Sunday, December 13, 2009

Redesigning universities for computer assisted learning

An interesting discussion is taking place online about how to redesign university teaching spaces to accommodate computers. This includes the issue of how computers should be added to science labs, or should they be separate. Should desktop computers, or laptops be provided, or can we assume students will have their own laptops? Should these spaces look like traditional teaching spaces, like business offices or like cafes? In my view, as computer equipment becomes cheaper, smaller and more portable, this may go full circle, with computers seeming to disappear from universities and other learning institutions, as they become built into the fabric of the institution. With wireless throughout the campus, there will be less need for sockets on walls and wires. As students carry around their own wireless linked smart phones and laptops, there will be fewer desktop computers apparent. Large screens will be built into walls or concealed in ceilings, projecting onto walls.

Some of this discussion is talking place on EDUCAUSE in the Instructional Technologies Constituent Group. A readable item is "Rebooted Computer Labs Offer Savings for Campuses and Ambiance for Students" (By Ben Terris, The Chronicle of Higher Education, December 6, 2009). Some more scholarly items are listed in "Learning Spaces" (by Jeff Johnston, Vanderbilt Center for Teaching).

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