Planning for Higher Education Journal

A Planner’s Guide to Tomorrow’s Classrooms

Journal Cover
From Volume 22 Number 3 | Spring 1994
By Anthony Blackett, Brenda Stanfield

Teaching in colleges and universities is going through a revolution brought on by changes in the student-teacher relationship, the volume of new sources of information and knowledge, and new electronic technology. All have implications for facilities planning. Three principles should be kept in mind when planning instructional space. First, "plan for the full range of teaching modalities." All classrooms need not be high-tech. Second, "plan for change and flexiblity." Technology changes rapidly. Third, "focus on the exchange of ideas and the acquisition of knowledge," not the latest technology." There are also six variables to keep in mind in teaching facilities design. These include "the different delivery modes of education material, the size of the class to which the material is delivered, lecture/video or discussion/interactive format, form of computer instruction, self-paced learning modalities, discipline-specific laboratories or classrooms." It is also helpful to consider two categories of classrooms: larger, fixed design spaces and smaller, flexible design spaces. Fixed-design rooms include conventional large lecture halls, tiered classrooms, and camera-equipped classrooms. It is most important to determine the appropriate mix and arrangement before beginning any classroom modernization program. In this way, focus can remain on the teaching, not the hardware.

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