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Effects of Different Seating Arrangements in Higher Education Computer Lab Classrooms on Student Learning, Teaching Styl...


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EFFECTS OF DIFFERENT SEATING A RRANGEMENTS IN HIGHER EDUCATION COMPUTER LAB CLASSROOMS ON STUDENT LEARNING, TEACHING STYLE, AND CLASSROOM APPRAISAL By JESSICA CALLAHAN A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF INTERIOR DESIGN UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2004

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Copyright 2004 by Jessica L Callahan

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to thank my committee members, Dr. M. Jo Hasell and Dr. Helena Moussatche, for their guidance throughout this masters research project. The topic of this research was suggested by Dr. Helena Moussatche and Professor Janine King. Dr. M. Jo Hasell and I further investigated the topic. I would also like to thank the professors in the Sociology and Criminolgy Departments for their permission to use their classes in this study and for their sincere interest in this topic. Finally, I would like to thank my family and close friends for their support and encouragement. Without Dr. M. Jo Hasells vigorous effort and the support of my family and friends, this project would have never been completed. iii

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TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.................................................................................................iii LIST OF TABLES.............................................................................................................vi LIST OF FIGURES..........................................................................................................vii ABSTRACT.....................................................................................................................viii CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................1 Statement of Purpose....................................................................................................2 Rationale.......................................................................................................................2 Significance..................................................................................................................3 2 PHILOSOPHIES AND PRACTICES OF TEACHING AND LEARNING IN HIGHER EDUCATION...............................................................................................7 Teaching Methods........................................................................................................7 Learning Styles.............................................................................................................9 Information Technology in Higher Education............................................................11 3 PHYSICAL AND SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS OF EDUCATIONAL LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS...............................................................................17 Physical and Social Characteristics of Educational Learning Environments.............17 Physical Characteristics of Classrooms......................................................................18 Computer Lab Classrooms..................................................................................19 Physical Characteristics that Support Learning Environments...........................24 Social Characteristics of Classrooms..........................................................................29 4 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY...............................................................................32 Research Setting.........................................................................................................32 Respondents................................................................................................................35 Procedure....................................................................................................................36 Instruments.................................................................................................................37 iv

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5 FINDINGS..................................................................................................................43 Evaluation of the Physical Setting..............................................................................43 Computerized Classroom Environment Inventory (CCEI).................................43 Isovist Analysis...................................................................................................45 Adjustment of Workstations................................................................................48 Students Appraisal of the Physical Characteristics............................................49 Teachers Appraisal of the Physical Characteristics...........................................51 Teachers and Students Appraisal Comparisons................................................52 Evaluation of the Social Setting.................................................................................53 Classroom Observations......................................................................................53 Students Self-Reported Appraisals....................................................................54 Teachers Appraisal of Social Setting.................................................................57 Teachers and Students Appraisal Comparisons................................................59 6 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS......................................................................61 Physical Setting Observations and Appraisals...........................................................62 CCEI Observations..............................................................................................62 Isovist Analysis Compared With Observations...................................................63 Student and Teacher Self-Reported Appraisals...................................................63 Social Setting Observations and Appraisals...............................................................65 Observations........................................................................................................65 Students Appraisals of Classrooms....................................................................66 Limitations and Assumptions.....................................................................................67 Suggestions for Further Research...............................................................................68 Suggestions for Architects, Designers, and Facility Planners....................................70 Conclusion..................................................................................................................71 APPENDIX A COMPUTER CLASSROOM ENVIRONMENT INVENTORY (CCEI)..................73 B ISOVIST ANALYSIS................................................................................................75 C BEHAVIORAL MAPPING.......................................................................................79 D CLASSROOM APPRAISAL SURVEY: STUDENT................................................82 E CLASSROOM APPRAISAL SURVEY: TEACHER................................................85 LIST OF REFERENCES...................................................................................................87 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.............................................................................................93 v

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LIST OF TABLES Table page 4-1 Number of students and teachers in each classroom................................................36 4-2 Classroom schedules................................................................................................37 5-1 CCEI scores of each computer lab classroom..........................................................45 5-2 Students classroom appraisal..................................................................................49 5-3 Students open-ended positive and negative comments...........................................51 5-4 T-test of students perceptions of teaching style used..............................................55 5-5 Chi Squared of students perceptions of students helping each other......................56 5-6 T-test of students perceptions of student group work.............................................56 5-7 T-test of students perceptions of student distraction...............................................56 5-8 Summary of teachers appraisals of seating arrangements......................................59 5-9 Teacher and student response comparisons.............................................................59 vi

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LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 3-1 U or V computer lab seating arrangement...............................................................22 3-2 Cluster seating arrangement.....................................................................................23 3-3 Conventional straight row seating arrangement.......................................................23 3-4 Pod seating arrangement..........................................................................................24 4-1 CIRCA classroom floor plan....................................................................................34 4-2 Isovist field of visionplan viewadapted from Benedikt (1979)........................39 5-1 Student isovist analysis of Classroom A..................................................................46 5-2 Teacher isovist analysis of Classroom A.................................................................47 5-3 Isovist analysis of Classroom B...............................................................................48 5-4 Adjustment of computer monitors in Classroom B..................................................49 vii

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Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Interior Design EFFECTS OF DIFFERENT SEATING ARRANGEMENTS IN HIGHER EDUCATION COMPUTER LAB CLASSROOMS ON STUDENT LEARNING, TEACHING STYLE, AND CLASSROOM APPRAISAL By Jessica Callahan August 2004 Chair: M. Joyce Hasell Major Department: Interior Design This study investigated the physical arrangement of workstations, seating and equipment in computer lab classrooms and its effect on the social and physical settings of the classroom. The literature suggests that information technology (IT) encourages students to learn by doing and therefore affects student learning and teaching style within the technology-rich classroom environment. Zandervliet and Straker believe that the physical design of the seating, computer placement, and arrangement of space is often overlooked when IT is integrated into classrooms. However, no current research was found to support whether or not the physical design of higher education computer lab classrooms affects student learning, teaching style, and student and teacher appraisal of the classroom. This study compared two differently arranged computer lab classrooms on the University of Florida campus. One computer lab classroom was configured in straight rows with a center aisle, while the other computer lab classroom was arranged in pods viii

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cross-shaped desks with a computer workstation at each end of the desk. Workstations and room arrangements were evaluated using measurements of the physical settings from the Computerized Classroom Environment Inventory (CCEI) instrument. A survey was conducted with 72 students and 5 teachers to appraise both the social and physical classroom settings. The CCEI measures revealed deficiencies in the Computer, Workspace, and Visual environments in the straight row computer lab classroom, while the pod-arranged computer lab classroom only had a deficiency in the Computer workstation environment. Observations and student/teacher survey responses revealed that the students in the straight row computer lab classroom were off-task more often, had fewer student-to-teacher interactions, helped other students more often, and were distracted more often than the students in the pod arrangement. The frequency of student-to-student and student-to-teacher interactions indicated that the pod arrangement supported more collaboration than the straight row classroom. Nevertheless, over half of the students in both computer labs liked their classroom. Further research is required to clarify the interactions between students and teachers in higher education IT classrooms. This study recommends that designers of IT classrooms (1), first, identify social intentions of the users and (2), second, design facilities to support student learning and teaching styles with appropriate equipment, furniture and physical layout. ix

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Technology is now the real environment shaper of school design.Spurgeon, 1998: 46a. Architects, designers, and facility planners are under both societal and academic pressure to design and build university classrooms that support rapidly emerging technological learning environments (Carlson, 2002; Kettinger, 1991; Report of the IT Review Committee, 2001; and Zandvliet and Straker, 2001). Their major goal is to consider providing an environment designed to enhance a students ability to understand, observe, and participate in active learning (University of Washington Classroom Support Services, 1998, p 3). Increasingly, universities are struggling to invest in information technology (IT) and technology-rich classrooms in order to develop improved models of teaching and learning. There is a growing body of empirical research about the impact of computers on student and teacher interaction and motivation (Zandvliet and Straker, 2001; Carlson, 2002). Some educators (Link to Learn: Technology Tutorials, 2000) believe that IT motivates individual students to learn by doing even though Liu, Macmillan, and Timmons (1998) found there was no [measurable] effect on student achievement (p 189). Additionally, technology-rich environments affect both the process of exploration and the teaching style or presentation of the content (Cohen, 1997). A less understood component of IT classrooms is the physical design of the seating, furniture, computer placement, and arrangement of space. Cornell (2003) believes that ergonomic comfort, 1

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2 safety, and health needs must be addressed in order to promote well-being. Long before technology and IT classrooms, Sommer (1967) found that the seating position that a student selected in a general-purpose classroom was highly correlated with their participation in the class. However, no current research was found to support whether or not and how the physical arrangement of space, furniture, ergonomic comfort, and computer placement in computer lab classrooms supports the interactions and the efforts of the students and the teacher. Statement of Purpose This study addresses one part of the changing IT classroom setting, specifically the physical arrangement of seating and furniture. Two differently arranged computer lab classrooms will be evaluated to understand the effect of the physical seating arrangement on (1) student and teacher interactions, as well as (2) their satisfaction with the classroom environment. The specific purposes of this study are to explore whether or not different seating arrangements of computer tables and computers in computer labs (straight rows versus pods shaped like a cross with computers at each end) affect: 1a. the amount of observed interaction among the students and teacher in a class; 1b. the reported style of teaching that is performed; 1c. the reported students perception of their own learning in these classrooms; and 2. student and teacher appraisal with the classroom setting. Rationale There are claims that technology rich classrooms (1) promote student interaction with media learning tools, (2) foster interaction among students themselves, (3) support communication with teachers, and (4) motivate individual students to learn by doing (Carlson, 2002, and Zandvliet and Straker, 2001). Despite these claims, no significant research has confirmed them.

