Classroom Design

Cornell Designs 21st Century Classrooms

Cornell University has created two new technology-enhanced classrooms to support active learning methods, such as group projects and flipped classrooms, as well as traditional lectures.

Cornell design and environmental analysis students designed the classrooms in collaboration with professional architects and college administrators. The classrooms feature ergonomic, mobile furniture, plentiful power outlets, wired whiteboards and other writable surfaces. The new classrooms are located in the west wing of Martha Van Rensselaer Hall.

"Designed with feedback from students, professors and administrators, these new spaces can shift the classroom dynamic and help students to think critically and direct their own learning," said Margaret Frey, associate dean of undergraduate affairs for the College of Human Ecology, in a prepared statement.

The College of Human Ecology and Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) hosted a one-day workshop to help faculty make effective use of these new classrooms. They gave the faculty members a tour of the classrooms. The faculty members then worked in small groups to discuss the classrooms and their instructional needs for the future. The day concluded with an interactive workshop on teaching methods such as case-based learning, reflective writing and impromptu quizzes.

"Having physical spaces like this frees an instructor to do more inventive, varied and innovative things that keep the learning alive and flowing between members of the class and throughout the time period of the course," said A.T. Miller, associate vice provost for academic diversity and senior lecturer in the Department of English, and a workshop attendee.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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