Assistant Professor Meghan Mick of the Interior Architecture and Design Department has been exploring the concepts of landscape architecture and graphics for outdoor research classrooms. During the Fall 2021 semester, Mick has taken note of different places on campus that have the potential to perform various activities for students’ learning and growth. Mick’s outdoor research classrooms project is still in the planning phase; however, she is hopeful to move forward with a conceptual design base in the upcoming months.
“The mapping and assessment exercise that I completed over the Summer of 2021 offered a good baseline of information. There are a number of spaces on campus that offer opportunities for outdoor learning.” Mick said. She has mapped 20 existing and 18 potential spaces based on her developed methodology, and she is now in the process of collecting information from the University on the most heavily used zones of campus for (indoor) classrooms, and what different classifications of courses are offered here at Florida State (lecture, lab, etc.). Mick’s goal is to also engage in a dialogue with instructors on their interests and/or obstacles to teaching outdoors. “The biggest missing piece is the firsthand information (talking to instructors and students),” said Mick. “but ideally, that can be gathered over the next couple of months in order to move forward with a conceptual design phase.”
When asked about the benefits the outdoor classroom research has brought to students and to their careers, Mick said, “I’m not sure of the impact that the research has had thus far, as it is still in the infancy stage. My hope is that it will expand students’ (and instructors’) notions of where, and how to engage in optimum learning. I also hope that it will get students outside more often and realize/ take advantage of the inherent benefits of being outdoors. It is the ultimate biophilic design!”