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3 There are also beliefs that the physical environment plays an important role in the learning and teaching process. For example, Cornell (2003) believes that the shift from passive learning to active learning requires students to physically and mentally be more active. Therefore, the traditional stand and deliver method, which required long uninterrupted sitting, is becoming a more engaged process where students are allowed greater movement and positioning (Cornell, p 3). Cornell believes this more engaged process of learning reduces or eliminates drowsiness and muscle fatigue. However, no research has provided evidence of whether or not and how the physical arrangement of space, furniture and equipment in differently arranged computer lab classrooms supports the efforts of students and the teacher. A first step taken in this study is to systematically compare two computer lab classrooms at the University of Florida, each with a different seating arrangement, in order to evaluate whether or not and how these physical arrangements affect student and teacher interaction and satisfaction. Significance For decades, the term classroom was characterized as a rectangular room where the focus was directed to the front where the instructor exercised complete control of the pace, content, and sequence of activities by using a blackboard and overhead projector (Cornell, 2003, p 1). However since 1984, student computer use in all levels of instruction has almost tripled (CEO Forum on Educational Technology, 2001) and technology is currently an important part of the educational process from grade school thru higher education. Considering just how to integrate technological changes into current classroom settings is challenging administrators, faculty, designers, facility planners, and architects alike. Thus, educators, researchers, designers and facility planners, who specialize in school design, must learn how to create and renovate the

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4 technological learning environments that are slowly replacing the one size fits all classroom (Zandvliet and Straker, 2001). Teaching and learning is no longer about the teacher standing at the front of the room and the students sitting at their hard, uncomfortable desks. Rather, it is about these new, complex technological learning environments that are more concerned with the people-machine interaction. Additionally, they must recognize that behavior related to how humans teach and in turn learn is both linked to and affected by the physical qualities of the complex classroom environment (Gifford, 2002). Examining just one element of this rich environment, Swanquist (1998) found that comfortable classroom seating helped to improve the students attention span and also increased their retention of information. In addition to influencing the shape of the physical learning environment, the implementation of technology in higher education is challenging educators to reevaluate their social role as teacher as well as their instructional methods. Ultimately, technology is slowly changing instruction. The traditional teacher-centered style of instruction, where teachers deliver the information and students sit silently taking notes, is slowly being replaced with student-centered learning (Nair, 2000). Similarly, many believe that effective learning rarely occurs passively (Nair, 2000; Halpern, 1994). Educators have come to realize that effective instruction focuses on active involvement of students in their own learning, with opportunities for teacher and peer interactions that engage students natural curiosity. (Halpern, 1994, p 11) Neuman (2003) argues that information technology (IT) is forcing a revolution in how all of these players think about what makes a good place of learning. The term place of learning recognizes that learning can take place in any environment where people are actively motivated to do so. Studentcentered learning requires active and inquisitive students. Hence, courses and classrooms that emphasize collaboration,

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5 computer use, and social learning are replacing the passive model of learning (Cornell, 2003). Many educators believe it is important to make this switch away from memorizing a factual knowledge base to instead helping students learn the critical thinking skills required to produce knowledge. These higher order thinking skills include the mental abilities of interpretation, analysis, evaluation, inference, explanation, and self-regulation (Facione, 1996). Many believe that technology facilitates critical thinking skills by helping to motivate students and to retain their attention (Cohen, 1997; Enghagen, 1997; and Kettinger, 1991). Hence, learning environments should be designed in new ways that encourage the development of student-centered learning skills. According to Kettinger (1991), large sums of money are being expended to build and support computer classrooms, yet little research has been conducted to determine their value from either a teaching or cost/benefit point of view (p 42). Therefore, a post occupancy evaluation of any new facility should be required to see if the technology and furnishings are being integrated properly within different classroom designs. Computer classrooms may only be effective in facilitating certain activities. Therefore, not all courses will require a fully equipped computer lab. Student outcomes should also be evaluated or compared to a course with similar goals that did not use a computer classroom. In other words, decision makers should ask, What are the learning goals to which technology is applied? (North Central Regional Educational Laboratory, 2003). At the University of Floridathe setting for this researchfrom the 1996-97 school year to the 1998-99 school year, the IT and communications budget went from $50 million a year to $62 million a year resulting in a nineteen percent increase (Office of Academic Technology: Classroom Support, 2003). Most of this budget was spent on

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6 wiring classrooms for the teachers to use PowerPoint presentations as an instructional tool and to allow access to the World Wide Web. However, in 2000-2001, the University of Florida allocated about 3 percent of the IT expenditures to enhance four campus computer lab classrooms. A more significant budget output was unjustified because there is little or no evidence to ensure administrators that money spent to renovate existing classrooms into technology rich settings is effective. Therefore, empirical evidence is needed to find out whether or not IT classrooms that are designed to support a student-centered learning paradigm, actually satisfy students and teachers and perhaps ultimately improve student learning. Examining the role of the physical environment and its effect on teaching and learning can provide universities, architects, designers, and facility planners with a better understanding of how to design computer lab classrooms. Chapter 2 examines the past decades of teaching methods and learning styles and the integration of IT into classrooms. Chapter 3 explores the physical and social characteristics of educational learning environments.

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CHAPTER 2 PHILOSOPHIES AND PRACTICES OF TEACHING AND LEARNING IN HIGHER EDUCATION Two thousand years ago school took place on the stairs of ancient Greek temples or in the shade of a farmers wall (Castaldi, 1994) as teachers and students held their discussions when and where they could. As time progressed from the days of no chairs and desks, schools became places where teachers cited information and students recited it. This style of teaching and information exchange had its roots in religion. Telling parishioners what to think was practiced as preaching and the catechism (Castaldi). The 18th and 19th century industrial age school model also promoted lecturing where the instructor was the leader and the students were the passive receivers of information (Cornell, 1999). In the late 1890s, philosopher and educational reformer John Dewey proposed a change and called it learning by doing (Smith, 2002). With this model students actively engaged in creating their own learning experiences. Deweys ideas, although ahead of his time, set in motion an educational reform movement called the Progressive era that is becoming even more relevant in the 21st century. The following chapter reviews the literature concerning: (1) the past decade of teaching methods; (2) the past decade of learning styles; and (3) the integration of information technology (IT) into classrooms. Teaching Methods Although teaching and learning activities coexist, they have very distinct characteristics. Hativa (2000) lists the following skills of teachers: 7

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8 Examine, interpret, and share learning; Understand how students learn; Learn the knowledge in their field; Conduct research on learning and teaching; Share their experiences. Additionally, an effective teacher also understands how to promote a love for self-learning in students. Bess (2000) argues that student preferences for teaching strategies are for active and challenging learning, where they are involved, where learning is connected to real life, and where there are opportunities for mutual responsibility (p 53). Scott-Webber, Marini, and Abraham (2000) have divided possible teacher-student relationships into different types of communication styles. They include one-on-one, presentation, teamwork, and discussion. The one-on-one communication style is associated with self-directed learning, learning through electronic tutorials, or teacher-to-student learning. The one-on-one style places an emphasis on the students understanding and discovery (Hativa and Birrenbaum, 2000). The most common communication style is known as presentation (Scott-Webber et al. 2000). This includes activities such as lecturing, sharing information, motivating, and performing demonstrations. Because students are less willing to learn in a lecture format and prefer a more active learning environment (Wolff, 2001), presenters must emphasize quality (Hativa and Birrenbaum, 2000). Cornell (2003) suggests that students are less willing to learn in a lecture format because they are fatigued and drowsy from sitting for long periods of time. They prefer an active learning environment because it is more physically and mentally stimulating. The implementation of technology software, such as PowerPoint, can help to create a stimulating learning environment that may aid the

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9 instructor in retaining the students attention. Nonetheless, the student is still a passive observer. Teamwork is increasingly becoming popular and is also referred to as collaborative learning. The activities involved with teamwork are intergroup work, shared discovery, brainstorming, and games. Therefore, the instructor becomes a facilitator of knowledge. This style allows students to be recognized as individuals with different strengths (Hativa and Birrenbaum, 2000). The discussion style involves the exchange of information, making decisions, and meeting. The discussion style has similar teamwork style characteristics such as the sharing of information and brainstorming. Instructors also allocate certain amounts of discussion time in lectures or presentations in order to answer any questions that may arise from the lecture (Hativa and Birrenbaum, 2000). These different types of communication styles will be identified in each computer lab classroom of this study. Both the students and teachers will be asked which communication style is performed most often. This will determine which communication style is most popular and whether or not the students and teachers perceptions are the same. Learning Styles On the other end of the spectrum is the learning process. For Light and Cox (2001), learning is part of the whole of the academic enterprise, which includes the personal, practical, and social dimensions of students learning life (p 63). According to Radloff (1998), learning must promote understanding, application, and transfer (p 1). Learning, as defined by Light and Cox, is an active and meaningful construction of

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10 facts, ideas, concepts, theories, and experiences in order to work and manage successfully in a changing world of contexts (p 63). Bess (2000) believes students conceptions of learning are mediated by how well professors communicate their expectations to students and how they evaluate learning (p 51). Therefore, if the professors poorly communicate their expectations, then the result of student learning outcomes will be poor and vice versa. According to Bess, there are certain teaching methods that are appropriate for particular learning outcomes. For example, if the learning outcome is to gain factual knowledge of principles and theories, then the most efficient teaching method is lectures and reading. On the other hand, if the learning outcome is to gain higher-order thinking skills, then the instructor should use a method that allows the student to become actively engaged and able to manipulate the principle learned. Combining these two teaching methods is becoming popular. For example, some research methods courses consist of a lecture class that meets three times a week and a computer lab class that meets once a week. The computer lab session allows the students to apply what they learned in the lecture by experimenting or demonstrating with computer technology. This is also known as enactive representation. According to Bess, this means that students can actively manipulate objects or events, as in demonstrations or experimental learning (p 52). Over the years, there has been a vast amount of research on students learning styles (Hativa and Birrenbaum, 2000; Light and Cox, 2001; Leider, 1998; and, Daley et al., 2001). Claxton and Murrells (1987) model is basic. It informs this study because the categories of the model provide specific characteristics to look for during observations in the two different computer lab classrooms. The four main categories of

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11 the model are personality, information processing, social interaction, and instructional preference. Personality refers to the characteristics of the student along a continuum from introvert a shy and reserved person to extrovert a sociable person. How a student receives and processes information is known as information processing. For example, some students may take notes whereas other students may process information just by listening or watching. Social interaction involves the interaction and behavior of a student during the lesson. Certain room layouts may restrict certain interactions among the students and teacher. Instructional preference concentrates on individual preferences for the media used, such as watching, reading, listening, and performing, when the learning occurs. Each student has a different instructional preference that allows them to effectively process and retain the knowledge. Information Technology in Higher Education Educational technology advanced rapidly after the invention of the chalkboard in the 19th century, and was accompanied by minor physical changes in learning environments through most of the 20th century (Castaldi, 1994). Such changes to the traditional lecture-style classrooms were generally made to support the latest technology. While some traditional lecture-style classrooms have been drastically converted into electronic laboratory-style classrooms supplied with hardware such as projectors, computers, and projection screens, most have only been moderately updated to afford the use of electronic instructional tools, such as PowerPoint. Therefore, it is important to understand how the design of computer lab classrooms supports the interactions between teachers and students and how the design of computer lab classrooms supports learning and teaching styles.

