An Outdoor Approach to Learning

Pop-up classrooms may be a familiar site this spring semester. As students start to trickle back to campus, one of the many things Northwest Vista College is implementing is outdoor learning.

A recent KSAT article featured NVC and its innovative learning approach that could help in a pandemic. NVC President Dr. Ric Baser told KSAT:

“These kind of pop up classes give us really an expanded space and afford the teachers another venue to teach.”

NVC’s College Services team, along with Fred Rodriguez, the director of Education for Workplace Resource, lead this initiative.

Felix Salinas, NVC director of Information & Communication Technologies, said in addition to the two existing outdoor classrooms (near Live Oak Hall and Lago Vista Lake), they were able to create seven more classrooms. The outdoor spaces will seat from 6 to 12 students.

“We are looking at other spaces, such as the patio area of the Palmetto Center for the Arts, areas near Juniper Hall, and other spaces across the college, including most patio areas and some of the balconies,” Felix added.

Early on in the pandemic, Felix said, they started analyzing the campus for alternative and safe spaces for students to learn.

The outdoor classrooms are set up with tiered seating so barstool type of chairs are in the back to provide better line of sight and lower seats are up front. The campus has enough WiFi coverage to supply each outdoor classroom, and the IT department is looking to purchase portable high-powered chargers that could keep phones and laptops charged.

Faculty interested in teaching outdoors would have to go through their department administrative assistants and deans to schedule a space.

The outdoor classrooms would also provide opportunities for students to go outside to wait for their next class instead of congregating in halls, which will help with social distancing.

To see some of the outdoor spaces, click on the KSAT story:

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