The University of Iowa

March 17, 2022


The University of Iowa’s most recent Transform, Interact, Learn, Engage [TILE] learning space is Lindquist Center room N150 [LC N150], hosting its first courses in Spring of 2022. TILE spaces and their technology provide an environment for transformative classroom experiences where instructors facilitate active learning opportunities engaging students in peer-centered interaction. LC N150, designated a “TILE-Flex (BYOD)” classroom, is a unique 50-occupancy learning space and the culmination of a two-phase capital project initiated by College of Education’s Dean, Dr. Dan Clay.

Dean Clay’s vision and Learning Spaces Technology’s [LST] planning for the LC N150 TILE learning space began in 2020 with an A/V design by Paul Ross, LST Communications Infrastructure Architect, as part of Lindquist Center’s Phase II capital project. In what once housed the College of Education’s television studio, the LST A/V Design & Install team of Paul Ross, Phil Gugliuzza, a Senior Communications Infrastructure Engineer, Mark Mueller, a Communications Infrastructure Engineer, Ryan Adams, an Associate Communications Infrastructure Engineer, and Dan Blakeslee, a former IT Support Consultant [now associated with the College of Education], worked closely together to ensure the completion of the A/V installation project in time for the beginning of classes. LST's Assistant Director Kirk Batterson believes Ross’ unique A/V design and the LST A/V team’s work are providing opportunities for “far more meaningful things to happen in the classroom” than the basic learning space or large lecture hall.

Collaboration Options Beyond Traditional Classrooms

Dr. Cassie Barnhardt, an Associate Professor in the College of Education’s Department of Education Policy and Leadership Studies addresses the uniqueness of the space, sharing, “there are more options for both the faculty and students for collaboration you don’t find in a traditional classroom and the instructor can utilize these tools to encourage student engagement and in-class participation.” Unique to LC N150, instructors can send content to one, or all, of eight group displays, with each of the eight groups featuring its own Mersive Solstice pod facilitating wireless presentation and collaborative content sharing [an additional Solstice pod is dedicated for the instructor]. The Solstice wireless collaboration system enables simultaneous users to easily share content or entire desktops to the in-room displays from personal devices across multiple platforms.

LC N150’s instructors have noted TILE students seamlessly transition to using the Solstice to engage in meaningful, collaborative peer activity. Dr. Mitch Kelly, a Clinical Professor in the College of Education’s Educational Psychology Program adds, “students can share content in Solstice pods (and) when I am walking in the classroom and see something interesting the group is working on, I can then put it on the main classroom display to share with the entire class.” Kelly also observes, by using mobile devices with Solstice, "you can be out and about, more directly engaging the students in the classroom,” furthering meaningful student interactions. The LC N150 Solstice pods comprise only nine of nearly 600 LST-monitored Solstice devices, enabling groups to work in more dynamic and productive ways throughout campus.

Distance Learning and Hybrid Capable Environment

LC N150 also integrates WolfVision’s vSolutions Cam document camera, an LED-based, small-footprint, and Zoom-friendly document sharing [and writing capture] device, as well as a wall-mounted pan-tilt-zoom webcam and wireless microphones, making the classroom both distance learning and hybrid environment capable. Julie Heidger, Educational Support Services Director of Student Teaching & Field Experiences, and instructor for “Orientation for Elementary Teaching,” with the College of Education, reveals “it’s fun...I feel like we’re in a ‘Star Trek’ episode” due to the technology and layout of the room, and “I love that students can Zoom in.”

Further facilitating teaching and learning are numerous large, moveable white boards running three-layers deep on each wall of the octagonal space, with the two upper layers being both removable and two-sided. The space is also populated with mobile, stool-height tables [including height-adjustable versions], as well as moveable tablet armchairs, all accommodating up to eight groups of up to six students each. Instructors and students share an appreciation for the room’s technology, furniture, layout, and abundance of available whiteboards. Tanner Mueller and Tommy Stevens, both Juniors in the College of Education, agreed and said respectively, “no matter where you sit, you can see what she [the instructor] puts on the screen” while the “chairs are really comfortable.” The furniture “can accommodate both lefties and righties” and provides “easy access for groups.” Heidger adds she appreciates the “opportunity it provides the students to choose a seating arrangement that works best for them.”

"Flexible Enough to Help All Types of Learners"

Dr. Evans Ochola, an Instructional Support Services Specialist with the College of Education’s Education Technology Center and Adjunct Associate Professor with the Department of Teaching and Learning, observes the room design is “flexible enough to help all types of learners,” and notes, TILE “teachers need to be comfortable utilizing all [the room’s] resources.” Ochola sums up the LC N150 experience stating, the room’s design and technology “enhances and encourages greater discussion in the classroom which opens up options for me as an instructor.” Faculty and staff interested in touring the LC N150 space can submit a request with the College of Education’s Education Technology Center [ETC] at: https://education.uiowa.edu/student-experience/education-technology-center; or with LST at the following: https://workflow.uiowa.edu/form/AVrequest

 

 


Visit the COVID-19: Classroom Experience site for additional information regarding University Classroom expectations for the 2021 Fall semester.

For information regarding the COVID-19 Operational Response for Custodial Services, Building Operations and Maintenance and/or the UI Operational Plan for Cleaning and Disinfecting of Building Spaces, please visit the Facilities Management.

For assistance with classroom technology issues, please contact the ITS Help Desk at 384-HELP [4357] or its-helpdesk@uiowa.edu

University Classroom Support