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12 Computers are now being integrated into the classrooms and slowly transforming the way instructors teach and the way students learn. What began as a presentation tool for teachers has evolved into fully equipped and wired classrooms where each student has their own computer. For example, lecture classrooms and computer lab classrooms are increasingly becoming equipped with power supply outlets at each student desk for laptop computers or computer workstations for each student. Although the teacher still lectures or presents information to the students in the computer lab classroom, the students can now apply the knowledge they receive from the teacher during the instructional session. For example, the teacher will explain different statistical tests and then the students are given the opportunity to conduct a test on their specific topic using the computer and appropriate software programs. This additional dimension of learning also allows the teacher to play the role of facilitator. Leider (1998) argues that the integration of computer technology enhances student-centered education, as well as the communication among faculty and students (Enghagen, 1997). Unfortunately, neither author discussed how the physical environment of technologyrich classrooms impacts the learning process and interaction. For example, the assumption is that the computer alone is used in the computer lab classrooms, however, students still need adequate worksurfaces to write or take notes, otherwise they may become distracted or fall behind in the instructions. From Cornells (2003) perspective, the physical environment of technology-rich classrooms is focused towards a user-centered design, where the needs of the instructors and learners drive the design of the classrooms. Teachers need to be able to move throughout the classroom in order to provide guidance for their students. Students,

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13 large and small, should have adjustable chairs, workstations, and computers. Cornell suggests that there are three factors that contribute to the need for adjustability: task duration, posture static-ness, and availability of an adjustable height chair (p 3). The adjustability of furniture allows the students to be comfortable for extended periods of time. Nonetheless, the complexity of technology-rich classrooms requires architects, designers, and facility planners to consider the ergonomic comfort needs of the user and their interactions with machines. Several societal trends are important reasons to integrate information technology into higher education facilities. They include competition, career preparation, teaching and learning enhancement, and productivity (Enghagen, 1997). An increasing number of students enter college with computer skills and technology expectations (Enghagen). Todays students use computers daily and fluidly, and also learn with hands on activities (Carlson, 2002). Therefore, colleges compete with each other in order to provide the best technology resources for their prospective students (Enghagen). Preparation for the 21st century labor market also plays an important role with the integration of information technology into higher education learning environments. A report from the CEO Forum on Education and Technology (2001) stated that the operation of the economy and society is being transformed by information technology. Universities must meet the demands of the future in order to prepare students for the digital age. Students must also be prepared for lifelong learning as technology continues to advance. Another reason for the integration of information technology is to enhance curriculum and learning environments. Enghagen (1997) believes that IT (information

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14 technology) can enhance classes and improve student learning (p 31). According to Kettinger (1991), the use of computer technology in the classroom helps retain the students attention and enables them to experiment with what is being taught. Some instructors believe that students get bored and lose interest if they do not use visual or active technology to grab their attention (Carlson, 2002). In Goddards (2002) study, his question was how can educators best use technology to foster engaged learning. Goddard believed that in order for engagement to occur, the teacher must create an environment that encourages student-teacher contact, cooperation among students, and active learning (p 23). Daley et al. (2001) explored the learning processes that students use in technology enhanced environments to determine how technology could be used effectively to enhance learning. They found that student learning is strongly influenced by technology, but could not demonstrate whether it is due to individual attitudes and perceptions of technology, learning tasks, peers, or facilitators. Once again, the physical environment was not a variable in their study. For most instructors, there are two primary motivations for integrating technology: external and internal pressures (Maier, 1998). The external pressures include who and what is being taught and how others judge the teaching. The internal pressure is associated with improving teaching. A similar analysis has been made in the article Plugging In by the North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (2003) that states: Theres a dynamic shift occurring as we move from traditional definitions of learning and course design to models of engaged learning that involve more student interaction, more connections among schools, more collaboration among teachers and students, more involvement of teachers as facilitators, and more emphasis on technology as a tool for learning. It is this type of learning that technology must support to be effective.

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15 Therefore, it is assumed that high tech classrooms and technology will improve the communication among teachers and students, and enhance the teachers instruction in order to retain the students attention. Productivity is the fourth reason given for the integration of information technology in higher education. Many colleges hope to gain increased enrollment, enhanced student and teacher outcomes, and increased participation through the investment in information technology (Enghagen, 1997). They also expect to improve learning and teach more often with applications of information technology. Evidence for increased participation through the use of computer technology was found in a study conducted by Cohen (1997). Cohen investigated whether or not learning style would change after a year in technology-rich environments. Although learning styles did not change after a year, Cohen did discover that interaction among the students and teacher was more frequent and casual in nature. However, frequent and casual interactions among students and teacher could occur in non-technology rich environments. For the purpose of this study, the observation of interactions may determine whether or not the computer technology of one seating arrangement facilitates more frequent interaction than the computer technology of another seating arrangement. Liu, MacMillan, and Timmons (1998) studied the effects of computer integration on student achievement and student attitudes. They perceived computer integration as an instructional system that impacts student learning. The computer lab and computer settings were considered a variable that impacted student learning. Although their study concluded that there were no significant effects of computer integration on student achievement, the students perceived the computer integration and usage as having a

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16 positive effect on their learning (p 189). For example, fifty-three percent of the students believed that the computers made their schoolwork easy. Other students believed that the computer integration helped increase their grades, helped the students be more creative, and increased their interest in the course. In the current study, students will be asked about their positive or negative perceptions of their own learning and satisfaction. Then it may be possible to determine whether or not there are more positive or negative perceptions in one computer lab seating arrangement or another.

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CHAPTER 3 PHYSICAL AND SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS OF EDUCATIONAL LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS In some ways, 21st century education and facilities have evolved dramatically, but in many ways they remain mired in the past. Nonetheless, a growing number of current educators advocate the so-called knowledge age school model where the students actively engage in learning, and instructors facilitate and coach rather than lecture on stage. There are also a small but growing number of educational facilities that support this model with advanced informational technology (IT) (Castaldi, 1994). Blackett and Stanfield (1994) state that renovating old classrooms and designing new classrooms with IT in higher education settings is a top priority for current academic and facilities planners and designers. The following review is organized in two separate but related issues central to this study: (1) the past decade of physical and social characteristics of educational learning environments, and (2) the theories and research about the effects of classrooms that are designed to use information technology (IT) on teaching styles and student learning. Physical and Social Characteristics of Educational Learning Environments A wider range of learning environments are needed in our college and university educational facilities in order to accommodate the diversity of both teaching and learning styles. This general concept is based on the theory that there are reciprocal interactions between people and interior space arrangements. For example, Wineman (1986) believes the physical environment provides physical facilities and spatial arrangements that aid 17

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18 specific activity patterns (p 8). For example, in a conference room the furniture can be arranged several ways in order to accommodate meetings, presentations, or luncheons. Within these physical environments, people may rearrange the furniture or lighting to suit their needs. Therefore, if the built environment influences human behavior, then what do we need to know about the classroom in higher education settings that will provide designers with some direction to create positive learning environments? (Scott-Webber, Marini, Abraham, 2000, p 17). Physical Characteristics of Classrooms According to Owu (1992), the classrooms of the 21st century deserve more than the out-dated chalkboards and old furniture. Likewise, the students and teachers who spend an average of 400 hours a year in classrooms deserve more as well (Owu). With the publication of the first edition of Design of General Purpose Classrooms and Lecture Halls in the mid 90s, attitudes began to change (Clabaugh, et al., 1996). College and university planners began to realize the importance of modern and well-equipped instructional facilities as a tool to recruit and retain good students and faculty (Clabaugh et al, p 1). Planners began to pay attention to the essential architectural quality of design elements for effective classroom environments. The physical elements that Clabaugh et al. felt needed attention from planners follows: Dimensions room, aisles, ceiling heights, door widths Entrances door location Windows placement, treatments Finishes walls, ceilings, floors Furnishings & Equipment instructors desk, display surface, student seating Voice Amplification Acoustics Accessibility Heating, Ventilation, & Air Conditioning Lighting Projection Requirements

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19 Planners could see that if the guidelines about these design elements were followed, they might enhance the physical qualities of classroom function, focus, aesthetics, and flexibility (Owu). Accordingly, each type of classroom could then be adapted to facilitate the type of instruction to be performed. For example, a lecture hall with rows upon rows of desks and chairs could facilitate the necessary purposes of an instructor who lectures or transmits primary information to their students. Next, the classroom design must attempt to focus the students attention on the learning activities. According to Owu, focus is achieved through the arrangement of architectural elements, proper acoustics and lighting, and the absence of visual distractions (p15). Also, the aesthetics of a classroom could help to enhance students enjoyment of their learning experience. Flexibility is also critical for an efficient classroom design. Although Neuman (2003) suggests that there are basically two types of classrooms, those with flat floors and those with sloped or stepped floors (p 95), he believes that there is a variety of classrooms, or subcategories, within the two broad types of classrooms. Therefore, classrooms should accommodate multiple uses and technological advancements. The adjustable classrooms could allow for a variety of teacher-centered as well as student-centered approaches within the space (Jamieson, 2000). Blackett and Stanfield (1994) believe flexibility is vital so that a college does not get locked into one technology, and so that the classrooms can be reconfigured as new technologies are developed (p 26). A flexible classroom environment that consists of a variety of ways to present information promotes interchanges among the teacher, students, and information (Conway, 1996). Computer Lab Classrooms Ergonomics plays a significant role in computer integration and classroom design for creating positive social environments. Ergonomics is defined as the relationship

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20 between the human body and its dimensions as it relates to the physical environment (Panero and Zelnik, 1979). Too often, classrooms are renovated with inappropriate furniture and equipment, which defy ergonomic principles (Jamieson, 2000). If ergonomics is not enforced, then good posture is compromised, making the user uncomfortable (Computer Classroom Design, 1995). Therefore, items such as chairs and keyboards should be adjustable so that any body shape or size will be comfortable (Knirk, 1992). Knirk firmly believes Incorporating ergonomic design requirements into the design and refurbishing of teaching and learning areas will create a more effective and positive learning and information handling environment (p 32). Kettingers (1991) research identified a variety of ways that technology could be used in higher education. He envisioned both computerized lecture halls and computer labs. Blackett and Stanfield (1994) explained that the computer lab began as a lecture on computer techniques and exercises, followed by individual student application at stations in a computer center, and has evolved into new instructor podiums with a built in computer (p 28). The computerized lecture hall teaches students computer programs that may begin with an instructional tutorial or demonstration, followed by limited hands-on experience by the student. This allows students to experiment with the lesson that is being taught (Kettinger, 1991, p 38). However, there is a disadvantage to this style. Some instructors believe that in this type of classroom, students tend to focus more on the computer rather than the instruction, therefore diminishing learning as opposed to enhancing it (Blackett and Stanfield). If the students are not productively engaged in the lesson, they may select other options, such as surfing the net (Schwartz, 2003).

