Written by Georgia Maxwell – Senior Research Assistant for Transforming the Instructional Landscape
Transforming the Instructional Landscape (TIL) is an ongoing project at the University of Toronto that examines how learning environments can be improved for both instructors and students. TIL employs design thinking to help build better learning environments with students rather than for students. A wide range of professionals from across UofT are also involved in the project’s exciting and innovative work.
Bringing Voices Together
One of the main ways that TIL brings together the voices of varied professionals across campus is through the TIL operations working group. The group is composed of a dozen members who meet to discuss the current operations of TIL and how to best plan for the future. During the meetings—the most recent of which were over the months of April and May—the group discussed the vision for TIL, how TIL can continue to best support student and instructor needs, and the importance of investing in community.
Designing for Diverse Needs
The unique challenge of understanding and designing learning environments is that they have to fit the needs of many diverse people and roles at the same time. Not only is every individual in a learning space a unique person with their own wants and needs, they often have different roles they have to fill within these spaces. At any given time, a learning space has to work for students, instructors, TAs, technicians, and more!
While creating spaces that meet the needs of every person and role at the university is certainly a challenge, it is also what makes TIL so exciting. It means we get to work with different stakeholders across the university to make sure our research and design process reflects the diversity of the people and roles we find in the classroom, whether that be online or on campus. The TIL operations working group is one of the many ways we make sure that every role is represented in our work and research.