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The Thinkspace Nexus: University Library Building Cross-Disciplinary Opportunities for Student Innovation and Experiental Learning

Speakers
Mrs Kristna Gurney,
Mr Matthew Davis

The University of Sydney

Abstract

The University Library’s ThinkSpace is the only space at the University of Sydney where students, researchers and sta can experiment with and learn about new technology in a peer supported environment. For free.  

Our students enter ThinkSpace with a question – we help turn that question into a possibility and a real- world learning experience.

Through the ThinkSpace model the Library has been an influencer for other areas of the University, encouraging entrepreneurial innovation and future ready skills development through access to its technology, and the support necessary to innovate and creatively problem solve. Our staff of Peer Learning Advisors are an integral part, guiding and supporting clients through their experiences.

The success of the ThinkSpace model has underpinned the development of similar spaces in the University to support the changing needs of future- ready graduates.

ThinkSpace has been the platform for sparking ideas in faculties, addressing how they can future-ready their students through incorporating experiential learning into their teaching. By utilising the technology resources available, teaching staff have built creativity and engagement into assessment techniques (for example, video assessments and 3D modelling).

Researchers have experimented with ways of using our technology to demonstrate their research through protypes, taking these models to conferences and using them to inform their talks.

ThinkSpace supports and develops Communities of Practice. Opening the doors of ThinkSpace to community meetups, the Library has increased opportunities for our students and researchers to collaborate with industry experts, be inspired by start ups and create the vital networks needed to keep pace with industry. Sharing the space creates a sense of community, belonging and a safe space to try new ideas and encourage the entrepreneurial creativity inside our students.

Other University services like the Innovation Hub and Sydney Data Analytics have realised ThinkSpace’s potential to reach students across disciplines. Through these collaborative relationships students are getting access to the cross-disciplinary experiences they require to perform successfully in today’s competitive industry environment. 

The presentation will cover:

  • Cross disciplinary collaborations

  • Development of CoP

  • Programs to support innovation

  • Opportunities built through community & industry engagement

  • Case Studies