Spaces for Teaching and Learning

December 9, 2013

            As a member of the Computer Science and Software Engineering department I have to admit I’m spoiled.  As the weather gets cold I am aware that it is a privilege to have my office and my teaching space in the same building.  And the teaching spaces that I’m assigned to in this building are somewhat varied but again very nice.  As an instructor, I have a computer that is connected to a projector, a desk that I can raise and lower literally at the touch of a button (important to this short person), a document camera and even DVD and VHS options if I desire.  I have extra plugins on my desk so I can plug in my laptop if I bring it along, and cables to connect it to the projector. I have a whiteboard.  I have some control over the lighting.  In some rooms tables are movable and chairs are on rollers so it is not very difficult to move students into smaller groups.  The rooms are carpeted and the walls although monochrome are clean and not marred.

            It’s not perfect – temperatures vary from room to room.  Windows can make it difficult to see the projection.  And the projection screen when lowered covers part of the whiteboard space.  There is only one screen and one projector.  Students who choose to sit in the back and on the “edges” of the room have trouble seeing.  Some students are easily distracted by the “fishbowl” aspect of some of the interior rooms that have no blinds and look out onto the hall.

            I have heard rumors of other rooms – with no movable furniture or those chairs with arms for students (try to get both a book and notebook down in order to work in class).  Some are in need of paint, with bad acoustics and not much technology. 

            Students what sort of learning space for classes work best for you? Instructional staff – what about you?  What is the ideal teaching space look like?  The only boundary I’ll put to this conversation is that the discussion consider on-campus courses.   Add your comment below.

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