Academic Innovation Studio Implementation Project

Connect. Create. Inspire

Photo of the AIS Interior

Collaboration in the new AIS.  Photo taken by Blitz Architecture.

February 2016, Educational Technology Services (ETS) and campus partners opened a new collaborative service space for teaching and learning innovation in Dwinelle Hall, the Academic Innovation Studio(link is external).  The space was being developed in close collaboration with the Center for Teaching and Learning(link is external)Research Information Technologies(link is external), the Library(link is external), the Digital Humanities Project(link is external), the Berkeley Resource Center for Online Education(link is external), and other partners.  The space will occupy more than two thousand square feet on the South end of Dwinelle Hall (D-Level) and will provide fully staffed walk-in support for ETS services, consultations with ETS and partners, a self-service recording studio, post-production workstations, space for workshops, trainings, and seminars, and special events.

The Academic Innovation Studio is now open! 
Please visit the Academic Innovation Studio Website(link is external) for more information. 


To address changes at UC Berkeley and beyond, and address opportunities and identified instructor needs, the “collaborative services space” will be a place that:

  1. Meets instructors where they are by supporting a range of instructor needs from basic to cutting-edge, offering choice and flexibility in services (e.g. digital options), and accommodating a range of activities across the spectrum of teaching and research.
  2. Connects instructors to each other by facilitating peer-to-peer learning, making activities visible in the space, and showcasing instructor work to spark serendipitous connections.
  3. Creates a safe space for exploration and risk-taking that helps instructors feel at ease, and extends beyond the “Digital Studio” to offer support in the classroom when and where faculty need it.
  4. Offers proactive, integrated guidance by clarifying paths and options, connecting across partners, and seamlessly elevating transactional interactions to opportunities for building trust and developing relationships.
  5. Advocates for and empathizes with instructors by capturing and directly addressing instructors’ biggest needs, and creating incentives for instructors to utilize support.
  6. Positively impacts the student learning experience by incorporating students into the process and helping instructors to better engage them.

Interactive Planning Exercises

Photo of people sitting around a table with cards and a discussion leader standing

Interactive Planning Exercises

During an interactive session with instructors, in small groups they explored abstract images to represent the current and desired future state of support for technology in teaching & learning. We uncovered current challenges and goals for changing the way these services are discovered and provided on campus.

Large bulletin board chart to map out the Ideal Experience. Individual to group bottom to top and timeline across the bottom

Instructors design an ideal experience

Groups of instructors were asked to identify and describe a teaching and learning goal they thought ETS should support. Then they designed an ideal experience through that journey, from inspiration to realization using post-it notes. Many insights around instructors challenges, needs and current gaps were identified.

People around a table using colored game chips to identify what should happen where in the new space

Chips help us define the spaces within the space!

Stakeholders of the new Dwinelle space collaborated on the kinds of activities that should be supported and how much of a footprint we could dedicate to each. Each chip represents square feet and the boxes available represent the square feet allotted. This group exercise allowed us to talk through needs and trade offs in a very real way.

Overview photo of using colored chips to define what should happen in each area of the new space

The space plan in chips!

Each poker chip color represents a different kind of activity we envision in the space, like consults, events, gallery space, cozy seating, storage, etc. Collaboratively with stakeholders from ETS, CTL, the Library, RIT and BRCOE we created this space plan. The chips that fit in the boundaries represent the real square footage of the space and enabled us to create a shared vision of how much of what we could develop.

White board with writings describing people's vision for the new space

A collaborative vision created with stakeholders across campus

With stakeholders from ETS and other campus partners, we spent a half day exploring the vision for our new space and services provided in it. Facilitated by Brightspot[link to brightspot], we engaged in several interactive activities culminating in a rough picture of the shared vision, partially represented by this whiteboard picture.

Photo of people standing in the unfinished space discussing where items should be located

Figuring it out by trying it out!

We used a service design technique called Bodystorming to act out (prototype) a few key scenarios we want to support in the new space. We set the stage with props (signage, furniture, equipment) in the newly demoed space (before construction started) and focused on our interactions and the choices we made and didn’t make make. We gained empathy and insight into how we can provide the right experience for our users in the new space.

Project Timeline

Major Milestones:

  • Summer/Fall 2015: Planning
  • Spring 2016: Soft Launch
  • Summer 2016: Official Opening

Spring 2015 Report

This report summarizes the current state and changing contexts relative to instructional support at UC Berkeley, the opportunities and vision for the new collaborative support space, and the space and preliminary service strategies to help accomplish that vision.