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Would You Build a New 600 Seat Classroom?
December 1, 2010 - 9:30pm

Last week I had the pleasure to spend time with Fred Siff, Professor and CIO Emeritus University of Cincinnati, at a Richard N. Katz & Associates sponsored event.

Fred led a discussion in which he asked, "Would you build a new 600 seat classroom today?"

This was a great discussion starter, and I'm interested in what your answer would be.

The answers to this question amongst our group fell into two categories:

Yes, but….:

Yes, we would still build a new large classroom - but it would be very different from the large lecture halls our campus currently has built. The classroom would not be designed for lecture, although it would be configurable for faculty, student, or visitor presentations. The large space would be primarily designed around collaboration, with flexible spaces for small group work. Furniture would be moveable and modular, designed to easily create clusters and pods for small group discussion. The space would be filled with moveable white boards. Numerous displays will be mounted on all the walls, with easy cable access to laptops. Podium software would allow for easy control of display projection from any given laptop in a cluster to any (or all) of the installed smart boards. Built in lecture capture tools (cameras, sound, etc.) would allow easy recording and sharing of presentations.


Even the most flexible, modular, and collaboratively inspired classroom is not the best investment of limited resources. Online tools and platforms have reduced the need for lecture space. Campuses are better off renovating existing spaces, and actively increasing the productivity of these classrooms by moving to a blended model of teaching. By reducing the time spent in the classroom, one room can accommodate more courses. Dollars saved by choosing not to build new classroom space can be invested in expanding online and blended offerings. These resources may be best invested in hiring more learning designers, media specialists, and librarians to partner with faculty to develop rich and immersive courses.

What do you think?

Has your institution recently built a new large lecture space?

Do you think we are seeing the beginning of the end of new large lecture halls?


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