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Throw out your idea of the traditional classroom. Imagine yourself in a whole new educational space where there isn’t a back of the room to hide in. Imagine yourself in a space where the active engagement of students with educational content and faculty is promoted by the space and technology itself. Today’s learners are more collaborative, relational, and technology capable than ever before. In response, the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing has developed an educational space, the Collaboratory, that integrates technology in a way that removes the barriers of technology and learning and fully embraces active learning. Passive learning is no longer an option in the space.

Everything from the chairs on wheels to the huddleboards and CopyCams to the Teamboards and wireless technologies allows students to experience learning through exploration. Under the active learning model, teachers serve as facilitators, where learning and knowledge generation occur throughout the space. Often, the configuration of the instructional space can impede learning. The Collaboratory removes obstacles by creating an instructional area that accommodates a variety of teaching methods and engages today’s learner in an active, group oriented setting.

The Collaboratory design breaks the instructional space into multiple student groups in a way that eliminates a true room orientation, thus engaging the entire room. Each group is equipped with familiar technologies including a computer, 60” LCD monitor, wireless keyboard, mouse, Teamboard Tablet, webcam, and Huddleboards. By using web-based collaboration tools, the Collaboratory extends beyond its physical walls and is available to distance education students around the world.

Learn more about the products that help make up the Collaboratory:

What people are saying about the collaboratory

"The Collaboratory provides faculty an opportunity to engage students with course material and each other. The technology and classroom arrangement open new possibilities for active learning, helping to change the ways in which we teach. It’s about student learning, giving the tools to make the classroom more dynamic, interesting, and alive."

Read what others are saying about the collaboratory here.

Collaboratory Drawing

Transforming the Learning Experience

The College of Nursing is innovating the way that instructional spaces are conceptualized, maintained and executed. Too long classroom spaces have been designed separate from faculty input and consideration for the learner. The Center for Academic Technology and Educational Resources (CATER), the colleges internal information technology and communications support and development group, has partnered with faculty and looked to research to conceptualize the next generation of learning space design, including the role of technology. Therefore, the innovation and expansion of the Collaboratory model is leading the way in both the Information technology and educational realms.

The information technology and communication environments at the College of Nursing are governed by what we call the three Ss – standardization, supportability, and sustainability. These measures serve as our litmus test – guiding selection, implementation, and usage. In addition to the three Ss, the Collaboratory model was designed with usability, flexibility, and affordability in mind. Our goal was to create a model that could be replicated in all classrooms.

The Collaboratory model transforms the learning experience by 1) arranging the physical space to promote interaction, noise, and movement; 2) surrounding faculty and students with tools to create, brainstorm, and discuss, and 3) interconnecting familiar and affordable technologies in a unique way to promote collaboration, knowledge creation, and engagement.

From an educational perspective, the Collaboratory design is grounded in the Constructivist learning theory, which argues that humans generate knowledge and meaning through their experiences. Through this theory, the role of the faculty shifts from teacher to facilitator, placing a higher regard for the social process by which students learn over their own ability to convey the information. The Collaboratory is on the cutting edge of classroom design and technology integration as the focus is no longer on the dissemination of content but on the students’ ability to experience the content in new ways and generate new content with the faculty. Our intent is to challenge the status quo of teaching and learning by creating a space that by nature defies tradition and facilitates experiential, active learning.