When an opportunity arose to create a one-of-a-kind instructional space on campus that could potentially set the stage for all future active learning classrooms, the Information Technology Solutions (ITS) Multimedia Group jumped at the chance to be part of the innovative remodel for Skye Hall 170. Once a Hyper-Instructional Studio geared towards faculty instructional needs, the team, in collaboration with Facilities Services, transformed the space into a campus-first unique teaching space.
With active learning classrooms (ALCs) identified as a top strategic technology in EDUCAUSE’s 2017 survey of higher education information technology leaders and ACLs (e.g., student-centered, technology-rich learning environments) being the focus at many campuses nationwide this year, the team was tasked with this endeavor by UCR’s Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor Cynthia Larive last winter. With a growing student body and lofty course schedule, plus the shortage of instructional space on campus concerning executive leadership at UCR – rethinking classroom design, and a framework for future classroom standards, was a welcome challenge.
Skye Hall 170 (formerly Surge), which held its first courses this Fall, is equipped with today’s industry standards for teaching and learning, in-class and at a distance. Furnished with classroom wide microphones, live writing projection, lecture capture capabilities and more, the remodeled space allows for greater connectivity and creative mobile seating configurations to enhance learning experiences. Additionally, with the expertise from Facilities Services regarding the updated California Title 24 Building Efficiency Standards – this active learning classroom is fitted with energy-efficient lighting strategies and advanced lighting design technologies such as smart lighting controls, motion sensors, and LED luminaires, all of which offer the greatest cost and energy savings.
Cross-departmental collaboration can pose as an obstacle however the cooperative partnership between ITS’ Multimedia Group and Facilities Services, as well as exceptional project management from ITS’ Israel Fletes and Facilities Service’s Zee Dinh, ensured this initiative’s success – enabling our commitment to continuously improving UC Riverside’s technology services.