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21 Another type of computerized lecture hall is the Math Emporium at Virginia Polytechnic Institute (VPI) and State University. In 1997, VPI converted a 58,000 sq ft department store into a mathematics computer lab with 500 computers (Neuman, 2003). The students work at their own pace on different course materials and may ask for faculty assistance during scheduled hours. Therefore, the faculty plays the role of coach or tutor rather than lecturer. According to an article in the Virginia Tech Magazine, VPI intends to use the Math Emporium as a case analysis of: faculty challenges; students perceptions of the emporium; and students grades, persistence, and retention rates over time. According to Neuman, students prefer the Math Emporium over the lecture format, student learning has increased, and faculty has willingly taken on the role of tutors rather than lecturers. It has proven to be a successful example of a technology-assisted approach to increasing individualized instruction and improving student performance through interactive, self-paced, and self-directed learning (Neuman, 2003, p 99). The University of Washington Classroom Support Services (1998) characterizes the computer lab classrooms as being smaller than large lecture halls and accommodating up to 30 individuals. According to Fawson and VanUitert (1990), the method of instruction and student interaction required should influence the equipment specified and the physical facility designed. The computer lab should be equipped with a presentation system, audio system, and network connections. All computer labs require a teaching station, movable chairs, and flexible seating arrangements. Some of the arrangements may resemble a U or V shape, clusters of computers, or a conventional, parallel row configuration (University of Washington Classroom Support Services). In summary, the

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22 guidelines stress that different classroom layouts facilitate different teaching styles and learning activities (Niemeyer, 2003). Several decades ago Sommer (1967) found in the traditional classroom that the nature of student activity, instructors teaching method, and the physical dimensions and shape of the room are all factors that should influence the functional spatial arrangement of the room. Niemeyer (2003) currently recommends that within a computer lab classroom, the U or V shape shown in figure 3.1 allows the presenter sight of all of the students computers. He believes that this design is beneficial to computer-enhanced courses that use instructional methods such as computer-based independent work, lecture, group discussion, and presentation. Figure 3-1. U or V computer lab seating arrangement. The cluster arrangement shown in figure 3-2 is similar to the conventional straight row layout. The main difference is that the computer tables are placed perpendicular to the front of the room. This layout is ideal for small groups, collaboration, and dialectic instruction (Niemeyer).

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23 Figure 3-2. Cluster seating arrangement. The conventional straight row layout shown in figure 3-3 resembles a standard lecture classroom. This configuration consists of rows that are parallel to the front of the classroom. These layout characteristics allow for collaboration among students or the typical lecture/training method. Typically, the teacher presents at the front of the room. The disadvantage of the front lectern station is that the instructor cannot see the students computer screens. Therefore, the ideal setup would provide a front and rear lectern (University of Colorado, 2003). Figure 3-3. Conventional straight row seating arrangement. Most of these general characteristics can be found in the computer lab classrooms on the University of Florida campus. The exception lies in the flexible seating arrangements that the campus currently provides in two recently renovated computer lab classrooms. Currently, the campus computer labs have either the conventional layout

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24 with a center aisle or a pod configuration shown in figure 3.4. Review of research indicates that the instructional purpose of the pod layout is intended to support collaborative computer-based work (Spectrum Industries, 2003; CIRCA Computer Lab Classrooms, 2003). Figure 3-4. Pod seating arrangement. As faculty and students become comfortable with technology, higher education planners will continue to explore ways to integrate it into the classroom environment. The design of the 21st century classrooms should rely heavily on the users needs and the desired interactions for supporting learning within the space. It will take ongoing collaboration among educational an environmental behavior researchers, architects, designers, facility planners, faculty, and users to design classrooms that effectively support teaching and learning. Physical Characteristics that Support Learning Environments Sommer (1967) compared the relationship between seating arrangement and the amount of student participation in a traditional classroom with a seminar-style arrangement and a classroom with straight rows. In the seminar-style classroom, students across from the instructor participated more than students at the sides of the instructor. The study of the straight row arrangement found that students near the front and center of the straight row classroom participated more than students in the rear and at the sides.

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25 However, most studies have shown that seating position is more closely related to personality variables of the students (Stokols and Altman, 1987). No studies have looked at whether or not the ergonomic comfort or the arrangement of the furniture influences the IT higher education learning environment. McAndrew (1993) argued that college and university students deserve functional classrooms that facilitate learning experiences. Babey (1991) monitored campus classroom environments at the University of California, Davis and conducted a survey among the faculty and students to determine classroom quality. Some of the questions asked related to the aesthetic quality of the classroom, user preference, and ratings of the design features. Thirty percent of the faculty reported that classrooms were ill-suited for their teaching purposes (p 1). However, the students ratings were higher. The students made comments like the room is ugly and the windows do not open and this room is uninspiring for learning. A question addressed in Babeys (1991) survey was seating arrangement preference. The results showed that half of the faculty preferred fixed seating, which can be repetitive and unexciting, and the other half preferred movable seating, which can occasionally be changed to promote different activities. The students main concern with seating addressed issues such as the size of the writing surface, crowding, storage space, and the spacing between desks. However, the only variety within the surveyed classrooms was lecture halls with either fixed seating or movable seating. No computer lab classrooms were evaluated. Sleeman and Rockwell (1981) believe that positive and/or negative physical environmental stimuli exist in each classroom. McAndrew (1993) also suggests that a good predictor of teacher and student satisfaction is the fit between teaching style and

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26 positive environmental stimuli. A few of the stimuli are time of day, furniture, teachers, and seating arrangements (Sleeman and Rockwell). A hard classroom, as defined by Knirk (1979), is considered a formal environment due to the presence of cement or tile floors, hard plaster walls and ceilings, and hard-surfaced furniture. Knirk (1979) believes that hard finishes decrease student interactions and encourage students to be passive learners. He noted that a hard classroom environment can be intimidating, discouraging, and uncomfortable. Previous research has shown that students and faculty prefer warm, intimate, and attractive classrooms as opposed to cold, windowless, and colorless classrooms (University Info: Smarter College Classrooms, 2003, Babey, 1991). According to Babey (1991), the number one problem area in higher education classrooms was the lack of appealing aesthetic qualities. In the teaching/learning process there is a need to create environments that are suitable for living and working (p 3). Babey also believes the levels of communication and user productivity are influenced by the characteristics of the instructional space. To summarize these findings, students and teachers prefer comfortable classrooms that functionally support and promote faculty-student exchanges. In 1980, Sommer created an alternative classroom using soft materials. He took a traditional rectangular shaped classroom with 30 tablet arm desks and converted it into a softer learning environment. The hard-surfaced desks, floors, and walls were replaced with cushioned bench seating, carpeted floors, and curtained walls. He found a noticeable rise in participation of students in the soft classroom when compared to a straight row hard surfaced classroom. There was also an improvement in the preference ratings for the soft room. However, this drastically renovated classroom is not

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27 functionally appropriate for all courses or users. In the current study, the different finishes of materials and furnishings used within the two different computer lab classrooms will be compared in order to determine students and teachers satisfaction. Scott-Webber, Marini, and Abraham (2000) set out to determine student and faculty use and opinions about several university classrooms. A majority of the subjects felt that the general-purpose classrooms were adequate, however they had little desire to stay in the rooms (p 16). Faculty suggested that the classrooms lacked support for social interaction. Therefore, Scott-Webber et al. came to the conclusion that the general-purpose classrooms of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University do not meet all the needs of faculty and students (p 16). Once again, this study focused on general-purpose classrooms. With the growing use of computer lab classrooms and the variety of layouts provided on the University of Florida campus, it is necessary to determine whether or not University of Florida computer lab classrooms meet the needs of our faculty and students. Zandvliet and Straker (2001) evaluated the physical and psychosocial environments of information technology (IT) rich classrooms in order to determine the extent to which technological classrooms created a positive learning environment, for 10-17 year old children. They believe a positive learning environment is one in which students are not distracted by physical characteristics or psychosocial factors. This study was one of the first to look at a new learning environment, the technological classroom, which has been created by the implementation of information technology (IT). Zandvliet and Straker recognized that physical factors in IT classrooms effect learning, comfort, and

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28 safety issues of students. Overall, they found many significant links between physical and social factors that influence student satisfaction with learning in IT rich classrooms. One of the conclusions made by Zandvliet and Strakers study was that the most common layout found and preferred by teachers was the peripheral arrangement. This arrangement locates the computers along the peripheral walls of the classroom. However, there was no investigation of students preferences related to physical layout since the student learning, and not the physical room arrangement, was the main concern in their study. There was also no investigation of the relationship between the physical space arrangement and the teachers style of instruction or preference for student learning activities. For example, individualized learning, cooperative learning, and higher order thinking skills often associated with IT settings were not examined. The main similarity between Zandvliet and Strakers study and this current study is the focus on how the physical learning environment may affect student learning and satisfaction. There are many differences, however. They observed a classroom school setting for ages 10-17 year old children, and this study focuses on computer lab classrooms in higher educational settings. This study focuses on how two different seating arrangements of the environment, a pod layout and straight row layout, affects learning and teaching satisfaction. In other words, assuming that student interaction is a positive factor for the instructional style, it is important to determine if certain seating arrangements affect student learning by either facilitating or not facilitating interaction among students and teachers for group discussions or individualized help. It is also important to discover if a specific seating arrangement is associated with reported distractions during the learning process. For example, in a pod layout, the placement of

