Recognizing Campus Landscapes as Learning Spaces
In the article, “Recognizing Campus Landscapes as Learning Spaces,” Kathleen G. Scholl and Gowri Betrabet Gulwadi argue that for students to learn and process information better, they need a balance between indoor and outdoor learning environments. University campuses should play an important role in providing a learning environment for students and it should be more than a modern classroom with all types of technological devices. Students should be in a classroom setting that will help them engage more in the lectures and lessons that are being taught. According to the Journal of Learning Spaces, “well-designed and connected networks of indoor and open spaces on campuses can be key, yet typically overlooked catalysts, in student learning and a strong influence on students’ initial and longstanding experiences that promote a sense of belonging to the learning community” (Scholl, Kathleen). This is highlighting that a classroom does not suffice for a learning environment, and that an open outdoor setting is also vital to the knowledge intake of students and professors.
The increase in technology devices used today has affected the student’s academic learning goals. Curricular and extracurricular activities require a great amount of concentration and it is important to maintain a balance in both activities for a well rounded college experience. Students who engage themselves in extracurricular activities have a more positive and socially active college experience because they learn to interact as a team with other people as opposed to working alone. Many years ago, university founders thought it was more beneficial if the location of the university had a significant distance between the campus and the main part of the city, but at the same time was still open for a large community. It is important for a college campus to have a college setting within a city, so that students feel as if they are living at school while they are independent living alone. In addition, the post war depression of 1930 had an increase in student enrollment which led to the incorporation of automobiles on campus. Students began to take their cars to their universities as a means of fast and easy transportation. Furthermore, by preserving and suitably integrating open spaces into the green infrastructure, universities could add value and quality to the campus environment. According to this article, by forging a campus identity, creating a sense of community, curbing escalating campus density, serving social and recreational needs, providing environmental benefits, and facilitating fundraising and recruitment, faculty and students can be more comfortable and at home at their university campus. For example, “older campus plans emphasized disciplinary boundaries and newer campus designs are more amorphous and integrative.” (Scholl, Kathleen)
It is true that indoor classroom settings offer students a structured education with the chance of less distractions and more direct attention. But, outdoor classrooms give students the opportunity to think outside the box and connect their inner thoughts with nature. When the indoor classroom setting is expanded to the outdoor environment, it enhances the student’s imagination and ability to interact more with nature on a spiritual and physical level. Open space is vital to the quality of learning and adds to the essence of a college campus.
Scholl, Kathleen; Gulwadi, Gowri. “Recognizing Campus Landscapes as Learning Spaces.” Journal of Learning Spaces, vol. 4, no. 1, July 2015.