The Learning Innovation Center (LInC) serves every department on campus with 2,300 seats of formal teaching space, 640 seats of informal learning space, and unique, technologically-rich teaching and learning environments not previously implemented in academia.
Innovative Classroom Layouts Bora challenged typical large classroom formats in order to achieve active learning at all scales. Following multiple pedagogy charrettes with faculty and students, the design team created a series of innovative new classroom configurations. The arena is a 600-seat classroom-in-the-round that situates all students within 35 feet of the presenter. The small arena accommodates 300 students and reduces the distance to the presenter to 25 feet. The parliament (fashioned after its British namesake) is a curved, double-loaded configuration that seats 175 and encourages discourse and debate amongst students with flexible presentation locations. LInC also includes two learning studios featuring movable furniture and robust screen sharing technology for use across different pedagogies.
Measuring Learning Outcomes The excitement generated by LInC’s unique design has inspired a long-term partnership between Bora and Oregon State’s College of Education, Center for Teaching and Learning, and Media Service’s Teaching Across the Curriculum that studies the effects of alternative large-scale classroom configurations on student learning outcomes and engagement. Initial research created a baseline of student outcomes by studying large-scale classrooms in existing OSU facilities in which instructors are attempting to use active learning techniques. Data about test scores, attendance, participation, and engagement is now being gathered on the same courses/instructors in LInC’s new classrooms. More than 10,000 students have signed up to participate, and clicker technology tracks student attendance and seating location in the room. The data collected will inform future classrooms and teaching methods both on the OSU campus and at other higher education institutions.
New Approaches to Building Circulation With 5,000+ students exchanging places during the 10 minutes between classes, a critical design component was enabling easy flow to and from all classrooms. Bora investigated how airports manage dense passenger congestion to maximize movement, and LInC’s design incorporates the concept of flow regulation. Rather than locating classrooms against the exterior walls of the building with only one entrance/exit to a crowded interior corridor, the design team pulled formal learning spaces to the center of the building with informal spaces - and circulation - forming the perimeter. Not only does this allow for multiple points of access to each classroom, but informal spaces such as study lounges, breakout spaces, and writing nooks enjoy maximum views and daylight. Additionally, pulling the classroom away from the exterior surfaces eliminates daylight glare and thermal heat loss.
Knitting into the Campus Fabric In housing LInC’s innovative interiors, the exterior of the building had to address its location within the campus’ carefully protected historic core. OSU is in fact Oregon’s only university to have part of its campus designated as a National Historic District listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The building’s heavily textured red brick façade connects to the color and material vocabulary of the campus, while large windows create an occupiable facade that showcases the informal study and social areas of the large circulation loop.