Jetsonian learning

- January 27, 2011

Imad Mekhail, Mina Atia and Peng Fei Li test drive one of the pods in the Learning Incubator and Networking Centre, LINC for short. The document on Peng Fei's laptop is shown on the monitor. (Bruce Bottomley Photo)

James Boxall has found a unique way to work activity into his day. For the hour that his class, Introduction to Human Geography, is in session, he’s constantly on the move.

His classroom is located in the Learning Incubator and Networking Centre (LINC), which opened recently on the second floor of the Killam Library. It’s unlike any other classroom on campus, fully loaded with the latest high-tech equipment to create an interactive and collaborative work space.

“It’s re-invigorated me and the class. It's a total shift,” says Dr. Boxall, as he explained how the room worked to a gathering of faculty, staff and students on a snowy afternoon.

“The communication with students is different. I talk to students as a small group or talk to all of them at once through the wireless podium. I seem to be doing a lot of walking,” he says, vowing to get a pedometer. 

The classroom is organized in 19 pods, each with a flat screen that students can connect to with their laptops or iPads. Or, the professor equipped with a mic at the wireless podium can send out video or images to all 19 monitors.

The pods are arranged with tables and chairs on wheels, or alternately groupings of sofas or barstools. You can imagine the kids on The Jetsons dropping by, plugging in their laptops and working on small group projects.

The space is designed to be flexible: suitable for a lecture before 115 students seated comfortably or for smaller groups of four to eight, each at their own pod.

LINC is booked for classes Mondays to Fridays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but the library is hoping to open the room for quiet study and group work evenings and weekends.


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