Classroom Strategic Planning Workgroup History
As a result of numerous faculty conversations with Central Administration, a tour of general classrooms was conducted. This resulted in a call for the formulation of an ad‐hoc group of faculty and key personnel from Facilities Management, ITS, and Office of the Registrar to brainstorm options. The Chief Information Officer led the effort to identify and gather interested faculty to assist in defining desired technology and other improvements that would support emerging trends in teaching and learning. After several meetings, a select number of highly visible improvements that would greatly benefit the general classroom pool were identified.
On the recommendation of the ad‐hoc group, Central Administration approved a budget amount for some targeted classroom improvements. Based on an overarching need for technology equipped classrooms and in an effort to address aging furnishings, three projects were outlined:
- Renfrew 125 and 126 – fully renovate these rooms with dual projection technology, new tiers, and furniture that will allow for improved collaboration and better student experience.
- TLC 023 – create an experimental collaborative classroom adding two electronic interactive white boards to the existing multi‐media; new chairs that easily transition between lecture, seminar, and group layouts; and provide multiple white boards to enhance group work.
- AgSci 106 – renovate our oldest auditorium by enhancing the sound system, improving technology, and replacing or refurbishing the seating.
In an attempt to continue efforts to review and identify needed improvements in general classrooms, the Assistant Vice President of Facilities worked with the Registrar to discuss options for formalizing a workgroup. Efforts were undertaken to research similar undertakings by other institutions, identify a model for UI, and draft a charter.
Renovations were completed in Renfrew 125, 126 and TLC 023. In addition, the AgSci 106 project kicked off with an expected completion date in August 2014.
A charter was formalized and the Classroom Strategic Planning Workgroup (CSPW) formed. Faculty Senate sanctioned the charter and approved the workgroup goals. Activities completed Fall 2013 include:
- Familiarize workgroup with current general classroom inventory, tour older classrooms, review five‐year history of work orders, assess multi‐media usage in tech classrooms, research and review chalkboard vs. white board usage, and begin to develop improvement prioritization criteria.
- Developed faculty and student Qualtrics surveys for the purpose of assessing renovated classrooms TLC 023, REN 125 and 126. Administered surveys early December.
A complete review of the Fall surveys was conducted and a summary of findings developed. Early in January, Central Administration identified a second allotment of funding that might be used for classroom improvements and asked for a recommendation. The workgroup evaluated the collection of classroom data available and determined this funding would best be spent upgrading furnishings in selected classrooms focusing on creating more flexible collaborative spaces. A proposal was developed and subsequently approved to include improvements in the following classrooms:
- TLC 223 – purchase new flexible tables and chairs on casters. Current tables and chairs will be used to upgrade furnishings in MINES 306.
- TLC 247 – purchase new flexible tables and chairs on casters. Current tables and chairs will be used to upgrade furnishings in BEL 346.
- Admin 326 – add multi‐media and new tablet arm chairs on casters. Multi‐media will be relocated from JEB 121 which is less than ideal for media as it has tall south facing windows and no air conditioning.
- Admin 221 (MAC Lab) – Repaint and carpet, purchase new hidden monitor style desks, and chairs on casters. Incorporating these upgrades will make this a more versatile classroom as it can be used as a lab or a regular classroom with tables.
Ways to document workgroup activities, create a workgroup website and share what has been learned with the broader campus community were discussed.
A workgroup history document was created and a planning calendar with classroom improvement activities was developed. ITS stepped forward to host a website and through collaborative effort the site was launched early fall ‐ http://www.uidaho.edu/its/cspw. Faculty and student surveys were developed and administered for the summer classroom renovations (TLC 223, TLC 247, AD 326, AD 221). A second round of surveys was sent for summer 2013 classrooms (REN 125/126 and TLC 023).
The summer 2014 renovations exceeded the allotted $200,000 and so funds were taken from the 2015 budget allotment. For the 2016 budget, the workgroup went back to the general university classroom evaluation data and, after taking into consideration the survey findings, identified the following classroom improvements for the summer 2015:
- REN 125/126 – add privacy panels to the first row in the 2nd and 3rd tiers and purchase an additional 12 chairs to reach the maximum capacity of 110 in these two classrooms.
- CNR 10 – improve the lighting and sound, complete paint and carpet touchups, and purchase new stationary node tablet arm chairs that will swivel allowing more collaborative group work.
- JEB 328 – purchase new node tablet arm chairs on casters, add additional whiteboards around the room, repaint and carpet.
- MINES 306 – purchase new window coverings.
- BEL 116 – set up as a multi‐media lite pilot classroom. Use existing tables (which have the option to be powered) and chairs from the general classroom inventory with a capacity of 16.
- Purchase 12 instructor stools, nine of which will go to renovated classrooms with the additional three going to the TLC.
A review of fall surveys was conducted and it was determined that follow‐up spring surveys should be administered. The newest seminar classroom ‐ ALB 09, which came online January 2015, was included in the Spring surveys.
The workgroup discussed the renovation of the College of Education building. It was determined that the 2016 budget allocation would be dedicated to furnishing the four general education classrooms in this building which will come online fall 2016:
- 72 seat tiered classroom with tables and dual projection multi‐media.
- 45 seat active learning/TEAL classroom with specialized multi‐media.
- 48 seat flat classroom with multi‐media.
- 40 seat flat classroom with multi‐media.
The College of Education Doceo Center for Innovation and Learning funded a visit to Montana State University for CSPW members to meet with those involved in the development of MSU’s TEAL (Technology Enhanced Active Learning) classrooms. Attendees are currently working on two proposals:
- Budget proposal to support the new 45 seat active learning/TEAL classroom in the CoEd building.
- Proposal for funding to host an Active Learning symposium in the next academic year to encourage and broaden the discussion here at the University of Idaho.
Efforts are underway to update the CSPW web site with the latest project and survey information.