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29 seating and equipment may not always allow students a direct view of the projection screen when there is a need to follow the teachers instructions or a tutorial. This may also affect the teachers satisfaction with the classroom seating arrangement by creating an environment that may frustrate the students and require unnecessary repetition by the teacher. Teacher satisfaction with the appropriate seating arrangement that allows for ease of movement and a variety of styles of instruction is another important factor in this study. Sleeman and Rockwell (1981) propose that the physical design of classrooms should be considered as a subsystem in the process of producing effective, efficient, and predictable learning (p 169). The range of desired activities should be determined before the design is implemented (Sleeman and Rockwell). Becker, Sommer, Bee, and Oxley (1973) believe that the arrangement of classrooms reveal information about the learning process as well as instructional and behavior methods that may be facilitated. Through the study of environmental psychology and research about classroom ecology associated with seating arrangement, designers and planners can understand how the classroom environments affect the users and how their relationships with other people are influenced by the physical environment (McAndrew, 1993). Social Characteristics of Classrooms Understanding the concepts of environmental psychology is important for understanding the social characteristics of learning environments. McAndrew (1993) defines environmental psychology as the discipline that is concerned with the interactions and relationships between people and their environments (p 2). In learning environments, classroom furniture arrangement, crowding, seating position, and noise are environmental variables that influence behavior, learning, task time, and achievement

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30 (Lackney, 1987). Additionally, these variables influence how a teacher arranges either a lecture-style classroom or a computer lab classroom layout to make it suitable for particular learning activities. In other words, if given the choice, an experienced teacher learns to choose a positive classroom environment that supports selected behaviors, interactions, and learning objectives. Oddly enough, the physical design of higher education classroom environments has lagged behind those in K-12. For example, 95 percent of the classrooms at the University of Florida are arranged as the traditional lecture-style classrooms (Office of Academic Technology: Classroom Support, 2003). Social Settings that Support Learning Environments In a study conducted by Becker, Sommer, Bee, and Oxley (1973), the frequency of interaction was measured in a computer laboratory classroom setting. Verbal exchanges among students and instructor were the measurement of interaction. The results concluded that on average, 73% of each class had student-to-student interaction, and over 65% of the students had student-to-teacher interaction. Other variables that the observer recorded in this study were size, arrangement, and level of the class, as well as the primary participation pattern of the instructor: walk and comment, lecture, leave, sit and wait (p 519). According to Knirk (1979), The learning environment must facilitate the perception of desired (tension-reducing, pleasure-producing) stimuli and inhibit undesired (confusing, unordered) stimuli (p 23). Designers and facilities planners who take into account relevant social science research on educational facilities will be prepared to create effective learning environment for the users. In summary, numerous researchers have found that the physical environment plays an important role both in learning and teaching processes (Lackney, 1987). However, there is little research on IT classrooms in higher education settings. There are many

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31 relationships between the physical environment, pedagogical, and social variables yet to be explored and understood (Lackney). The specific variables related to seating arrangement in computer lab classrooms has yet to be recognized for its role in supporting both learning and teaching in a university setting.

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CHAPTER 4 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY The purpose of this investigation is to compare the effects of two types of computer lab classrooms with different seating arrangements on both self-reported teaching style and self-reported student learning. A multi-method approach was used to collect information about the physical settings, the social settings, as well as the students and teachers appraisal, or impression, of the two classroom arrangements. Gifford defines (2002) appraisal as liking, goodness, quality, and preference (p 69) for a physical setting. Three methods were used to collect data for this study. The first method for evaluating the appropriate physical qualities of the rooms included a Computerized Classroom Environment Inventory (CCEI) (Zandvliet and Straker, 2001) and an examination of the spatial arrangement using an isovist analysis of the visual field from each seat in the two classrooms. The second method for observing the social setting of the classrooms included participant observations of student-to-student interaction, student-to-teacher interaction, and on-task student behavior during class sessions. The third method for appraising the social setting involved a survey of the users perception of the qualities of the classroom setting and a self-report about their classroom learning experiences. A description follows of the research setting, the respondents, and the study instruments. Research Setting This study was conducted on the University of Florida campus in two different computer lab classrooms in two separate buildings. One undergraduate research methods 32

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33 course in the Sociology Department and one undergraduate research methods course in the Criminology Department were selected for this study because a large number of sections of these courses are held each semester in computer lab classrooms. The study concentrated in four sections: two of the sections (Methods of Social Research) were held in a conventional straight row computer labWeil Hall 410 (Classroom A), while the other two sections (Research Methods in Criminology) were held in a computer lab arranged in podsCSE E211 (Classroom B). The computer lab classrooms in both settings provide each individual student with a desktop IBM computer and flat-screen monitors. The material selections of ceiling, carpet, and wall color are identical within the two different classrooms. All of the computer lab classrooms have general fluorescent lighting fixtures. In addition, Classroom A has some natural lighting from windows on one wall. In this lab, the shades are almost always closed to avoid glare on the computer screens and the color of the shades blend with the neutral wall color. Classroom B had general fluorescent lighting for the classroom as well as task lighting at the instructors podium, lighting for the chalkboard, and direct lighting for the projection screen. The chairs in Classroom A and B were dissimilar. The chairs in Classroom A were a collection of stationary chairs as well as many different chairs on rolling casters, but lacked adjustable height and back support. All of the chairs in Classroom B were adjustable and on rolling casters with back support. The major difference in the two classrooms are the workstations and seating arrangements. Classroom A (approximately 700 square feet) has a conventional straight row seating arrangement with a total of nine rows. Each row contains three computers for a total of 27 computers shown in figure 4-1A. Classroom A is configured in straight

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34 rows with three workstations per row separated by a center aisle. The teachers lectern is located in the front of the classroom near one doorway. The two entrances are located on the south side of Classroom A. The second computer lab classroom, Classroom B (approximately 750 square feet) shown in figure 4-1B, is configured as a pod seating arrangement. Classroom B has seven pods with a total of 28 computer workstations. The teacher stands at the podium located along the wall with the projection screen. Classroom B had two entrances located opposite the wall with the projection screen. A B Figure 4-1. CIRCA classroom floor plan. A) Weil Hall 410 (Classroom A). B) CSE E211 (Classroom B). During class sessions, the pods seat four students at each station shown in figure 4-1B. The furniture manufacturer, Spectrum Industries Inc., designed the pods for cooperative learning situations using computers. According to McCallister (2003), the University of Florida Assistant Director of the Office of Academic Technology, the pod arrangement facilitates flexibility in teaching style and the collaboration of students at the computers. The renovated computer labs are labeled as Collaborative Classrooms because the arrangement allows more than one student to sit at a computer and to work with other students collaboratively (CIRCA: Computer Classrooms, 2003). According to McCallister (2003), there is no research to support the connection between workstation

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35 and seating arrangement and collaborative learning, nor is there any research to support the claims that a Collaborative Classroom design facilitates a specific teaching style. Respondents The University of Florida undergraduate fall semester (2003) courses, scheduled to be taught in computer labs, were examined to find classes that fit the model of learning by doing. Therefore, the study respondents selected represent a convenience sample that allowed for comparisons based on seating arrangement. Four sections of Methods of Research were finally selected based upon the Undergraduate Catalog Course Descriptions, 2003. Two were offered by the Sociology Department and two were offered by the Criminology Department. Both of these courses consist of a lecture session that meets three times a week as well as a computer lab session that meets once a week. According to the Boyer Commission Report (2003: 1), at many universities, computer networks and wired classrooms are used to bring recent research findings and methods directly into the classroom. In the computer lab session, the students are taught how to use Statistical Packages for the Social Sciences (SPSS) to aid learning the scientific method in social science research. The Research Methods in Criminology course also focuses on scientific methods, research design and data analysis. They also used SPSS and other statistical programs. Ultimately, the students apply the knowledge they acquired in the lecture to the exercises or demonstrations they perform in the computer lab. This study focused on the computer assisted lab sections of these methods courses. The lecture portions of these courses were not included in this study. Four different sections of the two courses, each taught by a different teacher, were included in both observations and surveys. As stated before, two sections were held in a straight row configured classroomClassroom A (Methods of Social Research), and two

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36 sections were conducted in a pod-configured classroomClassroom B (Research Methods in Criminology). There were a total of 5 teachers that participated in this study. Although there were only two sections of Classroom A observed and surveyed, three teachers taught students in Classroom A. One of the sections had two teachersa teacher and a graduate teaching assistant. The two sections taught in Classroom B each had graduate teaching assistants. All five teachers had undergraduate teaching assistants who either stood at the back of the classroom or walked around the classroom to help assist the students. A total number of 30 students were observed and surveyed in the straight row computer lab and 42 students were observed and surveyed in the pod computer labs (Table 4-1). Table 4-1. Number of students and teachers in each classroom. Classroom Number of Students Number of Teachers A-Straight Row 30 (2 sections) 3 B-Pod 42 (2 sections) 2 Total 72 5 Procedure This exploratory study aimed to compare the social behavior and classroom appraisals of the students and teachers in the two different computer lab seating arrangements. Observations were made of student and teacher interactions. A survey was administered to students and teachers at the end of the observation period. The study took place over a six-week period. Once the project was approved by the University of Florida Institutional Review Board, the research project was explained to each professor and a consent form was presented and signed. In order to prevent any biases, the students

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37 were not informed of the study until they were given a consent form when their survey was administered. This study was conducted across different days and times of the six-week period. The two sections of the Methods of Social Research course included in this study were taught in Classroom A, the straight row computer lab classroom. One section was taught on every Tuesday from 3:00 pm to 3:50 pm, and the other was taught on every Wednesday from 3:00 pm to 3:50 pm (Table 4-2). The second course was Research Methods in Criminology, and it was taught in Classroom B, the pod arrangement. This course was taught every Wednesday from 10:40 am to 11:45 am and every Wednesday from 1:55 pm to 2:45 pm (Table 4-2). Table 4-2. Classroom schedules. Classroom Tuesday Wednesday A Straight Row 3:00pm to 3:50pm Social Research 3:00pm to 3:50pm Social Research B Pod 10:40am to 11:45am Criminology Research 1:55pm to 2:45pm Criminology Research Instruments Before classes began, the Computerized Classroom Environment Inventory (CCEI) (Zandvliet and Straker, 2001) was administered in each classroom setting. Many physical variables were measured by the researcher using an inventory sheet (See Appendix A) that included: Workspace Environment, Computer Environment, Visual Environment, and Spatial Environment. The Computer Environment measures physical characteristics such as the keyboard height, angle of the computer monitor, and computer software displays (dark text on a light background). The Workspace Environment consists of measurements that pertain to computer screen depth (front of screen to table

