Case Studies

Designing a Collaboration Classroom with Lehigh University

Posted in: Education

One of the nation’s premier institutions, Lehigh University educates the technology leaders of tomorrow and advances science and technology through research, discovery and innovation. Always forward thinking, the staff at Lehigh understands that keeping students engaged is perhaps the most important step in creating a successful learning outcome.

In summer 2015, Library and Technology Services (LTS) created a physical home for the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning, which fosters excellence and innovation in teaching, learning, and research by providing faculty and students with development opportunities, classroom and instructional support, teaching tools, and consultation services. The new CITL is a vibrant place for conversation among faculty, staff, TRAC Fellows, and students. It is also a prototype space that will spark discussions about new possibilities for the Fairchild- Martindale Library and other learning spaces at Lehigh.

One part of this space is the CITL classroom, a flexible teaching and presentation space that can be used in any of the following modes: (a) lecture/presentation for audiences of up to 45 using a 98” ultra-high definition touch-screen display that can present a single image, a quad image from four separate sources, or function as a digital whiteboard, all with options for lecture capture, classroom conferencing, and videoconferencing; (b) small group classroom or workshop space for up to 32 in which students work in small groups with wireless access to four 48” displays on the side walls, with guidance from an instructor who can also use the front media wall to display student work or present to the group as a whole; or (c) events that require additional cameras or mics, technician controlled cameras, or support for audience interaction. All walls have IdeaPaint (whiteboard paint) above the chair rail.

The CITL also offers a smaller seminar room with full videoconferencing resources, a classroom computer with dual screen capability, and a new 86” touchscreen videoconference-ready “MondoPad” display to simplify collaboration at a distance Uses include small classes that need flexible furniture and small meetings that need projection or videoconferencing technology for interviews, presentations, and discussions.

The CITL Commons is a place for one-to-one or small-group conversations, consultations, and conferences among faculty, students, TRAC Fellows, and staff. Tables that are not used for this purpose are available for student study space. The Commons offers an 80” laptop-ready display for presentation, a digital bulletin board, and public-site printer.

Vistacom worked with Lehigh University on the CITL technology design including the integration the large interactive display, conferencing tools, digital signage and Crestron’s AirMedia to support Lehigh’s collaboration concept with the ability to “Bring Your Own Device” and share content wirelessly. AirMedia allows students to enter a learning space and wirelessly present PowerPoint®, Excel®, and Word documents, PDFs, photos, and screen shots from their personal iOS® or Android™ mobile device on the room display. Mac® and Windows® notebooks also connect seamlessly, making presentations and collaboration from almost any device incredibly fast and easy.

Lehigh University has developed an effective collaborative learning environment for their students. Education is evolving due to the impact of technology. We cannot teach our students in the same manner in which we were taught. Change is necessary to engage students in the curriculum, as well as in the school itself.

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