A sticky campus is a digitally-enabled space where students want to spend time, even when they don’t have a formal teaching session to go to. It’s a learning environment designed to give students everything they need for collaborative and solitary study, and to promote active learning. It supports inclusivity and enables rich learning experiences.
Two of our student partners, Jake Forecast and Paulina Pawlak, have been trying out a sticky campus for themselves. Here’s their verdict.
Sticky campus is great for...
The tutor can show their smart device screen on a main screen, and students’ screens can appear here, too. It enables a collective learning experience and makes it possible for teaching staff to set work and give instant comment and feedback as the students create it on screen.
Making good use of time
Students can post questions as they think of them, and get answers straight away.
Giving less confident students a chance to contribute
Quieter students can ask their questions without having to speak out loud. They don’t even have to identify themselves; their name only appears on screen if they choose to sign in.
Making learning interesting
Paulina and Jake both note that if lectures are dull and over-reliant on PowerPoint, there’s no real need for students to attend university – and it’s pretty unrewarding when they do. In contrast, sticky campus offers more opportunities for engagement and for learning in new ways.
Getting useful, real-time feedback
...from staff and from other students. Our student guinea pigs especially like the polling tools as a way to keep people engaged and to identify topics that need more discussion.
Providing better value for money
Paulina and Jake say the sticky campus space feels like it has been designed with students and their learning needs in mind. They say they want to feel like valued customers and to be given a learning experience that is high quality. Uninspiring, one-size-fits-all teaching makes them feel fobbed off and patronised.
Richer learning experiences keep students engaged and encourage them to follow interesting new paths. And for Jake, the possibilities he sees in sticky campus are already giving him new ideas that could transform his own teaching practice when he begins working in primary schools.
There’s more work to be done on sticky campus in these areas...
Getting academics to engage
Our own subject specialist Duncan Peberdy acknowledges that some teaching staff fight shy of the technology. That’s a shame because both Jake and Paulina feel cheated when a tutor doesn’t grasp the opportunities offered by digital tools and, they say, it’s easy to spot the ones who are just delivering teaching in the same way that they always have done.
Bringing all students on board
And it’s not just academics who can drag their feet. Some students also aren’t motivated to work in new ways and may not want to engage with technology.
Getting the ergonomics right
Making sure there’s enough space for people to work in, and that screens and seats are correctly spaced, is a challenge that can have a significant impact on collaborative working.
Making it work for bigger groups
Paulina, in particular, frequently has lectures with 300 or so other students. She’s doubtful that sticky campus can work at that scale and there’s certainly an issue about how to get so many people connecting to a service simultaneously.
Throughout 2019 we’re taking our sticky campus roadshow to locations around the country so universities and colleges can try it out. Booking is now open for our Manchester event on 17 October 2019.
Find out more about the roadshow and our workshops, on our sticky campus project page.