The amphitheatre at the University of Wollongong is all of a sudden popular with students.
Those in the know believe this surge in popularity has a lot to do with new informal learning pods.
A UOW spokesperson said these pods in the amphitheatre space were installed over the summer break as part of an ongoing program to provide more informal learning spaces for students.
"The amphitheatre makeover changed the landscaping to make the space more welcoming and comfortable and added power and data to support students study," the spokesperson said.
The makeover seems to have worked big time, with a number of students the Mercury spoke to, saying they hardly ever used to spend any time at the amphitheatre before the makeover.
Now they can't get enough of the "stylish and convenient" pods.
One student said the pods were especially handy for outdoor learning.
"It's great to be able to spend time outdoors studying and doing work, especially when it's warm out," she said.
"It's also great there are so many pods in different parts of campus."
A number of other areas around the UOW main campus have been renovated to provide students with more flexible, functional and comfortable informal learning spaces.
This includes new informal learning spaces:
- under the Building 36 Awning and on the McKinnon lawn;
- on the ground floor of the UOW Library;
- in Building 11 in the Student Hub, Outdoor Terrace and Level 1 Terrace;
- in the Building 39A Outdoor Learning Area;
- at the White Cedar Courtyard (between Buildings 35, 14 and 15);
- at the Woolyungah Indigenous Centre;
New outdoor learning pods have also been constructed on the lawn in front of Building 41.
The informal learning spaces are designed to utilise natural light; provide connectivity; be comfortable and functional; be suitable for use by both individuals and groups of different sizes for private study, to socialise, or to work on collaborative projects; and to involve visual and interactive learning.
The UOW spokesperson said the design principles were shaped by responses to a survey asking students what they wanted to see in these spaces.