Planning for Higher Education Journal

Classrooms for the 21st Century

Journal Cover
From Volume 20 Number 3 | Spring 1992
By Michael K. Owu
Planning Types: Campus Planning

Historically, college and university classrooms have consisted of little more than a blackboard and antiquated seats. Many classrooms were constructed over 30-70 years ago with minor alterations. Over the next decade, modernizing of lecture, seminar, and classrooms is essential. They will then be more conducive to learning. A seven step strategy to modernize institutional classrooms exists. 1) Conduct a physical survey and inventory of all the teaching spaces. This includes room dimensions, furniture, room arangement, lighting, ventilation, and audiovisual equipment. 2) Conduct a utilization study. This measures whether classrooms are used to their full capacities. 3) Interview faculty and students to determine preferences. Professors and students now prefer to be closer to each other to promote exchanges. 4) Develop criteria for design including A. Physical Considerations; B. Environmental Factors; C. Furniture; and D. Audiovisual Equipment. Additionally, each category of design criteria should follow the four design requirements of function, focus, flexibility, and aesthetics. 5) Calculate estimates of renovation costs for each room. Planners must have specific architectural plans and rough estimates before renovation begins. 6) Start a program of renovation. A financially feasible renovation schedule should be followed--the rooms in the worst shape are scheduled first, with construction on two to five rooms a year over 5-10 years. 7) Once the renovation schedule begins, monitor the direction of the university to determine changes in classroom needs. The design and renovation of institutional classrooms are necessary to attract highly qualified faculty and students. Classrooms exhibiting a warm, attractive, and modern atmosphere enhance the learning enviroment.

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