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From UB

Interactive lecture halls enhance higher ed

October, 2016
UNC-Chapel Hill’s Center for Faculty Excellence has experimented with alternative classroom designs that make it easier for instructors to use interactive learning methods—including in lecture hall-sized spaces.

Students enrolled in media ethics at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill this fall walked into a lecture hall that looked radically different than two years ago. Gone is the stadium-style seating. Now the room, used for a wide range of courses, has 100 rolling swivel chairs with adjustable tables and nine mounted video screens.

Active teaching in a traditional lecture hall

October, 2016
High-capacity classrooms: The collaborative BioSciences West classroom at The University of Arizona holds up to 112 students.

Active learning should allow students in traditional lecture halls to work in small groups solving problem sets or developing presentations. That can be accomplished without renovating the space, but the layout does present challenges.

Lecture courses can be made more interactive by breaking up class time with small-group activities.

Technology providers and furniture manufacturers on turning lecture halls into active learning classrooms

October, 2016
The tiered education department classroom at McGill University in Montreal can accommodate up to 96 students.

What would you say to someone who needs convincing that lecture halls and other large spaces can also be active learning environments?

“Large, active learning classrooms support the largest number of students efficiently. The classroom can also be used outside classroom hours for collaborative activities. You’re really increasing the use and efficiency of the real estate.” —Andrew Kim, manager, WorkSpace Futures, Steelcase

Writing to learn: Instilling college ready writing skills

Today, the mastery of writing is critical for success in school, college, and in the vocational, business, and professional workplace. Teachers in K-12 schools across the nation hear their students express fear and loathing of writing – overwhelmed by the writing process and not knowing where to get started.  

Achieving faculty buy-in for new active learning technology

September, 2016

Research has shown that active learning—asking students to engage in class with each other and their instructor—is more effective than traditional lecturing.

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It’s no secret that text messaging is the preferred method of communication for today’s students over email, direct mail or phone calls; a recent study found that some 97 percent say they use texting as their primary form of communication, 73 percent say they want schools to text them, and nearly three quarters of prospective students want to text with admissions counselors. However, only 28 percent report being offered the option to text with their college or university. How should institutions address this gap by reaching students the way they prefer?


Institutions of all sizes are facing increased scrutiny of their student ID systems in light of recent security concerns. At the same time, budgets are tight for many colleges and universities, creating a number of common challenges when it comes to the business processes involved with issuing student IDs and maintaining an ID system.


Over the next decade, higher education will experience a significant shift, as the millennial generation gives way to “Generation Z.” As a result of this multi-generational shift in student expectations, institutions will have to adapt how they do business across departments, from financial aid to the business office to student services. This will include using social media effectively to communicate with students and their families—particularly in the financial aid and business offices.


For institutions to remain competitive, they must support a growing student population while providing responsive and top-quality student services. Linn-Benton Community College, which serves over 20,000 full-, part-time and non-credit students in Oregon, automated admissions processes to ensure that exceptional student experience begins from the first point of contact with the college, while improving efficiency and reducing costs.


Given the current environment in higher ed, the pressure to contain costs and the need to justify expenses, it is more critical than ever that any technology investment not only meet the needs of staff, students and the institution, but also provide a clear return on investment. When it comes to the significant investment involved with implementing an ERP, there are strategies and approaches that any institution can take to reduce total cost of ownership, as well as realize ROI in the least amount of time possible.