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38 edge), adequate workspace for books, adjustable chairs, and screen height. The Visual Environment contains the measurements of glare or reflection of light on computer screens, overall light quality, and color contrast of work surfaces. The Spatial Environment measures factors such as ease of movement among workstations, the number of workstations provided, and aisle widths between desks. No acoustic measurements were made, however observations and student and teacher appraisals of each computer lab classroom provided the researcher with insight about acoustic quality within each computer lab classroom based on the impressions of the students and teachers. The main purpose of the CCEI scale is to compare the existing physical measurements of the technological learning environments with the guidelines provided by the scale. Each environment in the inventory had five physical items for the researcher to measure. Each item in the inventory had a possible score of 5, which denotes a maximum score of 25 percent for each environment that was measured. Therefore, each computer lab classroom had a possible score of 100 percent compliance with the inventory scale. The researcher will also note the number of computers in each classroom and make a diagram of the room layout. In addition to the CCEI instrument, a measure was taken of the isovist fields. According to Benedikt (1979), An isovist is the set of all points visible from a given vantage point in a space and with respect to an environment. The shape and size of an isovist is liable to change with position. Numerical measures are proposed that quantify some salient size and shape features. These measures in turn create a set of scalar isovist fields. Sets of isovists and isovist fields form an alternative description of environments. The method seems relevant to behavioral and perceptual studies in architecture, especially in the areas of view control, privacy, defensibility, and in dynamic

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39 complexity and spaciousness judgements. Isovists and isovist fields also shed light on the meaning of prevalent architectural notions about space (p 47). For example, in the diagram below (Figure 4-2 ) the circle represents a person standing in a space with barriers such as walls and doorways. In this case, the person is stationary and looking straight ahead at the wall in front of them. However, their peripheral vision only allows them to see a certain extent past the wall and through the doorway. Therefore, the lined areas are the extent to what the person can see in their peripheral vision. Figure 4-2. Isovist field of visionplan viewadapted from Benedikt (1979). The importance of an isovist analysis is to give the researcher and reader a perspective of what the students view is from their chosen seat, and what the teachers view is from their lectern. The results of the analysis will show which workstations have restricted views of the teacher, the projection screen, or other students. The students adjustable computer screen will not be considered a barrier in the isovist analysis because this study was more concerned with the amount of student-to-teacher active engagement rather than the traditional teacher-centered education. The isovist measure provided a visual evaluation code for each workstation on position in relationship to the projection screen located at the front of the room (See Appendix B). Each seat in the two computer lab classrooms was coded as (1) best view, (2) good view, (3) poor view, or (4) difficult view.

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40 During the observations, which are discussed next, the researcher used the floorplan to note the adjustment and movement of computer screens by the students in order to improve the view of the teacher and projection screen. Some monitor screens were adjusted slightly while others were turned 90 degrees from the screens original position. This isovist analysis was used to compare the adjustments students make at their seat in relationship to where they chose to sit and their responses to the physical and social statements in the survey. For example, how often did a student sit in a seat that required adjustments to the monitor screen by 90 degrees versus seats that have a best view? The physical measures of the isovist analysis constitute one of the independent variables in this study. The researcher attended each computer class session and conducted observations during class time over a period of six weeks. The students were told that the researcher was conducting a study in the computer lab classroom, but they were not informed about the specific details of the study. Two separate classes a week were held in Classrooms A and B, and each class session was 50 minutes long. The first week of observations served as a pilot study and allowed the researcher time to become familiar with the class and to adjust all instruments. A behavioral mapping technique was employed as the observational tool to record interactions among the students in the two different settings. Behavioral mapping is often used to record and determine behavioral activities of people and how they use their space (Bechtel, 1987). For example, the observer took a map or floorplan of the room being observed and noted how many verbal interactions were made with reference to where the person was sitting and with whom they interacted (See Appendix C). The verbal interactions recorded usually involved students helping each

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41 other with course instructions and students answering the instructors questions or requesting help with the program software. The purpose of behavior mapping was to determine if one seating arrangement facilitates or promotes more interactions over another. The observer also noted when students were off task. Off task activities included surfing the web or chatting online with a friend. A study conducted by Becker, Sommer, Bee, and Oxley (1973) contained a similar method of participant observations. The purpose of their study was to determine if the classroom participation was related to seating arrangement. During their observations, they noted interactions such as verbal exchanges between students and student and teacher interactions. In this current study, these behaviors will be noted as well as one-on-one interaction between teacher and students. These behavioral observations were used to determine if one classroom arrangement facilitates more interaction among the teacher and students. Becker, Sommer, Bee, and Oxley concluded that the further the distance from the instructor, the lower the grade; and the seat a student selects more often reflects their personal goals. However, seating choice could also depend on how early or late a student arrived to class. They also suggest that there is an important difference between advocating a particular kind of seating and demonstrating that it will produce more participation, raise moral, or increase learning (p 515). However, Becker, Sommer, Bee, and Oxley did not conduct observations in computer lab classrooms because computer lab classrooms did not exist at the time of their study. The increasing use of information technology and computer lab classrooms in higher education facilities of today necessitates the replication of their study using computer lab arrangements.

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42 Finally, there was one self-report survey instrument for students (See Appendix D) and one for instructors (See Appendix E). The student survey included basic demographic information such as gender, age, ethnicity, grade point average (GPA), and their midterm grade in the methods course. The teachers survey included questions pertaining to which course they taught, whether or not they had taught in a straight row computer lab or pod arranged computer lab, and which computer lab arrangement they preferred. Otherwise, the survey questions asked both the teachers and students about the social environment pertaining to teaching style, the amount of group work facilitated in the class, if the students help each other with assignments in class, and whether or not the students are allowed to move about the classroom. These questions and statements were adapted from Zandvliet and Strakers (2001) questionnaire, What is Happening in this Class? This researcher added additional questions about the students and instructors appraisal with the physical aspects of the classroom. For example, both teacher and student were asked to appraise their view of the projection screen, whether or not there was adequate aisle width between desks, and whether or not the classroom facilitated assistance and interaction among students and the teacher. Three types of questions were used: (1) close-ended, (2) open-ended with short answer questions, and (3) statements rated on a likert scale.

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CHAPTER 5 FINDINGS The purpose of this exploratory study was to compare the effects that two differently arranged computer lab classrooms had on both self-reported and observed teaching styles and self-reported student learning. The review of literature revealed that there are a variety of recommendations about how a computer lab should be physically arranged in order to maximize its potential for student learning and teaching style, and to facilitate a variety of styles of teaching. However, there was no empirical research found regarding the physical seating arrangements of a computer lab classroom and its effects on teaching style and student learning. A multi-method research approach was used to collect data about the physical settings, the social settings, and the students and teachers appraisal of the two computer lab classrooms physical and social arrangements. Evaluation of the Physical Setting The computer lab classroom physical setting characteristics were evaluated using measures from the Computerized Classroom Environment Inventory (CCEI), the isovist analysis, and the students self-report appraisals. Computerized Classroom Environment Inventory (CCEI) The CCEI developed by Zandvliet and Straker (2001) (Appendix A) has four categories of physical variables that were measured with no students or teachers present. These categories were the Workspace Environment, the Computer Environment, the Visual Environment, and the Spatial Environment. The purpose of the CCEI scale was to compare the existing physical measurements of the two differently arranged 43

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44 technological learning environments with the guidelines provided by the scale. Each environment in the inventory could acquire a maximum score of 25%. Therefore, each computer lab classroom had a possible score of 100% compliance with the inventory scale. The Workspace Environment consisted of measurements that pertain to computer screen depth, adequate workspace for books, adjustable chairs, and screen height. The measurements of Classroom B (pods) met all guideline measurements. However, the measurements of Classroom A (straight rows) did not meet all of the guideline measurements. Classroom A failed to meet the guideline pertaining to adjustable chairs on rolling casters with back support. Therefore, Classroom B scored 25%, while Classroom A scored 20% in the Workspace Environment category. The Computer Environment examined measurements related to the physical characteristics such as the keyboard height, angle of the computer monitor, and computer software displays (dark text on a light background). Both Classroom A and B met all requirements except for the adjustable inclination of the viewing monitor screen. Apparently, for security reasons, the monitors angle of viewing was preset. Hence, both classrooms scored 20% in this category. The Visual Environment contains the measurements of glare or reflection of light on computer screens, overall room light quality, and color contrast of work surfaces. Once again, Classroom B scored 25% while Classroom A scored 20%. Classroom A lacked good natural or indirect light quality. Classroom A had poor indirect fluorescent lighting, which contributed to uneven lighting throughout the room.

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45 The Spatial Environment measured factors such as ease of movement among workstations, the number of workstations provided, and aisle widths between desks. In this category both computer lab classrooms scored 25%. In conclusion of the CCEI, Classroom B scored 95% overall, and Classroom A scored 85% overall (Table 5-1). Classroom B had deficiencies in the Computer Environment while Classroom A had deficiencies in the Workspace Environment, Computer Environment, and the Visual Environment. Table 5-1. CCEI scores of each computer lab classroom. Classroom Workspace Env Computer Env Spatial Env Visual Env Total A Straight 20% 20% 25% 20% 85% B Pod 25% 20% 25% 25% 95% Isovist Analysis An isovist analysis of the visual field was conducted in each computer lab classroom. The isovist analysis determined the teachers restricted views of the students and their workstation, as well as the students restricted views of the teacher, projection screen, and other students. Once again, the isovist analyses did not include the teachers view of the students screens because each teacher had teaching assistants who were able to view the students screens while the teacher gave instructions. Also, this study was more concerned with the amount of active student-to-teacher engagement rather than the traditional teacher-centered education. The isovist measure provided a visual evaluation code for each workstation in relationship to the students view of the projection screen located at the front of the rooms or the teachers view of the seated students. Each seat in the two computer lab classrooms was coded with 1-best view, 2-good view, 3-poor view, or 4-difficult view.

