Dissolving walls and synchronizing watches (from Campus Matters)

Michael Haggans, Visiting Professor-Center for 21st Century Universities - Georgia Institute of Technology; Visiting Scholar-College of Design - University of Minnesota

My campus planning course explores the future of campuses and prepares emerging professionals for these practice settings.

For the first half of the semester I experimented with making the room bigger – dissolving the walls that bound the traditional classroom. On March 3, 2015, for example, our session on the future of the campus included more than 40 students and guests in time zones from Western Europe to British Columbia. The synchronous discussion engaged students with the perspectives of academics and professional campus planners.

Most students were in the classroom/studio on the Georgia Tech campus. Others were elsewhere in Georgia or Minnesota. We usually had at least one guest speaker in the classroom and one via web conference. For seven sessions, we also had dozens of other guests as I experimented with the ability to scale up and export the course to a broader audience. [My observations on teaching this way are provided at the end of this post.]