Design Standards: Construction and Renovation of University-Managed Classrooms

The Teaching Center has developed a series of consistent, yet flexible standards for the selection and placement of all classroom components. The standards are customized to fit the needs of the major department(s) in the building, to the extent possible within budget limitations. Decisions to add technology are based on campus needs, the extent and feasibility of the renovation required, and available funding. The Teaching Center assesses campus needs for classroom technology by administering Classroom Evaluation Questionnaires each semester and by analyzing data gathered by the Office of the University Registrar.

Design standards for classroom technology include the following:

  • Technology installed in University-managed classrooms is easy to control, with little set-up time, by someone who has not had extensive multimedia training.
  • Multimedia components are set up in a similar way in each classroom, making it easy to use the multimedia no matter which of the classrooms the instructor is using.
  • University-managed classrooms with full multimedia are equipped with PCs, DVD players, VCRs, laptop connectivity, data projectors, network access, and touch-panel controls. Most of the University-managed classrooms also contain a digital document camera located in the ceiling or in the desk, and some contain a SMART Board (an interactive whiteboard with a touch-sensitive display).
  • Multimedia classrooms contain an instructor’s desk or podium that has been designed to facilitate technology use without losing functionality for more traditional teaching methods. The technology is located inside the instructor’s desk or podium and is controlled through a control panel on the desktop. The desk or podium is custom-built to suit the teaching needs of the major department(s), to fit the size of the room, and to match the existing décor.

To view descriptions and photos of each classroom, see the Classroom Directory.

For more information about the multimedia in the University-managed classrooms, see Classroom Multimedia.

Classroom-Design Consultations

The Teaching Center staff is available to consult with departments undertaking classroom renovation or construction projects. The staff has expertise in developing classroom design standards that can ensure that the physical layout of the room and the multimedia technology will enhance the learning environment and fit the particular teaching needs of the department.

Step 1: Survey the Faculty

Before department representatives meet with staff from The Teaching Center, they should survey the faculty to learn how each faculty member will use the classrooms, asking questions such as the following:
  • Do you primarily lecture, lead discussions, or use a combination of both methods?
  • Do you use small-group work?
  • Do you use, or are you interested in using, instructional technology? If so, which technologies would you like to have available and for what purposes?
  • Do you prefer a podium or an instructor’s desk? Why?
  • Do you write on the board? If so, do you prefer chalkboards or dry-erase whiteboards? Why? How much do you typically write on the chalkboard or whiteboard?

Step 2: Meet with the Teaching Center Staff

The Teaching Center staff will offer advice on the size and shape of the classroom, as well as its physical layout, with attention to the selection and placement of components such as

  • furniture (instructor’s and students’ desks, podiums)
  • technology
  • projection screens
  • lighting and controls
  • window coverings
  • chalkboards or dry-erase whiteboards
  • flooring
  • doors and closets

The Teaching Center can also help you answer specific questions about technology, such as the following:

  • What kind of multimedia system does your department need?
    • Do you need PCs, laptops, or SMART Boards?
    • Do you need equipment such as DVDs, VCRs, or document cameras?

  • How does your department want to control the system?
    • Touch-panel, touch-pad, and remote-control options are available.

  • Who will install the system?

  • How does your department plan to put the system on the University network?

  • How will your department maintain and repair the equipment?
    • Why and how should your department plan for obsolescence?
    • Should your department buy a service contract?

  • How will your department secure the equipment?
    • Electronic surveillance and cabling options are available.