Our vision is that classroom spaces at the University of Waterloo foster the best work of our instructors and students because their design and redevelopment are user-centred, inclusive, and forward-thinking, performed with transparency of process.

The following principles for classroom design will enable us to operationalize this vision, addressing both physical design and the design process. They represent a different way of operating around decisions for new classroom builds and upgrades. The outcomes associated with each principle identify a desired future state that can be realized when the principles are used for decision-making about classroom design.

Principle Desired outcome
1. Plan classrooms that fit with institutional needs and directions A central body (Teaching and Learning Spaces - Operations), with broad representation and access to relevant institutional data, provides recommendations for classroom evolution to a steering committee. The recommendations uphold the institutional classroom vision and ensure the University has an inventory of classrooms that accommodates student numbers (capacity) and instructors’ various pedagogical needs within the allocated budget.
2. Enable innovative and diverse instructional practices that facilitate interactivity The campus inventory includes a mix of room designs (e.g., lecture-style rooms, flexible learning spaces, active learning classrooms) that enable dynamic and participatory engagement during class time, both student-to-student and student-to-instructor.
3. Apply an iterative, consultative, and informed design and feedback process to classroom planning The design process includes all stakeholder groups, is based on research and documented best practices, and has an evaluation plan that informs current and future classroom standards. These classroom standards are documented and are used by internal and external designers. The outcomes of the consultative process are used in the classroom planning process.
4. Ensure our classroom designs are inviting Classroom designs are physically comfortable and visually appealing for instructors and students, and meet or exceed provincial accessibility requirements.