A Pitch for the Future of Higher Ed: Ditch the Classroom

What if “classrooms” were more like work spaces, with individual desks replacing lecture halls?

IDS staff member Curtis Bryant brought this Chronicle of Higher Education blog post on “free thinking” student experience to my attention. It offers an interesting idea from Brian Mathews, Associate Dean for Learning & Outreach at Virginia Tech, on replacing traditional classroom spaces with “experiences” made by students forming relationships over their shared, but individualized, work spaces. Mathews mentions in describing the exercise that prompted “[t]hese ideas were not expected to be grounded in reality— but to intentionally be provocative, disruptive, or transformative.”

Virginia Tech: Burchard Hall from virginiatech on Vimeo.

I think it’s more feasible that Mathews gives himself credit for — if institutions would just give it a chance (outside of architecture schools). Online education trends break down the Teacher Stands in Front of a Group and Lectures, very one-way education model, so why not have that teacher be “free-floating” as a resource in a “classroom” that looks more like library?

The post is worth checking out in full: NO CLASSROOMS, JUST EXPERIENCES: “free thinking” the future of higher ed. What do you think?

Featured image of Virgina Tech’s Burchard Hall from the Chronicle.


Alex is online course support technician at IDS, working to support all online, hybrid and LMS-enhanced instructors and students in using Blackboard and several media servers. She's also the administrator for the MCC Blogs network. You can reach her at acgarrison@mccneb.edu.

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Posted in Blog, Online Pedagogy

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