R.A.D.

Higher Education Spaces

UMD re-thinks campus space to better reflect 'the future of education

  • "The University of Maryland is one of a number of institutions across the country that is re-designing its physical spaces to better achieve the teaching and learning outcomes the university has identified as optimal, as it looks to move away from the traditional professor-at-the-front lecture style. 
  • The new Edward St. John building on the College Park main campus features classroom layouts including six-round pod-style classrooms, comprised of a number of tables that each sit six students, and media classrooms, which feature oblong tables against the wall, each centered around a large screen for working collaboratively and sharing media. Even traditional lecture halls are designed with seats that swivel to promote more interaction between students.
  • Students strongly prefer these new spaces because of the higher levels of engagement with peers, said Scott Roberts, director of instructional excellence and innovation in the Teaching & Learning Transformation Center. Roberts said the rooms' set-ups have a psychological effect, changing the way students see each other as part of a group. "When we transform the classroom, we transform their experience more broadly" and promote a greater sense of support and belonging for students, he said during a recent tour of the new facilities. "

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Maegan Slowakiewicz