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46 The isovist analysis of Classroom A was quite different from Classroom B. For example, from the students viewpoint or the teachers viewpoint, there were no poor or difficult views. The reason for this is because all of the workstations face the front of the classroom. The isovist analysis from the students viewpoint identifies all workstations with either a best view or good view (Figure 5-1). The workstations with the good view were all the seats in Row J, the seats to the far left of Rows I, H, and G, and the far left two seats in Row F. All of the workstations in Row J were labeled as only good view seats because they were the furthest from the teacher and projection screen. The seats to the far left of Rows I, H, G, and F were labeled with just good views because of their acute angle to the teacher and projection screen. As the layout indicates, the teachers podium is centered on the right side of the classroom, which creates an angled view for the students seated on the left side of the classroom. Unlike some of the seats in Classroom B, Classroom A had no poor or difficult student views. Figure 5-1. Student isovist analysis of Classroom A. The isovist analysis of the teachers viewpoint was slightly different from the analysis of the students viewpoint. All of the workstations were labeled as best view

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47 except for the three seats in Row F (Figure 5-2). Once again, this refers to the acute angle of Row F in relation to the teachers podium. Overall, the isovist analyses of Classroom A indicated more positive views from the students and teachers perspectives than those isovist analyses taken in Classroom B. Figure 5-2. Teacher isovist analysis of Classroom A. The floor plan of Classroom B (Figure 5-3) reveals the codes that were given to each workstation after the isovist analysis was conducted. Each pod had four workstations that were labeled with one of the four possible views. The students at workstations with a best view generally faced forward with a direct view of the teacher and projection screen. Opposite the students with the best view were the students with the difficult view, which were noted as having their backs to the teacher and projection screen. Coincidentally, the isovist analysis from the teachers viewpoint echoed the

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48 codes of the students viewpoints. Nonetheless, if the student can see the teachers face, then the teacher can see the students face. Figure 5-3. Isovist analysis of Classroom B. Adjustment of Workstations During observations, the researcher used each floor plan to note the adjustment and movement of computer screens and chairs made by the students in order to improve their view of the teacher and projection screen. In Classroom A, the monitor screens and chairs were rarely adjusted. On the contrary, some monitor screens and chairs in Classroom B were adjusted slightly while others were turned 90 degrees from the screens original position (Figure 5-4). The floor plan illustrates the adjustments students made at certain workstations. The angle of the computer monitor and chair at each workstation is indicated by the single black line.

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49 Figure 5-4. Adjustment of computer monitors in Classroom B. Students Appraisal of the Physical Characteristics Students were asked if they liked their classroom arrangement. They were provided with the answers of absolutely, to some extent, or not at all. None of the students in either computer lab classroom answered not at all. Most students in both computer lab classrooms, 56% in Classroom A and 52% in Classroom B, absolutely liked their computer lab classroom (Table 5-2). A number of students in each computer lab classroom gave reasons to support why they liked or disliked the classroom. Table 5-2. Students classroom appraisal. Classroom Absolutely To Some Extent Not At All A Straight Row 56% 44% 0% B Pod 52% 48% 0%

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50 In Classroom A, there were 14 open-ended comments made about the classroom. Forty-three percent of the comments were negative comments (Table 5-3). However, the positive comments of the computer lab classroom received the most votes. For example, numerous students liked the classroom because they could see the projection screen and teacher, they had enough personal space, and they could interact with other students and the teacher. The negative comments of the classroom were that it was too clustered, it was difficult to see the projection screen, and it was difficult to hear the teacher. The survey responses reaffirm the deficiency in the Visual environment of the CCEI due to the fact that many students in that classroom commented on how hard it was to see the projection screen. In conclusion, 57% of the students made positive comments about Classroom A. Of the 17 different open-ended comments made by the students in Classroom B, only 29% of the comments were dislikes of the classroom (Table 5-3). The most positive comments about the computer lab classroom were that the students liked having their own personal space as well as the comfortable spacing and feeling of openness. However, there were two negative comments that quite a few students agreed upon. Twelve percent of the students in Classroom B said that the desk space was cramped, making it awkward for writing and taking notes. It is assumed that the students were comparing the computer lab classroom to a lecture hall where students normally have a sufficient worksurface for writing. Another negative comment of the classroom made by 7% of the students in Classroom B was that it was hard to see the projection screen. Classroom B scored well with this variable because of its many forms of lighting. There was general lighting for the classroom, task lighting at the instructors podium, lighting

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51 for the chalkboard, and direct lighting for the projection screen. Overall, 71% of the students comments were positive. Table 5-3. Students open-ended positive and negative comments. Classroom Positive Comments Negative Comments A Straight 57% 43% B Pod 71% 29% Teachers Appraisal of the Physical Characteristics The statements regarding the teachers evaluation with the physical characteristics of each computer lab classroom revealed strong contrasts among teachers in the same computer lab classrooms. For example, two teachers in Classroom A stated that students seldom have trouble viewing the projection screen, while the third teacher stated that students always have trouble viewing the projection screen. The teachers in Classroom A disagreed on other statements as well. For example, one teacher believed there was always glare on the computer screens and the other two teachers believed there was never glare on the computer screens. The two teachers in Classroom B also opposed each other. One teacher believed the seating arrangement seldom allowed for ease of movement and the other believed the seating arrangement always allowed for ease of movement. However, that was not the only statement where the two teachers in Classroom B opposed each other. One stated that they never could see every student from the podium, while the other teacher said that they could always see the students from the podium The last few questions that the teachers answered were related to whether or not they had taught in a straight row computer lab or a pod arranged computer lab and which computer lab arrangement they preferred and why. Neither teacher in the Classroom B

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52 had taught in a straight row computer lab, nor had any of the teachers in Classroom A taught in a pod arranged computer lab classroom. However, two of the three teachers in Classroom A preferred the pod arranged computer lab even though they had never taught in one. When asked why they would or do prefer the pod arranged computer lab, their response was because they could move around easily to help students and their ability to see more computer screens. One of the teachers in Classroom A had more to say about the classroom. This teacher did not like the classroom for many reasons, and has also been requesting Classroom B for at least two semesters. This teacher believes that glare on the computer screens and the projection screen is a problem and the acoustics are dismal. According to this teacher, the dry erase board is difficult to see clearly from the back of the classroom and a chalkboard would work better. However, this teacher believed there was an advantage to the straight row arrangement. The advantage was that from the back of the room he could see all of the computer screens and thus make sure the students were following along with the tutorial. Yet, the teacher felt that the straight row arrangement did not promote ease of circulation between aisles. Teachers and Students Appraisal Comparisons There were a few disagreements among teachers and students concerning the physical characteristics of the classroom. Although the two teachers in Classroom B thought the seating arrangement seldom facilitated guidance of the students work, 71% of the students in Classroom B thought that the seating arrangement often facilitated guidance of their work. Another difference in perception between teachers and students in Classroom B involved how frequently the students had trouble viewing the projection screen. The two teachers believed students often or always had trouble viewing the

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53 projection screen, while 90% of the students say they seldom had trouble viewing the projection screen. A variety of perceptions were found about Classroom A as well. Ninety percent of the students said the seating arrangement often or always allowed for ease of movement around the workstations, yet two of the three teachers believed the seating arrangement seldom allowed for ease of movement. Another difference involved whether or not the computer tables provided adequate workspace for writing. Two of the teachers said the tables seldom provided adequate workspace, while 70% of the students believed the tables often or always provided adequate workspace. Variations in these responses indicate that what the teachers perceive about the students environment is not always what the students perceive about their environment. Evaluation of the Social Setting The social characteristics of the two different computer lab classrooms were evaluated using a behavioral mapping observation tool. Verbal interactions and students off-task activities are organized as classroom observations. The student and teacher self-reported appraisals concerning the social characteristics of the classroom are organized as students self-reported appraisals, and teachers self-reported appraisals. Classroom Observations Students and teachers were observed by this researcher in both computer lab classrooms A and B. Verbal interactions between students and between teacher and student were recorded on the floor plan with reference to where the person was sitting and with whom they interacted. Off-task activities included students who were surfing the web or chatting online with a friend. In Classroom B, there was an average of five off-task activities made per

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54 class session. Classroom A had an average of eight off-task activities per class session. However, no significant differences between each classrooms off-task activities were found. Verbal interactions recorded usually involved students helping each other with course instructions and students answering the teachers questions, or students requesting help with the program software. The average number of student-to-student interactions per class in Classroom A was eleven, while the average number in Classroom B was eight. Therefore, both classrooms had a similar number of student-to-student interactions per class session. However, the number of student-to-teacher interactions per class session in Classroom B was more than twice those in Classroom A, yet there was no significant difference found after performing a chi squared and t-test among each computer lab classroom. Classroom A had an average of ten student-to-teacher interactions per class session, while Classroom B had an average of twenty-four student-to-teacher interactions per class session. Students Self-Reported Appraisals Responses from a total of 72 students provided an understanding of how the physical seating arrangement and workstation attributes of two computer lab classrooms effected the students perception of their own learning. Responses also noted the students appraisal with the overall classroom setting, as well as the social and physical environments of their classroom. There were a total of 30 responses collected from Classroom A, the straight row computer lab classroom. Classroom B had 42 responses. Students perception of teaching style performed. Students were asked how often their teacher used one-on-one teaching, presentation or lecture, teamwork, or discussion as a style of teaching. Seventy-eight percent of students in Classroom B stated

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55 that the teacher often used the one-on-one teaching style, while only sixty percent of students in Classroom A believed their teacher used the one-on-one teaching style. Results of the two computer lab classrooms regarding the presentation style of teaching were very similar. Eighty-eight percent of students in Classroom B and ninety percent of students in Classroom A thought that their teacher often or always used the presentation style of teaching. More than half of the students in each computer lab classroom also stated that their teacher never or seldom used the discussion style of teaching or the teamwork style of teaching. A t-test comparing the students perception of teachers using the one-on-one teaching style in the two computer lab classrooms showed a significant difference (p<.05). As seen in Table 5-4, the standard deviation indicates that there is a significant difference in the frequency of the one-on-one teaching style performed with relation to the computer lab classroom. Table 5-4. T-test of students perceptions of teaching style used. One-on-One Teaching Style N= Mean Standard Deviation Classroom A 30 2.9 0.712 Classroom B 42 2.98 0.468 P=.02, P<.05 Students perceptions of students helping each other. Students in both computer lab classrooms were asked whether or not students helped each other in the class. A chi-squared test comparing the two different computer lab classrooms showed a significant difference (p<.05) in the students answers (Table 5-5). Fifty-six percent of the students in Classroom A thought that students often help each other, whereas fifty-four percent of the students in Classroom B thought that students seldom help each other in class.

