Indiana University Immersion 2018 Event Recap

Members Meet at Indiana University-Bloomington for Three-Day Excursion

August 2018

IMG_9764 (1).jpg

What defines a holistic approach to scaling active learning on our campuses? How do you involve and engage faculty in the design process? What smart technologies work best in the classroom? These were a few of the many questions we explored at this summer’s Indiana University Immersion.

Sony Collaborative Immersions are events co-hosted with Sony at our member campuses to showcase each school's advances in active learning pedagogy, technology, and research. These events are an opportunity to share insights and to iterate around these shared learnings as a community of practice. This most recent event took us to Indiana University-Bloomington, from July 30 through August 2, 2018, for a three-day learning excursion.

Indiana University-Bloomington is one of nine campuses of IU’s major public university system. Forty-six thousand students alone are enrolled on the IU-Bloomington campus. Our gracious Immersion hosts, The Indiana University Information Technology Services team (UITS) manages more than 900 classrooms for 110,000 students. An impressive feat! Led by Julie Johnston, UITS is committed to creating optimal learning environments for both faculty and students. Everything the team touches is intentional by design with the goal to drive effective faculty engagement in the co-design of classrooms.


During the IU Immersion, we:

  • Explored Indiana University’s Active Learning Spaces, including the Data Center, the Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative, Teter Hall, and the School of Informatics

  • Engaged in roundtable discussions with members of IU's Mosaic Initiative Fellowship program

  • Participated in a hands-on design challenge session on Active Learning Space Design led by Tracey Birdwell, Principle Instructional Technology Consultant, Mosaic Initiative

  • ...and more!



“With our work with the [Sony] Collaborative, we can change the trajectory of active learning on college campuses, especially with Sony’s resources and support.” - Brad Wheeler, Indiana University CIO

The first day of the Immersion kicked off with a tour of IU’s Data Center and their Media Digitization and Prioritization Initiative. A cocktail reception and dinner followed at the Cyberinfrastructure Building where the University Information Technology Services team mostly resides.

Brad Wheeler, Chief Information Officer and Vice President of Communications and Marketing at Indiana University, welcomed the Collaborative members with an anecdote from his early days of teaching and learning. Brad pioneered the need for active classroom technology in IU’s classrooms, and is now a leader and champion for active learning projects on campus.


Stacy Marrone, Associate Provost of Learning Technologies at Indiana University, teed up the day with a warm welcome to the campus in one of IU’s most innovative classrooms: a historic space that was once a woman’s pool house built in 1906, recently converted into a collaborative learning space that fits 96 students.

By design, the classroom does not have a central focal point, nudging the professor to walk around and engage with students without risking line of sight. In Stacy’s words, this classroom “describes how we approach things here at IU.”

Highlights of Day 2:

  • A roundtable discussion with the six Mosaic Fellows from the Mosaic Active Learning Initiative—a group of 76 IU faculty members who’ve created a faculty community to develop, investigate, and design evidence-based active learning practices, principles, and the classrooms that support these strategies on campus. The Mosaic Fellows are designing and preparing others to teach in IU’s range of active learning classrooms. This Fellowship is led by Tracy Birdwell, Principle Instructional Technology Consultant, Mosaic Initiative.

  • A Mosaic design symposium where we brainstormed while in groups in an active learning classroom—a collaborative exercise in creativity, empathy, and visioning. We replicated a design session the Mosaic Active Learning Initiative executed with input from staff, students, and faculty in order to explore the classroom of the future on IU’s campus.

  • A tour of campus lead by Julie Johnston, Director of Learning Spaces at IU, including Franklin Hall, the IU Media School; Teter Hall, examples of non-traditional active learning spaces; and the School of Informatics’ Learning Community.

  • A tour of Upland Brewery, a local wood-aged sour ale brewery, and community dinner at Samira, a family-owned Afghani restaurant.


On our final day, we shifted focus to our other member schools to hear their reflections and relative personal experiences.

Three of our members led lightning talks on what innovation and student engagement looks like on their own campuses, including Kim Westemeier and Katie Kassof of American University; Emily Isaacs of Montclair State University; and Julie Donnelly of the University of Central Florida.

The sessions concluded with a final hands-on design challenge led by Patrice Torcivia Prusko of Entangled Studios, and an overview of the Active Learning Lifecycle Mapping Initiative by Don Merritt of the University of Central Florida.


“Thank you [Indiana University] for letting us look into your process. We are at the beginning of our own, and to see your journey and how we can take these things and adapt them for our own purposes is great. We appreciate it.” -Kim Westemeier, American University

  • Relationship and collaboration are key to creating a successfully holistic active learning initiative. Invite multiple disciplines, faculty and students to co-create with you.

  • The perception of IT has shifted profoundly on campuses where IT teams have taken on more of a facilitator role in learning space design

  • Active learning initiatives can be vehicles to change the perception of faculty professional development.

  • Faculty experience should be woven into an iterative design process that informs evidence-based learning space design.


On behalf of the Sony Collaborative, we would like to extend a huge thank you to the UITS team, especially Stacy Morrone, Julie Johnson, Ivana Park, and Karen Garrett for their hands-on support and hospitality.

P.S. Don’t forget to RSVP for 2nd Annual Next Generation Learning Summit at EDUCAUSE 2018! Come celebrate our first year as a community of practice. Together, we’ll be gathering at SPACE Gallery to share insights, discuss highlights, and toast to an inaugural year of innovation and collaboration! Register your spot today.