Design Concept for New Learning Spaces in 133 Erickson
"Three Page Executive Summary"

May 11, 2004 Faculty MeetingSeptember 22, 2004 Faculty Meeting.
Summary of Faculty Ideas


This is a proposal for a comprehensive redesign of 133 Erickson Hall. The goal of this redesign is to create an environment to promote innovative teaching and learning in an age of wireless, mobile, ubiquitous computing. (NLII, 2004). The proposal was developed with extensive faculty input at the College of Education spring faculty meeting on May 11, 2004 following a brief introduction. Further discussion at the fall faculty meeting on September 22, 2004. The ideas from the faculty were organized into major categories.


The redesign will capitalize upon the highly visible, central location of 133 Erickson. By use of new architectural tools, this large learning space will be reconfigured to create six, interacting learning spaces. This suite of six spaces will provide for distinct, complementary activities, and by careful installation of walls, doors, dividers, and treatment of glass walls, the spaces will be able to be used concurrently without distraction.


The major architectural modification will be to install a permanent north-south wall dividing 133 into approximately two halves. The wall will have doors permitting access between the two halves but providing visual and acoustical separation from these other spaces. A feeling of openness will be preserved by use of glass in the top third of the walls for natural lighting.

West Half: A Suite of Three Interrelated Classrooms


Two Technology Enabled Classrooms. The large space on the west side of 133 will be divided into two classrooms each large enough to accommodate 30 learners. A movable room divider going east to west will separate these two rooms, but by being movable, will enable the rooms to be joined into one space for larger classes and gatherings. The south room will allow more visual access, having glass walls on the south and west sides, while the north room will have a glass wall on the west side. New glass treatments will preserve visual access while providing a greater sense of privacy than the current clear glass.


The rooms will be designed for optimal flexibility by incorporating moveable chairs and tables, with support for integrated use of laptop computers by students and faculty. In each room, a large projection screen and "smartboard" combination will be supplemented by six 26" LCD screens around the periphery for students connect to laptops for small group discussions. Each room will be equipped with videocapture cameras designed to support both videoconferencing and to enable research on teaching in these spaces.

 

Videoconferencing Classroom (Room 133D).  Room 133D will be redesigned for use as a regular classroom and for videoconferencing events requiring greater acoustical and visual isolation than the other two classrooms. By adding doors into 133D on the west end of the room, this room could be accessed from the hallway without users having to walk through the other rooms in 133. This room will also be equipped with flexible furniture and updated videoconferencing equipment.


With these changes, the west half of 133 Erickson can now be visualized as a suite of three adjoining classrooms, each enhanced with technologies building upon student ownership of wireless, laptop computers, the new generation of bright, large screen projection systems and LCDs, smartboards and videocameras for easy capture of activities in these spaces to promote research on teaching, and videoconferencing equipment to connect these classrooms to the world.

East Half: Three Spaces to Support Learning to Use Technology


The east half of 133 Erickson will be designed to provide support for faculty and students learning to use technology. This side of 133 will be consist of three learning spaces.


Help Desk and Space for Support Personnel. The area inside the doors opening out into the Erickson main lobby will be designed to be inviting for faculty and students seeking immediate help with specific problems as well as a focal point for one-on-one and small group workshops. By moving these support functions from their current location to the front of 133, they will be made easily accessible without having to walk through other spaces. This entry area would serve as a place for "one stop shopping" for faculty and students. The room currently used to store laptops, 133B, would be redesigned for use by support personnel.


Advanced Technology Learning Space. The space on the southeast corner of 133, being adjacent to the "help desk" space, is ideally suited for creating a multi-purpose space for meetings and workshops for 10 to 15 people. This space would be used for both scheduled and impromptu training and help sessions run by the support staff, as well as a site for supporting development of innovative learning modules for online and hybrid courses.


The wall installed to divide this space from the two technology enabled classrooms will enable this space to be used by individuals or groups without disturbing the teaching in those classrooms. Against this wall around the western periphery of this learning space will have advanced workstations for such purposes as videoediting, scanning, simulations, learning game software, and accessibility devices for special needs learners.


The space will be furnished for use as a technology enhanced meeting room, including furniture that can be flexibly arrange in for a conference table seating 14 people, with wirelessly controlled computer connected to a large projection screen, smartboard, and videoconferencing capability.

Technology Support Conference Room. (Erickson 133C: The "Think Tank".) This learning space will continue to serve as a combination meeting room, videoconference space, and small classroom. Modest modifications in the furniture, technology, and treatment of the windows will improve its functionality, especially with addition of smartboard and design for better videoconferencing. Priority for this space will be given to teaching and learning to use technologies. The support staff would be prepared to show how to use the various technologies in the room and would be readily accessible when needed for support.


Summary


The proposed use of 133 Erickson would create dynamic, separate but interconnected learning spaces for innovative teaching. The design will take advantage of pervasive ownership of wireless laptop computers and new tools for projection and videoconferencing. The juxtaposition of support with several teaching and learning spaces that range from large classrooms, to smaller videoconference classrooms, to conference and workshop spaces will create opportunities for faculty and students to exchange ideas and models of teaching. Paradoxically, the new design will increase the opportunities for interaction and observation of teaching by creating six spaces that are sufficiently isolated acoustically and visually to enable simultaneous use of all the spaces, thus increasing substantially the use of the overall space.