Next Generation Learning Spaces

Over the last two years, UCC has held a number of funding calls and events on the subject of Next Generation Learning Spaces. As a result of these initiatives, a number of resources around the area of Next Generation learning Spaces have been gathered and they are available at the below links.

Learning Spaces Resources 

  • A list of resources on learning spaces is available from this page
  • A number of videos about learning spaces is available from this page


Learning Spaces Examples

While working on the project, the Instructional Design team developed a basic taxonomy of learning spaces (shown above) and the following pages outline examples of the different types of learning spaces


In addition to this, a seminar on Next Generation Learning Spaces was hosted by OVPTL, in the Creative Zone of the Boole Library on the 11th of October 2017. Professor John O’Halloran, launched the event and spoke about UCC’s recently upgraded teaching spaces and the initiatives underway to transform learning spaces across our campus and to understand what next generation learning environments at UCC might look like. Keynote guest speaker Professor Stephen Heppell, shared the latest innovative developments in the fields of learning, new media and technology. Professor Heppell is a professor at Bournemouth University and a pioneer in the future of learning,  he specialises in the use of ICT in education. He provided the delegates with insights into the design of learning space derived from his more than three decades of research on using technology to transform education. Details of the speakers are available below and to watch the seminar in full, click here.

About the Guest Speakers:

Professor John O’Halloran is the Deputy President & Registrar for Teaching & Learning at University College Cork, where he sits on a number of management committees including the University Management Team, the IT Steering Group, the Academic Council Teaching & Learning and eLearning committees and the Honorary Degree Board.

He was previously Head of School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, where he still holds the Chair in Zoology. He is also a former Vice-Head of College of Science, Engineering and Food Science, a role he fulfilled for five years. He has held academic posts in Cardiff and Maine and has delivered lectures widely across Europe, North America and in Bermuda. He was awarded the President’s prize for Teaching and honorary membership of the Students Union of Ireland for his contributions to graduate education, policies and structures. John is a founding member and current Director of UCC’s Quercus Talented Students’ Programme. John is also the Chair of the Green Campus Forum at UCC which has received many awards in recognition of its efforts to promote the Green Agenda at UCC. Click here for John’s presentation.


Professor Stephen Heppell, Professor of New Media Environments at the Centre for Excellence in Media Practice, Bournemouth University. Stephen has worked on a vast number of large scale projects over three decades which has established him internationally, as a widely and fondly recognised leader in the fields of learning, new media and technology ( A school teacher for more than a decade, and a professor since 1989, Stephen has worked and is working on, learner led projects, with international governments bodies, international agencies, Fortune 500 companies, schools and communities, PhD students and many influential trusts and  organisations.

“We seem to have sleepwalked into a world of learning where the primary driver is history. Encouragingly however, a drive to build better Learning is being driven not by architects and policy makers, but by the learners themselves worldwide as they swap and explore the complexity and detail of effective practice. Make no mistake: it IS complex, but it’s also spectacularly affordable.”

Click here for Stephen’s presentation.


Mark Poland is the Director of Building & Estates. Together with the Capital Projects Officer, the Director is responsible for the overall strategic physical development of the University. This strategic planning is guided by the Physical Development Plan approved by the Buildings Committee and Govering body in June 2004. This plan is supported by strategic plans for conservation of the University’s physical and natural assets (Conservation Plan) and a strategy for sustainble commuting (Commuter Plan). The Director of Buildings & Estates is responsible for the administration of space allocation in the University. The University building stock consists of 155,000m2 of buildings across 120 individual properties and 130 acres of land.



Michael O’Sullivan is the Architectural Draughtsperson at the Buildings & Estates Office since 2004. As part of the Minor Works Design Team his responsibilities include Design and Management of Minor Works Projects, Planning, Mapping, Signage and Technical Support to Capital Projects and Maintenance Staff. Click here for Mark & Michael’s presentation.




Colette McKenna – Director of Library Services

“The Library of the future is a place where people are at the centre. People desire spaces where they can gather, where they can learn, where they can live and play.  The library of the future is equipped to empower people toward knowledge.

Through technology rich amenities, organised cultural & exhibit spaces, and a mixed-use approach to learning that incorporates everything from entrepreneurship and makerspaces to flipped classrooms and nap pods, library services of the future will meet people where they are – and transform themselves into the many iterations of the imagination. The Library of the Future must functionally preserve its assets and cultural artifacts to realise its potential as an iconic place at the nexus of knowledge and culture.”

Click here for Colette’s presentation.


Dr Mike Cosgrave – is a lecturer in the School of History in University College Cork. Mike completed his Masters on the History of Beamish & Crawford and his PhD on Irish Participation in the UN Operation in the Congo. Mike has also completed the Cert & Diploma in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, and has ongoing interests in the scholarship of teaching and learning, and in the use of simulations and games in teaching. Mike blogs and maintains an online archive of publications at

“Shaping a harmonious balance between the three partners in the marriage of pedagogy, physical space and technology is a complex dance. Here we reflect on some parts of the puzzle. Some of the pairs have the been the subject of extensive research: teaching and learning, cognition and metacognition, real and virtual space, technology and learning, physical and virtual spaces. Here, we suggest some points of connection between towards a fuller model.”

Click here for Mike’s presentation.


Daniel Blackshields is a lecturer in the Department of Economics in University College, Cork ( He also teaches and supervises on the certified programmes for CIRTL – the Centre for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning in UCC ( Daniel holds an MBS (Business Economics). In 2009, he received an MA in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education for his thesis on the use of the Teaching for Understanding Framework and Sherlock Holmes narratives as a teaching tool for developing problem-solving, metacognitive skills, Arts-based Initiatives, reflection and integrative for economics and business students, lecturers and business. This work was published in Innovative Business School Teaching (Routledge, 2013). Daniel has presented nationally and internationally on teaching for understanding, integrative learning and creativity.

Click here for Daniel’s presentation.