Learning environments are evolving. No longer are teachers restricted to lecture-style teaching methods in front of a blackboard; no more are students confined to desks and lost among hundreds of other faces in a soul-less auditorium. Education is shifting, from elementary to higher-education, and the OZ Architecture-designed CU CASE building is a fine example.
CU Boulder’s new Center for Academic Success and Engagement (CASE), which serves as a gateway to campus by bringing together key student support and admissions resources, recently opened doors to the campus’s first centrally scheduled, active learning classroom. Open to any program on campus, this 42-seat, tech-enabled room is ideal for small group work and collaboration.
A total of seven tables, each with six seats, line the perimeter of the room, with one end engaged to the wall which houses a monitor. The furniture is designed to easily allow students to share their screens with their workgroups. The instructor has a podium, from which he or she can project their own screen, or share the screen of any individual work group with the entire class.
Other classroom spaces within the building are currently being designed, with the intention of providing diverse learning spaces ranging from scale-up to workshop spaces to lecture spaces. All of these classrooms are being designed to be tech-enabled, collaborative spaces and are easily adaptable to different department or student needs. As David Schafer says, “The whole idea was to showcase different ways to teach and learn, and to use it as a lab where the university can prototype new teaching and learning styles.”
Just weeks after CASE opened, it’s exciting to see these goals already manifesting and creating first-of-their-kind opportunities at CU Boulder.