Based on faculty feedback and interest in the layout of the experimental classroom in Miller Library 205, ITS recently renovated Miller 8 (off the Street) using a similar technology-enabled active learning layout. Included are five breakout areas with large monitors for students to work together in groups. Students may connect to the monitors wirelessly to share what is on their computer screens or mobile devices. Up to four connected screens may be displayed on each breakout monitor simultaneously. There is also a ceiling-mounted classroom projector that permits wireless projection connections. Instructions for connecting devices are displayed on the monitors when they power up.
The classroom furniture features tables on casters that may be easily moved to adjust the amount of available space at various breakout stations. The center area of the room features a more traditional configuration where the class may come together as a larger group if required.
The purpose of an active learning classroom (ALC) layout is specifically to support a “student-centered, technology-rich learning environment.” While these types of layouts are diverse, all exhibit some similarities. For example, they usually feature seating arrangements where students can face each other rather than an instructor in the front of a room and when these breakout areas are in use, ALCs tend to become louder than typical classrooms as students interact. The installed technology also frequently allows instructors to spotlight individual student or group work.