Library 410 seamlessly combines all aspects of a modern active learning classroom with state-of-the-art video conferencing capabilities. The room is designed to cultivate local active learning punctuated by faculty facilitation across distance using highly integrated and automated video conferencing. Features of the room include:
- Active learning "pods" that facilitate collaboration among groups of nine students
- Digital and analog inputs for each subgroup of three students at each pod
- Dual flat-screen displays for video and media at each pod, at instructor station and at each end of the room
- Local audio at each pod in addition to "house" sound throughout the room
- A teaching station in the center of the room with simple, but powerful user interface to allow for sharing of local, table-specific student media across the room and at distance
- State-of-the art automated cameras including voice-activated video switching and Vaddio video production station plus tracking cameras
- Video Conferencing capabilities including Cisco ITV, Google Hangout, UMConnect, Skype, and flexible hardware to accommodate many other video platforms
- Standard and USB power for all sixty three students at all seven pods
- Instructor PC, stylus tablet, and additional inputs to facilitate distance sharing of all media
- A robust active learning environment offering:
- cooperative learning environments that encourage student collaboration and peer teaching.
- technology that allows students to easily present work for review by peers and instructors.
- furniture designed to facilitate small-group work.
- the ability for instructors to interactively coach students during activities.
- new options for student interaction and class structure.
An Evolutionary Step
The space not only provides active learning (flipped from sage on the stage back to students creating knowledge) but also macro (ITV) and micro (Google Hangout) video conferencing. It is tailored for pharmacy's new active learning curriculum by doing two very difficult things very well and in an integrated way (video conferencing plus active learning). It provides users an intuitive and simple interface plus automation.
A Collaborative Project
Building the room was a collaboration across two University of Minnesota campuses and several units, including Pharmacy, Information Technology Systems and Services, Classroom Technology Services, and Facilities Management. The project was informed by a high degree of needs assessment via Classroom Technology Services. Local partners included Facilities Management, ITSS, Pharmacy ND. Our broader collaborators included Classroom Technical Services, Office of Information Technology, EPA Audio Visual (vendor).
Beyond Requirements at Half the Cost
All project requirements were met at half the cost. In addition we:
- more than tripled the screen real estate at each table.
- more than quadrupled the screen real estate in the room.
- doubled the number cameras from fifteen to thirty one.
- added the following that were not part of the estimate:
- Furniture (only instructor podium was in estimate).
- Student employee control station.
- Vaddio Tracking cameras enhancement.
- Power enhancement at tables.
Text Description of the Room Tour
A virtual tour displays Library 410 from 360 degrees. This panoramic shows that the room has seven tables/pods, four of which are on the west side and three of which are on the east side. The tables are elongated semicircular in shape with one flat side flush against the wall. Mounted on the wall at each pod are two large flat-screen displays stacked vertically. Each table seats nine people. On the tables are: microphones, keypads, and cables. The instructor's station is in the middle of the room. Accessible Library 410 still photographs of this virtual tour from eight key angles are available at:
Additional photographs include: