Learning Spaces

In addition to wireless internet access, seating may include power and ethernet outlets--such as these in the Undergraduate Science Building and Palmer Commons.

ethernet and power outlet


chair ethernet and power outlet

Informal learning spaces, such as this in the newly constructed Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Building, may be purposefully designed to encourage student collaboration. This space features movable, comfortable seating with swivel tablets and a white board coffee table with swivelling notebook trays.


Traditional computer arrangement in an electronic classroom

traditional computers

Computers around the edge of the room facing the walls

computers around the edge

Horseshoe arrangement of tables

horseshoe computers

Circular table arrangement

circular arrangement

Peninsular arrangement of computers

Round tables inside an "L"

Mark Emmons and Frances C. Wilkinson, "Designing the electronic classroom," Library Hi Tech, 19, no. 1, (2001), 77-87


Seating 20-25, these rooms are oriented to group work, class discussion and other collaborative learning projects.

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  • Tables and chairs should be moveable to allow for various classroom configurations (Allen, et al., 1996).

Instructional Media

  • Overhead projectors and computer projectors should be on moveable carts (Allen et al., 1996; Cornell University, 1998).


  • Lectern should be moveable (Cornell University, 1998).
  • A portable floor or table–top lectern should be used (Allen, et al., 1996).

Noise Reduction

  • Carpeting, drapes and upholstered furnishing should be considered (Allen et al., 1996; Burnett et al., 2003).

Screen and Blackboard

  • The projection screen and blackboard should be positioned for simultaneous use (Burnett et al., 2003.

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The purpose of a lab and its corresponding instrumentation will accordingly determine many of its design components (Gottfried, 2005).

AVT Equipment

  • Infrequently used AVT equipment (projectors, overhead machines) should be stored on moveable carts or, when appropriate, mounted to the ceiling.


  • Central location of the chalkboard ensures an adequate view for all.


  • Consider placing workstation computers on a hutch at each work station.
  • Computers to be shared by students may also be placed in conveniently located work areas (for example, at the end of the lab table or in small computing clusters around the room).


  • For “wet” labs where water and various gases must be readily available to students, consider “dropping” fixtures from ceiling instead of affixing them to student work station surfaces.

Items for consideration:

The following topics are presented as items to be considered that will vary with the space’s intended use (physics, biology, or chemistry lab, etc.). Read more »