Thursday, September 15, 2011

Learning and Social Meeting Spaces Redefining Learning Experiences

250-seat auditorium and teaching podium
As new academic buildings are conceived and constructed, considering teaching and learning activities along with social interactions are important issues to think about.  We are at a point where we need to consider what we want as outcomes of our space design, before we put faculty, staff, and students into our environments.  At the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Centennial Hall was developed with an eye on the past 100 years of the university's existence, and an eye on the next 100 years.  There are a number of key concepts that personifies how we can blend teaching and learning, and student and faculty interactions.  In the building there are traditional lecture halls of 250 occupants. These lecture halls are carefully sloped for easy access, provide exceptional sound treatment and accoustics, comfortable seating, full HDCP digital switching capability, and dual screen projection.  In addition to traditional seating, the building also has innovative collaborative, flexible collaborative spaces.  

Open areas with comfortable seating promote interaction

The building also provides large open areas for students and faculty to interact, network, and collaborate. These open areas provide comfortable seating, wireless Internet, and pleasing color scheme and lighting.  In providing multiple effective learning environments, coupled with open meeting spaces, a cohesive and integrated space can promote learning and social interaction.

Open areas with good lighting and digital signage

In future reviews, I will anlayze in more detail specific learning spaces within the building, and explain how certain spaces can enhance interation and collaboration during the teaching and learning activities.

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