What do students really want from their campus experience is the crux of this article. Today’s college students, according to the writer, are actively seeking their individuality in the physical design of the campus. So is it possible to have educational design that emphasizes both connection and collaboration? Apparently so.
Students are currently seeking classrooms that inspire them, environments that support collaboration with their peers and teachers, and quiet places to actually get work done. In an effort to better understand student lives so that better spaces could be designed for them, Gensler, the global design firm, recently spent a semester surveying more than 250 undergrad and graduate students from around the country. The idea was to understand exactly how and where they spend their study time on campus, and whether those physical spaces (classrooms, labs, libraries, in-between spaces) effectively support their needs.
Survey results revealed that students are dissatisfied with the traditional lecture format and want teachers to now act as facilitators who encourage conversation and collaboration. Nearly one-quarter of the students reported spending no time collaborating on campus, and among those who did, only 13% said they broke into groups to collaborate during class time.
Campus 3.0 encourages the human side of connectedness. Traditionally, classroom buildings were designed with double-loaded corridors that efficiently carve classroom after classroom into both sides of a corridor. Those corridors/buildings now need to be opened up. A mix of classrooms, open team-based spaces, and social spaces needs to be interwoven to give students the dynamic learning environments they told us are missing from their campus experience.
The survey also surprisingly revealed that students preferred using pen and paper as their study tools followed closely by and in tandem with laptops and the Internet. By using pen and paper to write/sketch/concept, students have that intimate connection that is physical and tangible—essential elements that are required for making them independent adult thinkers. Plus they want to feel connected and inspired by their classrooms. Functionality and technology does not suffice. Collaboration and conversation is needed.
In short, students are seeking a campus experience that honors skill sets while enhancing the thing that matters most: their humanness.