A Purdue program is building six new, state-of-the-art classrooms throughout campus to redesign the way professors and students interact during classes.
IMPACT, or Instruction Matters: Purdue Academic Course Transformation, is to redesign courses with the goal to improve student competency and confidence. The team hopes to achieve this through reconfiguring foundational courses and classrooms to make them more digital and interactive.
Unlike the standard lecture hall, the new classrooms have a layout with round tables centered around the instructor, multiple white screens all over the rooms for projectors and computers at each of the tables. This allows the use of technology to help professors instruct and interact more with the students.
Hosi Karzai, the project director, said a lot of professors like to use technology during classes.
“For technology, we have to be state-of-the-art to accommodate the needs of the professors,” Karzai said.
The first classroom was built last year in Hicks Undergraduate Library. Two more are being built with one on the main floor and one in the basement. Four more classrooms are planned to be built, but construction has not begun. Karzai said the first new classroom in Hicks used last year had very positive feedback with Purdue faculty.
“The first thing they say is, ‘How soon are the rooms going to be ready?’ and ‘Where do I go to sign up to have my classes taught there?’” Karzai said.
Tomalee Doan, division head of the Humanities, Social Science and Education (HSSE) Library; Hicks Undergraduate Library; and Parrish Library, is in charge of the design of the new classrooms. She said the feedback from the use of the new classroom was nothing but positive.
“It was extremely popular and very successful. Students liked the idea,” Doan said. “They liked collaborating with other students and they had better accountability with each other in the classroom.”
Karzai said there should be a different outlook toward the ways courses and the space provided for those courses are used.
“It’s not the space you should redesign your course around,” Karzai said. “It’s your course that should be redesigned, as (space) being one of the components.”
The new classroom space on the main floor in Hicks was home to a portion of the contemporary literature collection but is now joining the rest of the collection next door at the Humanities, Social Science and Education (HSSE) Library in the Stewart Building. They chose the location for the classrooms to be in Hicks hoping to help students.
“Being in a library space, students will come here before their class or stay after their class, in terms of doing more work and studying,” Doan said.
According to Doan, only the new classroom on the main floor of Hicks, including the area right next to classroom, will be open 24 hours a day starting in the fall. As soon as the classes are done being held in the room, it will open to anybody wanting to use it.