About the Active Learning Center

The Active Learning Center classroom is designed to promote engagement, creativity, and collaboration. The classroom, made possible through a grant from Steelcase Education, allows for a better understanding of how learning takes place, and how smarter, more active learning spaces help. The Active Learning Center is located in the lower level of Madonna Hall, at the intersection of D’Youville College and Leonardo da Vinci High School. 

The Active Learning Center is managed by the ITI. To reserve the Active Learning Center, please place a request in 25Live. For details regarding the Active Learning Center, contact Leah MacVie at macviel@dyc.edu.

Spring 2021 Training Date (TBA):
in the Active Learning Center

Open to all D’Youville and da Vinci faculty. No need to sign up; just show up. Every attendee receives a pack of D’Youville IDEA cards. 

  • 9:45-10:15pm
  • 11:45-12:15pm
  • 12:30-1pm
  • 1:15-1:45pm

Active Classroom Modes

The Active Learning Center allows students and instructors to alter the flow of learning within their environment by offering a combination of flexible furniture choices to create different zones. Different zones include group breakout mode, discussion mode, and presentation mode. 



A demo of group breakout sessions.



A demo of discussion sessions.



A demo of presentation sessions.

IDEA Cards

The Institute for Teaching Innovation developed IDEA Cards. IDEAs are intentionally designed educational activities featured in the book Teaching for Learning by Major, Harris, and Zakrajsek. These activities compliment each of the modes listed above. 

Download PDFs of the IDEA Cards (Front) (Back)

Download the ALC Training Presentation 

The Institute for Teaching Innovation has packs of these cards available for all Leonardo da Vinci teachers and D’Youville faculty. 

ALC Study Requirements

Beginning of the semester:

  1. Sign the informed consent letter. 
  2. Attend one Instructor Training Session that includes:
    1. Filling out the before Active Learning Steelcase survey based on your previous, traditional classroom.
    2. IDEA Card Training (See 1. below)
  3. Steelcase Evaluation Tool

Throughout the semester:

  1. Peer Observation (See 2. below)
  2. Write 3x 1 paragraph self-reflections (1 each month, Sept.-Nov. or Feb.-Apr.)

End of the semester:

  1. Participate in an interview with the PI (Leah MacVie, PhD)
  2. Fill out the after Active Learning Steelcase survey.

  1. Instructor Pre-trainingThe D’Youville College Institute for Teaching Innovation (ITI) will provide college faculty and high school instructors Intentionally Designed Educational Activity (IDEA) training prior to teaching in the ALC. IDEA training is based upon evidence-based active learning methods and activities (Michael, 2006; Prince, 2004) that are designed to support instructors operating in active learning classrooms
  2. Peer ObservationInstructors will be encouraged to attend classroom observation sessions (peer observations and cross-institutional observations) which allow observation of instructional processes free from instructional responsibilities. This is important because research shows that students make greater learning achievement gains when their instructors are involved with colleague observation and on-the-job learning (Jackson & Bruegmann, 2009). Additionally, cross-institutional observations require high school instructors to think critically about preparing their students for future higher education demands and college instructors to consider teaching methods that resonate among the future generation of students’ needs.