Description of concept

by Carol Cross

A Community Teaching and Learning Facility Coop

The goal of IICNH is to create a physical space for teaching and learning activities that will be shared by a variety of different people who regularly organize such activities. The plan is to make the project financially sustainable by (1) establishing a non-profit and fundraising, and (2) charging all the learners (memberships for all the people who come, by family - MariaD) a small monthly fee to belong to IICNH. Once the learners have paid the monthly fee, they are eligible to take any appropriate classes offered through IICNH. Thus, once a learner has joined IICNH in order to take classes from their favorite science teacher, they can also enroll in classes offered by the art teacher who shares the space, or participate in a math club or other activity organized by other instructors.

Coop Organizers/Teachers will schedule time using the facility for classes or other activities that they organize and promote themselves. Teachers will set their own prices (from free to whatever the market will bear) for the activities they offer, and collect and keep any revenue from those activities. However, teachers will “pay” for their use of the space by offering free classes that will be open to the IICNH learners/members, based on the number of hours they are using the facility for their self-organized activities (for example, one hour of open IICNH class for every four hours of self-organized use). This will give the learners/members an added value to paying the membership fee in addition to participating in the coop or class they initially signed up to attend. Teachers may also be expected to contribute a certain number of hours per month to IICNH administrative and promotional duties, and/or the number of hours individual teachers spend on such duties each month will determine priority in scheduling their classes/activities.

Ideally, the facility will be large enough to provide several different types of spaces that could be used concurrently. There should be one large open space that would be appropriate to larger groups and/or more physical activities, as well as another room for a smaller, more “classroom-like” environment. At least one room will be set up for “high-tech” use, including easy access to power for student laptops, a computer projector and/or large screen monitor and/or smart board, etc. There should be at least one small room that could be used for individual tutoring/testing, a site for leading an online class or presentation, or as a place where a child or two could study or play quietly while their parent is teaching a class at the IICNH.

  • I suggest "Triangle LearnSpace" for the name, analogous to hackerspaces or co-working spaces or other similar "spaces" people currently organize. Jelly is another term used, but I don't like it as much. - MariaD
  • There can be levels of membership; the goal is for everybody to have access to classes offered and to the opportunity to host their own events - MariaD

Structure ideas

by Maria Droujkova

The structure is a combination of network, community and organization elements.

Main network element: within each subgroup, such as a class or a coop, meeting within the space, the structure is determined by its members without any interference from the space.

Main community elements: space sharing, open classes, shared social media.

Main organization elements: officers responsible for particular management, communication, and funding jobs; class or coop leaders responsible for "their" units; the director responsible for helping officers and unit leaders in their tasks.


  • You can get into the working mode right away when you come to your learnspace; home meetings sometimes devolve into playing or take too much time to start while people catch up on playing - Fiona L.