With the versatility of temporary structures, we have seen a rise in the use of temporary outdoor classroom space for universities.
There has been a real rise in universities making a move towards outdoor classrooms for their students in the last few years. While a lot of this has been because of the pandemic and a need to keep students safe, the benefits have been much deeper than this. Let’s take a look at why an outdoor classroom hold so many benefits for students.
1. Allowing For In Person Learning During COVID
While we may see COVID become endemic within the next few years, there is still a lot of concern about spreading the virus around campus. No one wants to come down with it and potentially expose others to it, so you need to take special care when teaching.
At the beginning of the pandemic, a lot of learning had to take place virtually. This was a good stop gap measure to take, but it wasn’t going to work long term. Many lectures and classes need interaction with others, face to face. It just wasn’t going to work if everyone was stuck behind a screen.
That’s why universities started to utilize outdoor classroom space. Having a classroom outdoors allowed for more space and better air flow, two things that really help with stopping the spread of the virus. If the university was in a place with a temperate climate, it allowed them to take advantage of it too. Classes could take place as normal, just outdoors instead.
It allowed students to come back and start learning with others again, something that most wanted to do. As such, it offered universities a good middle ground when it came to safety.
2. Improving Student Mental Health
This is a surprising point, but it’s true. Holding classes outdoors can actually help improve a student’s overall mental health.
How does this work? Many students are under a lot of pressure, with university classes, assignments, work, and family duties on top of other things. It’s so easy for them to get burnt out and be unable to keep up with everything. Plus, as they’re working they’re typically cooped up indoors for hours on end. It’s not a great way to work or live.
Some universities are seeing this, and have been looking for ways to help their students. That’s where outdoor classroom space comes in. Whether they’re under purpose built structures or temporary buildings, the fact they’re outdoors helps a lot. Getting fresh air and different scenery helps them unwind a little and get the most out of their learning.
This was also a reason for using outdoor classrooms during the height of the pandemic. Students were struggling because they had to study in isolation. They weren’t able to study or engage socially with others, so it had a huge impact on their mental health. Being able to come into university and be with others was a huge boon to their wellbeing.
3. Improving Academic Performance
Again, it’s a surprising outcome of outdoor classrooms, but it makes a lot of sense once you think about it. Several studies in grade school aged children showed that when they had a mix of indoor and outdoor learning, they actually managed to pay attention for longer in class overall. When they were able to do that, they could absorb more and get more out of the their classes. It also allowed them to learn without distracting others.
While that works for children, it can work for adults in university too. Being in nature offers a lot of health benefits. It reduces stress, improves immune function, and allows for better concentration overall. As such, implementing outdoor classroom space can seriously help their learning and so boost their overall grades.
This is true even if you’re simply holding the same lecture outdoors as you would indoors. Just being outside can do wonders for students, so it’s something more universities are considering.
4. Create More Teaching Space
On a more practical note, you have to consider just how much space you have for your students overall. With bigger class sizes and more demand for certain classes and subjects, you may find your campus is stretched for space. How can you accommodate this extra demand, while still using the space that you have?
This is another reason why several universities have been using outdoor classes as a solution on campus. You most likely have some wide outdoor spaces that aren’t otherwise being used. They can be put into service as outdoor classrooms, so you can accommodate all those classes. It’s a cost effective option, as you’ll be able to bring in those extra students without having to buy more land or build more buildings on the same lot.
It’s also helpful as you may not need those classrooms year round. If it’s a temporary need for more space, those outdoor classrooms can fit the bill nicely. Temporary university classroom space is perfect for this, as they offer all the benefits of a permanent building without the costs, and can be taken down when necessary.
There’s also the option to build more permanent outdoor classrooms with large sail roofs, if that’s what will work better for your campus. With so many options, there’s going to be something that works for you.
5. Keep Costs Down
Finally, using an outdoor classroom will go a long way towards keeping costs down on campus. You’ve seen some of this already in the previous points. An outdoor classroom will be something that just requires land that you already have. There’s no need to pay for more buildings or land, so you’re making the most of what you have.
If you’re using a temporary structure too, you’ll see that these are highly cost effective. They allow you to create a full classroom to your own needs, without having to spend a lot out of your budget. As such, they’re something to look into.
As you’ve seen, outdoor classrooms are something that are drastically improving both student life and campuses as a whole. If you’re not already using an outdoor classroom, it’s time to look into them. Perhaps they could be the right thing for your campus?