaic. Some of the specific technology and equipment that will be available in Mosaic active learning classrooms include portable whiteboards, wireless projection capabilities, movable furniture and other tools that facilitate student collaboration in the classroom.

"I find students respond better to active learning and I’ve tried to integrate it into all my classes. There is strong, conclusive literature that supports the effectiveness of the technique," said J. Duncan, a lecturer in the School of Informatics and Computing who has taught classes in the Collaborative Learning Studio. "In fact, all of the undergraduate instructors who have previously been my students in an active learning classroom then returned to help me teach in a traditional classroom have noted that the active learning environment is a better experience for students."

As part of the initiative, IU will also establish the Mosaic Faculty Fellows program, a community of instructors who will be prepared to teach in active learning classrooms, be involved in the design of new active learning spaces and guide the development of active learning at the university. The Mosaic Fellows will redesign their courses to incorporate active learning approaches and pedagogies, and will be supported by University Information Technology Services and the campus centers for teaching and learning.

The fellowship is a two-year commitment beginning in January at the two-day Mosaic Institute. The IU Bloomington deadline to apply is November 13 and fellows will be announced November 20. As with the overall initiative, the program begins at IU Bloomington before expanding to other IU campuses in the 2016-17 academic year.

"I am delighted with IU’s continuing progress to create the best and most effective learning environments inclusive of space and effective teaching techniques with our faculty," said Brad Wheeler, IU vice president for information technology and CIO. "I served as IU’s first university-wide officer for IT to support teaching and learning, and with the creation of the Mosaic initiative, IU is again demonstrating its commitment to providing an outstanding education for our students."