Learning Environments


Learning Environments

Create easy-to-use physical and virtual learning environments to encourage active, collaboarative, and immersive learning, leveraging the use of the Learning Environment Assessment Plan (LEAP) to provide data-informed recommendations for future innovation (e.g. Mission Valley Campus). 


Centered on creating spaces that support teaching and learning excellence, this activity converges on designing built and online learning environments that are flexible, giving faculty the ability to quickly and easily reorganize and reconfigure layouts and options to facilitate numerous instructional methods. This work will be done in consultation with SDSU faculty, staff and students.

Goals / Deliverables

  • Goals

    • Built: Create easy-to-use physical learning environments to encourage active, collaborative, and immersive learning, leveraging SDSU’s Learning Environment Assessment Plan (LEAP) to provide data-informed recommendations for future innovation (e.g., Mission Valley Campus).
    • Virtual: Create easy-to-use online learning environments to encourage active, collaborative, and immersive learning, leveraging state-of-the-art Learning Management System (LMS) technologies and educational technology software integrations.
  • Deliverables (Physical Environments)

    • Instructional Technology Services is finalizing a 10-year plan for the upgrade of learning spaces to be approved by the Academic Affairs Associate Vice President for Resource Management and Chief Information Officer and President’s Budget Advisory Committee (PBAC). During AY 2018/19, ITS began utilizing the Educause Learning Space Rating System (LSRS) to create a classroom needs analysis to inform a roadmap for our future planning. All general-assignment classrooms on campus have now been scored using the LSRS. The LSRS is playing a key role in developing the 10-year Learning Environment Assessment and Renovation Plan. ITS will utilize several other data points including the Educause Center for Applied Research (ECAR) Faculty and Student Survey in Spring 2020. Also in 2020, ITS will create an interactive map of the current active learning classrooms across the SDSU campus to identify gaps and spaces to focus for the future.
    • Starting in 2019, ITS will work with SDSU students to develop virtual tours of space enhancement possibilities allowing stakeholders to immerse themselves while simultaneously providing feedback that will inform the design choices we make.
    • ITS will continue to conduct experiments with furniture, technology, lighting, colors, room temperatures, plants, and a variety of emerging tools (e.g., natural language processing via Alexa) to improve the learning experience in SDSU classrooms in 2020 and beyond.
  • Deliverables (Virtual Environments)
    • Beginning in Fall 2019, ITS in collaboration with a 47-person advisory group is conducting a pilot test to explore new possibilities and features of the Canvas Learning Management System (LMS). The Fall 2019 pilot includes 22 faculty teaching 26 courses with approximately 1,600 students. In Spring 2020, the Canvas LMS pilot will scale up to include up to >100 faculty. Training workshops will be conducted in Fall 2019 to prepare these faculty to teach with Canvas in Spring 2020. The LMS advisory group’s evaluation sub-committee will collect data from pilot faculty and students throughout the pilot to inform a recommendation to the Chief Information Officer and President’s Budget Advisory Committee (PBAC) in May 2020. The decision whether to switch from Blackboard to Canvas will be made by the PBAC (see timeline below). If SDSU does not switch to Canvas, Blackboard will remain our learning management system. Note: Our current version of Blackboard has a code freeze and will be discontinued, which will require the migration to a new Blackboard user interface and workflow. If Canvas is selected as SDSU’s new LMS, a system migration will be initiated and the transition will begin in Fall 2020 to conclude by Fall 2021.  During this time, SDSU will run Blackboard and Canvas concurrently, allowing faculty time to migrate their materials from Blackboard. Instructional Technology Services will provide training and support for transferring course content from Blackboard as well as designing new courses in Canvas.
    • The Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 cohorts of the Course Design Institute (CDI) provide opportunities for faculty to work with peers from different disciplines to design and develop fully online courses. Collaborating with colleagues outside their usual departmental circles as they develop their courses, the focus is on pedagogy, with a major emphasis on interaction and student engagement. The CDI has been the incubator for the development of nearly 180 fully online courses since its inception in 2008, and is a major contributor to a significant milestone achieved at SDSU during the 2019 Summer Session with an enrollment of more than 10,000 students in fully online courses.
    • Since the launch in Fall 2017, the Virtual Immersive Teaching and Learning (VITaL) initiative, provided a variety of virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality immersive tools for use in 37 courses across the pedagogical spectrum. These courses range from 100-level undergraduate classes to 700-level doctoral research seminars, and represent all colleges at SDSU. Due to increasing demand, we plan to scale up the capacity of both room-based and untethered VITaL resources in 2020 and explore a path toward the creation of a Center for Virtual Immersive Teaching and Learning.


Physical Environments

SDSU 10 Year Plan Learning Spaces


Virtual Environments

Canvas Pilot Timeline



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