Better learning in the new Domus Juridica building

When studies commence in 2020, we will finally be able to start using the new Domus Juridica building. The design and equipment in the building will be a great boost in terms of the students’ learning environment, says Dean of Studies Erling Hjelmeng.

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The illustration shows how a learning room may look like in Domus Juridica (Illustration: MAD arkitekter)

- If we are to have academic dialogue, collaboration and discussion between the students, we have to make provisions to enable it’, Dean of Studies Erling Hjelmeng says. He is referring to the newly built Domus Juridica (DJ) building and the teaching options it offers. The building will be open for teaching as of the start of the 2020 semester. At last, all the students will be accommodated in a single building, along with all services and library facilities.

Erling is looking forward to the new opportunities to promote students' learning in a new learning environment. He mentions more student-active teaching, premises that facilitate interaction and law education in the future. But what exactly can the students expect to meet?

The students’ meeting place

Studiedekan Erling Hjelmeng
Dean of studies Erling Hjelmeng (foto: Egil Jahren/UiO)

- The old buildings were built at a time when there was a different view of teaching, meaning that there were many auditoriums and reading halls’, Erling says. - There are few flexible rooms and meeting places for the students, only the occasional bench or windowsill, and perhaps a cafeteria’. Domus Nova has helped somewhat, but in the classrooms, the students still sit in a "school bus arrangement".

When the faculty was invited to contribute to the design of the New Domus Juridica, we were given an opportunity to do things differently. The resulting layout provides may spaces where one can meet and mingle, more study group rooms and "colloquium sofas" and teaching rooms that can be adapted to different types of teaching. Many of these have a standard "horseshoe" seating pattern. This will provide for more of what Erling refers to as close-range teaching.

- We want more teaching of the type that enables the student to be more active both in and outside the classroom, Hjelmeng explains. - The new premises facilitate a "flipped classroom" and can be used for more than one-way lectures.

Perhaps equally important, however, in Hjelmeng’s opinion, is the fact that the building will accommodate all the students under the same roof. He is confident that this will be a great boost for the students' social environment.

Arena for new types of teaching

When speaking about the new building in Tullinløkka, Erling also talks at great length about experience-based learning. This means that the student learns by doing, for example by working with cases, role-playing and simulations or by working "in the field", such as in the Juss-Buss pro-bono legal aid clinic.

- In experience-based learning, you will process what you read, not merely absorb it, Hjelmeng explains. - You need to put theory into use in realistic practice situations, or through actual assignments contracted by the business community. When you work in this way, you understand the theory and remember it better; it becomes deeper learning.

Experience-based learning at the Faculty of Law (JUS)

The faculty has a dedicated development centre for experience-based learning, established in 2018. Dean of Studies Erling Hjelmeng is one of the leaders at the centre. Read more:

CELL - Centre for Experiential Legal Learning (Norwegian)

This type of teaching is not new to the faculty; one example is Sverre Blandhol’s course JUS5070 - Negotiations (Norwegian). Domus Juridica, however, better equips the faculty to conduct student-active teaching. For example, the premises make it easy for students to step out of the classroom and find a suitable place for group work.

- I think I studied in a conventional way during my own studies, Erling continues. - It involved a lot of reading in the reading hall on my own. But then I became a research assistant. I then became affiliated with an academic specialist environment together with a group of students; we had our own meeting place where we could have discussions, share knowledge and learn from each other. I benefitted enormously from this. This is why I think everyone should have the same opportunity, and I am confident that we can implement this at Domus Juridica.

Read the facts concerning Domus Juridica under the illustration


Utsnitt av en plantegning, viser et kollokvierom
We will have many more group discussion rooms in Domus Juridica (draft floor plan from Entra).

State of the Art

Domus Juridica is described as a new power centre for learning law, with consolidated student services and a design that supports learning with the best technical equipment. The following are some selected facts about the building:

  • 23 teaching facilities, including 2 course classrooms with PCs and 2 large auditoriums. Recording options in all rooms, wireless connection to laptop screens, tablet or mobile device (both for teacher and student). Top-notch audio and light equipment.
  • 41 Group discussion rooms and colloquium sofas.
  • All study rooms have computer monitors and video conferencing options, with options for connecting to their own devices. Self-service system for finding available group discussion rooms (etc.)
  • The colloquium sofas do not have a camera or fixed PC, but do have a (touch) screen to which you can connect your own devices.
  • The library, info centre and Juriteket (Student IT services) will be located together on the second floor.
  • Canteen and socializing zones on the first floor.
  • 900 seats in the reading room, 250 seats in the canteen, 100 seats around the building’s atrium. A total of 2500-3000 seats available to students in the building.
  • Bicycle garage in the basement.
  • The building will house both students and staff. The following entities will have their offices here:
    • Department of Criminology and Sociology of Law
    • Norwegian Centre for Human Rights
    • PluriCourts
    • Law Library
    • JSU - Law Students Society
    • Info Centre and Juriteket (Student IT services)
    • The Faculty Administration
Published Sep. 9, 2019 9:53 AM - Last modified Sep. 9, 2019 9:53 AM