How to Redesign a Classroom to Optimize Learning Experience

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Improving your Learning Experience from this class: i.e., MGT 9700-TR6A(Fall 2010). Assume the Class Room (seating, facility, etc.) to be “The Product” and your Learning Experience (facilitated by me, the Instructor) as “The Service”.

(a) How would you redesign the Class Room (Rm3-125) to materially improve the Service?

The overall learning goal for us students is to grasp what the instructor teaches in class and gain extra knowledge and abilities through class discussion and interaction. To that end, it’s best to study in an optimal learning environment, so as to keep focused in class and avoid distraction from externals.

We pay for the service – our learning experience, hoping to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of this kind of service. An optimal learning environment is beneficial to building a cohesive team in which members could communicate with each other, and to encouraging interactions among all the students and the professor.

Through observation of major students behaviors, I find that the current physical environment in our classroom was somewhat defective. The following key points are summarized as major gaps or pitfalls in the current environment.

Late Arrivals: I find that most of the students arrive in the classroom ahead of or on time. However, some may be late and walk in across the stage, thus distracting other’s attention in class.

Uncomfortable Chairs: The pad on each seat can make annoying noise when we unfold it. This will distract other students’ attention, especially those who sit near the moving pads.

Various Seating Preferences: students are seated randomly, most of students like to seat in the front row, and the outer of rows, leaving some seats in the middle empty, so the best capacity in the room isn’t fully utilized. Randomly seating also results in inconvenience for some group members to sit together.

Inconvenient Seating Arrangement: the space between rows is narrow, so it’s not convenient for students to walk through and it’s always noisy to move the small pads connected to the seats. Moreover, it’s such a long row that it would be inconvenient and a waste of time to walk through one side to the middle or the other end.

Less Efficient Equipment -- Blackboard and Projector: For those seating in the side areas and in the rear, the visibility of the projector isn’t so good. Similarly, when the professor writes on one side of the blackboard, those who seat in the other side have difficulty in reading the handwriting.

Dim Lighting: the lighting in the classroom is a little dark that it’s easy for us to fall asleep. The arrangement of lights in the roof isn’t so rational that sometimes we can’t see the blackboards because of light reflecting.

Insufficient Ventilation: The windows in the back are closed all the time and the air conditioning always creates an environment that is too cold or hot and dry. Students usually don’t feel very comfortable when there’re too many students in the classroom.

Difficult Access to the Classroom: More often, only one door is open to the classroom, thus restricting students’ access to the classroom to only one way. Those who can’t find a seat near the door can only go the other side, and this would distract other’s attention. Besides, once the door is locked, the students can’t open it from outside, requiring help from those in the classroom.

The above-mentioned points about the seating and facilities in the classroom would present unfavorable impacts on our learning experience. So a new layout of the classroom is required to help enhance our learning environment. Here I categorize the objectives into four points as the conceptual design principles.

* To make full use of the 75 minutes in class, which means there’s no or little disruption during class. * Perfect seating arrangement to facilitate easy access and smooth movement. * Minimum discipline required relating to seating arrangement so that...
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