New Team-Based Learning Classrooms Foster Collaboration

The new Central Campus Classroom Building is home to seven large classrooms that were designed to foster student engagement and active learning.
by Alyssa Longo, Administrative Assistant

The Central Campus Classroom Building (CCCB) opened its doors to about 90 undergraduate and graduate classes from across multiple U-M schools and colleges for the 2022 winter semester. All classrooms in this new building were designed to foster student engagement and active learning. LSA Technology Services partnered with several U-M teams to design the classroom and informal learning spaces, install teaching and learning technology, prepare for the opening, and is also providing technical training and support in addition to assistance with course development. 

Every classroom in the CCCB was designed to be used as a space where faculty are able to connect more with students and students can work together in small groups. Not only do these spaces welcome students to interact with each other, but they also allow instructors to interact with the students more easily. Even though the Auditorium and the Case Study Classroom might appear to be more traditional lecture spaces, the design of the floor (a gentle slope in the Auditorium and two rows per tier in the Case Study Classroom) and the type of seating allow students to turn-to-team and engage in small groups. Although it is not in use for the winter semester due to supply chain issues, the most innovative classroom in this building is the Classroom in the Round. Based on the theater-in-the-round concept, instructors will teach from the center of the room as students sit in rows circling the instructor. This room seats 190 students; however the furthest away a student will sit from the instructor is five rows, giving the space a more intimate feel. U-M is one of the few campuses to have this type of classroom, but students from other universities with this style of classroom (Washington State, Oregon State, and Texas A&M) have noted that they feel more connected both to their instructors, because they are so close, and also to other students, because they can easily see each other’s reactions to the material from across the room—do they look confused or are they nodding in understanding? 

LSA Technology Services lead the design and installation of all of the technologies in these collaborative classrooms. The Classroom in the Round boasts 12 high-end projectors to allow innovation in video presentation and provide an exceptional video experience regardless of where students sit. Push-to-talk microphones in the Team-Based Learning Classrooms and voice lift in several other classrooms allow students’ voices to be slightly amplified to hear each other better and to capture discussions in Lecture Capture recordings and hybrid Zoom sessions. The high-tech Team-Based Learning Classrooms also have grouped tables, team writing surfaces, and a flat screen monitor with wireless projection connections at each team table for easy collaboration. The technology design also focused on sustainability. Classrooms are outfitted with rechargeable microphones and occupancy sensors for the lights. One goal of LSA Technology Services’ participation in the CCCB is to explore new pedagogies and new technologies, which we will then take back and employ in other classrooms and buildings on campus, either through updates or renovations.

In collaboration with CRLT and LSA Facilities, a variety of teams within LSA Technology Services were involved in creating these impressive learning spaces. In addition to technology design, installation, building, testing, and management, LSA Technology Services staff were involved in building computers, coordinating with ITS on network issues, managing inventory, ensuring equipment delivery, tracking budgets and orders, developing training, and updating the classroom database. Additionally, LSA Technology Services will provide classroom and AV equipment training and support to all LSA and non-LSA instructors that utilize these spaces.

LSA faculty can visit the LSA Technology Services Learning & Teaching Consulting website to learn more about active learning strategies, course development, and other learning and teaching resources. For in-building assistance and general questions, students, faculty, staff, and other guests are encouraged to visit the Navigation Desk located at the south entrance of the CCCB (near the Central Campus Transit Center where North University and Geddes meet at Church Street).

The CCCB opened the first day of classes on January 5 and, just like any other classroom building, everyone is welcome to look at the space. Facilities information with hours and location can be found on the CCCB website. There will be tours scheduled for the general campus beginning later in January. There will also be tour opportunities for LSA units interested in learning more about the CCCB coming soon. Information about all of these tour opportunities will be available through the LSA Administrative Updates.

Release Date: 01/18/2022
Category: Innovate Newsletter
Tags: Technology Services
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