The Pharmacy program, ITSS, and external consultants are designing Library 410 to offer active learning classroom features as well as video conferencing. Initial implementation will be complete by the beginning of Spring semester.
There has been a growing body of research for quite some time that indicates "active learning" is a more effective way to move students up the hierarchy of Bloom's Taxonomy and thus maximize learning outcomes. More recently, many universities have been working on classroom layout, technology, and user support models to try to make active learning more central to the classroom experience.
Library 410 Adapted to Pharmacy Needs
The emerging "Information Commons" concept in the Library is a perfect context for our next move into active learning classrooms. Funded by a special grant from the Pharmacy program, this room will address the unique needs of a program split across two campuses. In addition to the typical components of an active learning classroom, the School of Pharmacy needed to have a strong video conferencing component. Faculty, staff, and students from the program have been working with Classroom Technology Services, ITSS, and external consultants to design and implement a room that will do both teaching modes well.
Typical Active Learning Classrooms Features
- As much white board space as possible as a perimeter
- Multiple flat-panel display projection systems
- Round tables that accommodate six or nine students each
- A centered teaching station that allows selection and display of table-specific information
- Easy to use controls to allow student or faculty display from any of the "pods" in the room
Additional Library 410 Features to Accommodate Video Conferencing
- Collaborative tables designed to shift from group learning to video conferencing
- Multiple cameras and displays at each "pod"
- Power and controls integrated into the furniture to accommodate each student
- Motion tracking cameras for remote lecture
- Acoustic wall panels and ceiling tiles for tailored audio
- Support for traditional Interactive Television as well as emerging technologies such as Google Hangouts.
We will use Spring semester to continue our needs assessment and tweak the space to inform the second half of this project, which will be a similar resource on the Twin Cities campus.
For an example how active learning has be implemented and research findings regarding its effectiveness consult the Active Learning Classroom (ALC) Twin Cities Web Site.