Rooms for Engaged & Active Learning

MSU’s University Classroom Committee has adopted innovative classroom designs to facilitate engaged and active learning called Rooms for Engaged and Active Learning (REAL).

REAL spaces are specifically designed to enable lively interaction, enhanced learning, and increased faculty and student engagement.

In November 2012, MSU completed construction on the first two classrooms designed as REAL spaces in McDonel Hall. Faculty and instructors could apply to teach in REAL spaces beginning with 2013 spring semester courses.

A faculty membe rinteracts with students in an MSU Room for Engaged and Active Learning

MSU’s REAL spaces are based on principles from the Student-Centered Active Learning Environment for Undergraduate Programs (SCALE-UP) project, which originated at North Carolina State University to establish collaborative, hands-on, computer-rich, interactive learning areas. Other universities have also adopted the SCALE-UP model to fit their specific needs.

REAL Spaces

REAL spaces feature an instructor station, four flat panel displays around the room, dual flat panel displays at each table, and whiteboards around the room for each table.Drawing for the layout for an MSU Room for Engaged and Active Learning space

List of REAL spaces:

  • Chemistry, 323
  • Ernst Bessey Hall, 310, 315
  • McDonel, Rooms 2, 38
  • MSU Union, Room 55
  • Music, 241

These rooms use 6-10 semi-circular tables and generally accommodate up to 72 students.

Apply to Teach in REAL

These spaces are open to MSU tenured, tenure-track, and fixed-term faculty members, who must first apply to if interested in teaching in REAL spaces. The next application deadline is November 16, 2015.

  1. Fill out the application (Word doc) on why you are interested in this model and how you plan to use the space. The application requires a Departmental Chairperson signature.
  2. Submit the application to Sev Grabski, Wills House, 287 Delta Court, East Lansing, MI 48824.
  3. Participate in the REAL Academy for Faculty training to learn more about upside-down pedagogies and how to use the equipment in the rooms.
  4. Report on your experiences and helping train the next group of REAL participants.

If accepted, training and support will take place the semester prior to teaching in a REAL space. Questions can be directed to Sev Grabski.

Students work togehter and collaborate in an MSU Room for Engaged and Active Learning

REAL Academy

The REAL Academy for Faculty will provide training the semester before teaching a course in REAL spaces. Once you complete the REAL Academy, you are guaranteed the room for three years.

REAL Academy faculty development includes:

Online Course Materials

  • Welcome and Background on SCALE-UP
  • Introduction to Active Learning
  • Online forums to partner and connect with faculty across disciplines on active learning strategies

REAL Academy Session: Space and Technology Overview

  • Matching Active Learning Pedagogy with Learning Affordances of Active Spaces and Technology

Optional Opportunities and Resources

  • REAL Faculty Showcase
  • Matching Course Design with Active Learning Pedagogy Workshop
  • Meet and consult with MSU IT – Teaching and Learning Technology instructional designers
  • Faculty Learning Community involvement with faculty panels on active learning pedagogies

Department chairs: REAL space scheduling is tied to faculty members that successfully complete the REAL Academy training.