December 9, 2023

Four 42-by-8.74-foot curved screens enable students to experience an optimized view of projected multimedia from any angle. Twelve laser projectors create an immersive environment and, combined with a high-resolution video processor, enable instructors to create custom multimedia presentations.

“The four screens together encircle the student seating area, so we are working with instructors to help them imagine the screens as an extra-wide canvas,” says Dressler. “Content that takes full advantage of the 360-degree capabilities requires additional programming, so we have staff who will work with faculty to prepare their media.”

Oregon State Center Prioritizes Human-Centric Design

At Oregon State University, the Learning Innovation Center (LInC), completed in 2015, serves up to 3,000 students simultaneously. The facility was built to accommodate formal and informal learning, incorporating technology and “human-centric design,” according to Andrea Ballinger, vice provost for information and technology.

The LInC has two large classrooms where faculty members teach in the round. The larger classroom, which seats nearly 600 students, has a high, curved ceiling that brings to mind a high-tech arena. Panasonic projection technology allows faculty to easily display content onto the curved classroom high screen.

“It’s our most impressive space,” says Ballinger. “Students are eye-level with faculty members, and every seat is no more than nine rows away from the center of the room.”

The rest of the 134,000-square-foot building serves a variety of functions. Sofas, ottomans and a coffee shop provide natural gathering spots. Larger classrooms accommodate traditional lectures or team projects, and smaller rooms are used by faculty members.

LEARN MORE: Make the most of classroom design by keeping things flexible.

“The idea is to allow instructors to mix and match modalities. They can show something live or pull it up on any screen,” says Ballinger. Dell hardware and HPE/Aruba switches and access points provide adequate speed and bandwidth for more than a thousand students at once.

“On a human level, this building makes you part of a group,” Ballinger says. “Simply because of the building’s design and technology, you can’t help but be engaged in learning.”

Washington State University Building Sparks High Demand

At Washington State University’s main campus in Pullman, Wash., The Spark building combines state-of-the-art technology with creative learning spaces.

Features include a classroom in the round that holds more than 275 students, flexible classrooms, and active-learning classrooms where students work in groups and mirror their work on a large digital display. A media classroom is dedicated to classes that require software licenses as part of the instruction.

“Any discipline can schedule this room for instruction,” says Sasi Pillay, CIO and vice president of IT services. “We’ve seen classes that range from digital technology and math to apparel merchandising, design and textiles.”

The building is in high demand with faculty and students.

“Most of the faculty would like to teach there,” says Pillay. “They can also hold office hours there or provide advising.”

The building uses displays from Da-Lite and Sony and projectors from NEC. Because of the heavy use, WSU recently upgraded its internet backbone and WAN to 100 gigabytes. The Spark also has a far greater density of access points from Aruba and Cisco compared with older buildings on campus.

“As we build newer buildings on our campuses, we will take this model and try to extend it,” Pillay says.

UP NEXT: How to design a college esports arena students want to use.

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