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56 Table 5-5. Chi Squared of students perceptions of students helping each other. Students Help Each Other never seldom often always Total Classroom A Count 0 8 17 5 N=30 % 0% 26.60% 56.60% 16.60% Classroom B Count 1 23 14 4 N=42 % 2.30% 54.70% 33.30% 9.50% Total 1 31 31 9 72 Students perceptions of students working in groups. Students were asked how often they worked in groups as an indicator of student collaboration in each computer lab classroom. A t-test showed that there was a significant difference (p<.01) between the perceived amount of group work in the two computer lab classrooms (Table 5-6). More students in Classroom A believed that they never worked in groups when compared to the students in Classroom B. Table 5-6. T-test of students perceptions of student group work. Students Work In Groups N= Mean Standard Deviation Classroom A 30 1.70 .702 Classroom B 42 2.07 .513 p=.002, p<.01 Students perceptions of students getting distracted. When students in both computer lab classrooms were asked how often they are distracted in class, a t-test showed a significant difference (p<.10) between the two computer lab classrooms (Table 5-7). Twice as many students in Classroom B than Classroom A believed they were seldom distracted. Table 5-7. T-test of students perceptions of student distraction. Students Help Each Other N= Mean Standard Deviation Classroom A 30 2.9 0.662 Classroom B 42 2.5 0.707 p=.07, p<.10 Students perceptions of mid-term grades. Although, there were no significant differences between the two computer lab classrooms students mid-term grades, the

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57 criminology students in Classroom B appeared to have grades that were generally higher with a range between A/Ato C+/C. However, the sociology students in Classroom A had an even spread of grades from A/Ato D or below. Teachers Appraisal of Social Setting The responses from the teachers surveys were analyzed qualitatively because there were only 5 teachers surveyed. There were 2 teachers surveyed in Classroom B and 3 teachers surveyed in Classroom A. The teachers responses to the teaching style they performed varied by teacher. However, all five teachers surveyed thought that they often used the one-on-one teaching style. All teachers also believed they often or always used the presentation style of teaching. According to the teachers, the teamwork teaching style was seldom or never performed in either computer lab classroom. However, the students in Classroom B believed that their teachers did use the teamwork style of teaching. The last teaching style, discussion, had various responses. One teacher in Classroom A believed the discussion teaching style was performed often, while the other two teachers in Classroom A believed the discussion teaching style was seldom and never performed by them. The two teachers in Classroom B believed they seldom and never performed the discussion style of teaching. The teacher responses concerning their perception about the social characteristics of their classrooms varied across statements. Teachers in both styles of computer lab classrooms did agree that the students often or always ask the teacher questions and seldom or never give their opinions during class. When asked how often the students help each other during class, one teacher in Classroom A believed students seldom help

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58 each other while the other four teachers (2 from Classroom A and 2 from Classroom B) believed that students often help each other during class. The three teachers in Classroom A stated that students seldom or never work in groups, while one teacher in Classroom B stated that students seldom worked in groups and the other stated that students often worked in groups. Two of the teachers in Classroom A believed that they often decided how much talking and movement was allowed. However, the third teacher in Classroom A, and the two teachers in Classroom B believed that they seldom decided how much talking and movement was allowed in their class. The teachers were oddly divided when they were asked how often the students work at their own pace. Two teachers in Classroom A and one teacher in Classroom B stated that students seldom worked at their own pace. This left one teacher in Classroom A and one in Classroom B that both believed students always work at their own pace. The teachers were also asked if the seating arrangement facilitated their preferred style of teaching (Table 5-8). The teachers in Classroom B responded with yes and the teachers in Classroom A responded with no. However, when the teachers in Classroom A were asked if the seating arrangement met their needs, one teacher stated seldom while the other two teachers stated often (Table 5-8). Both teachers in Classroom B believed that their computer lab classroom arrangement met their needs. When the teachers were asked how they perceived student learning, all five teachers stated that their students learned by doing rather than learning passively (Table 5-8).

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59 Table 5-8. Summary of teachers appraisals of seating arrangements. Variable A Straight B Pod Seating Arrangement Facilitates Style of Teaching no yes Seating Arrangement Meets the Teachers' Needs 1-no 2-yes yes Teachers' Perception of Student Learning 'Learn by Doing' 'Learn by Doing' Teachers and Students Appraisal Comparisons There was a difference in perception found among teachers and students about the frequency of how often students worked at their own pace. Sixty-six percent of the students in Classroom B believed they often work at their own pace. However, one of the two teachers stated that students seldom work at their own pace. Teachers and students in Classroom A disagreed about student distraction during class. Seventy-seven percent of the students said they seldom or never get distracted during class. On the contrary, two of the three teachers believed the students often get distracted. Disagreement was found among teacher and student survey responses on three social characteristic statements (Table 5-9). First, 70% of the students in Classroom A believed that the teacher never or seldom decides how much movement a nd talking is allowed in theclassroom, whereas two of the three teacher s in the Classroom B believed that they often decided how much movement and talki ng is allowed in the classroom. Table 5-9. Teacher and student response comparisons. Variable Teachers Students Students Get Distracted (A-Straight) 2 of 3 say often 77% say seldom Students Work at Own Pace (B-Pod) 1 always 1 seldom 66% say often

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60 In summary, the evaluation of Classroom As physical setting revealed more deficiencies in the Workspace, Computer, and Visual Environments than in Classroom B. However, more than half of the students in each computer lab classroom absolutely liked their classroom aside from the few negative comments. The evaluation of the social setting reported more student-to-teacher interaction in Classroom B and more off-task activities in Classroom A. It was determined that the teaching style most often used in both classes was the presentation and one-on-one styles. The evaluation of the students perception of the social setting also revealed more students helping each other in Classroom A, more group work in Classroom B, and more student distraction in Classroom A. Overall, the students and teachers appraisal of the social setting was positive. The following chapter discusses the effect that the physical and social settings have on each other as well as their relation to other previous studies.

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CHAPTER 6 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS Advances in technological learning environments are pressuring university facilities planners to consider designing new classrooms or to renovate existing ones to facilitate new methods of teaching and styles of learning using computers. Many of these changes are done without addressing the needs of the users. Nonetheless, research is beginning to indicate that computer lab classrooms should be designed specifically to support and enhance particular teaching styles and learning processes. The shift from passive learning to active learning requires students to physically and mentally be active, and therefore a need for greater movement and flexibility is required (Cornell, 2003). In addition, it is important that the physical setting is designed to facilitate the needs of the user and the activities of the social setting in order to enhance the learning objectives and teaching process. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of two types of computer lab classrooms with different seating arrangements on both teaching style and student learning. Information about the physical setting was collected using a Computerized Classroom Environment Inventory (CCEI) (Zandvliet and Straker, 2001) and an isovist analysis of the visual field. Information about the social setting and the students and teachers appraisal was collected from a student and a teacher survey of satisfaction with the physical characteristics and social characteristics of each computer lab classroom. Participants in this study included seventy-two undergraduate students and their five teachers. 61

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62 This study was conducted on the University of Florida campus in two different computer lab classrooms. Two sections of a research methods course in the Sociology department were held in Classroom Astraight row arrangement, and two sections of a research methods course in the Criminology department were held in Classroom B pod arrangement. The two sections of Classroom A provided the study with a sample of thirty students and three teachersone section had a professor and a graduate teaching assistant. Two of the three teachers shared one section of the research methods course. Classroom B had a sample of forty-two students and two graduate teaching assistants. Physical Setting Observations and Appraisals Evaluation of the physical setting revealed that both types of computer lab classrooms contained deficiencies. Classroom A had deficiencies in the Workspace, Computer, and Visual environments. Classroom B revealed a deficiency in the Computer environment. Isovist analyses of student computer screen adjustments and views in both settings were in agreement with the researchers own coding of each workstation screen adjustment and views of classroom activity. Student survey responses showed significant differences concerning satisfaction with the physical setting. There were different opinions expressed among the teachers about whether or not the computer lab classroom seating arrangement facilitated their style of teaching. A detailed explanation of study findings follows. CCEI Observations Classroom A failed to meet the guideline measurements of the CCEI in three categories. Classroom A was deficient in the Workspace environment because the chairs were a collection of stationary chairs as well as many different styles of chairs on rolling

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63 casters, but without adjustable height and back support. Both Classrooms A and B were deficient in the Computer environment for the same reasonthe adjustable angle of inclination of the monitor screens were preset. Classroom A was deficient in the Visual environment because it had poor indirect fluorescent lighting. Researchers (Swanquist, 1998; and Cornell, 2003) believe that deficiencies such as these contribute to muscle fatigue and drowsiness resulting in short attention span and lack of active engagement. Isovist Analysis Compared With Observations During observations, the researcher noted how the students adjusted their computer screens and chairs. These computer screen and chair adjustments were compared to the predetermined codes from the isovist analyses. When the degree of computer screen and chair adjustments made by the students were compared to the researchers codes of each workstation isovist view, the degree of adjustment coincided with the researchers assigned codes. Therefore, it seems that the isovist analysis is a useful tool for designers to use for evaluating the quality of the quality of the views and the classroom activities. Isovist analysis allows the designer to consider the important views from the end users perspective. Student and Teacher Self-Reported Appraisals According to all of the teachers, the style of teaching that they most often performed was the one-on-one and presentation styles of teaching. Teachers responses showed that the seating arrangement in Classroom B facilitated the teachers preferred style of teaching. The teachers in Classroom A felt that the seating arrangement met their needs. Yet, when the teachers in Classroom A were asked if they preferred a straight row arrangement versus a pod arrangement, two of the three teachers preferred the pod arrangement even though they had never taught in one before. Their reasons for

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64 choosing the pod arrangement were the ease of movement throughout the room and their ability to see more computer screens. Students preferneces for their computer lab classroom revealed that more than half of the students in each computer lab classroom absolutely liked their classroom. However, architects, designers, and facility planners should also acknowledge the students and teachers suggestions. For example, students in both Classrooms A and B felt that they were too clustered. If architects, designers, and facility planners abide by the essential design elements suggested by Clabaugh et al. (1996), then they should provide each student with 20 square feet per student and at least 150 square inches of writing surface. Both Classroom A and B provided each student with at least 20 square feet. However, Classroom A only provided the students with approximately 90 square inches of writing surface, while Classroom B provided students with approximately 150 square inches of writing surface. Clabaugh et al. also suggests that teachers should be provided with an 18 by 24 inch table surface or podium along with a stool or chair. Another negative comment in both Classroom A and B concerned the students view of the projection screen and marker board% of students in Classroom A and 7% of students in Classroom B. Negative comments about Classroom A may be attributed to the poor lighting as noted in the CCEI. Negative comments about difficulty viewing the projection screen in Classroom B may be attributed to the seating position of each individual student. For example, although the pod workstations are flexible, at least one or two students at each pod had to adjust their monitor screens and chairs in order to view the projection screen. Even with the monitor screen and chair adjustments, the students were still angled toward the projection screen. According to Clabaugh et al.

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65 (1996), if the lights are dimmed, there must be at least 5 to 10 footcandles at the student worksurface, plus 10 to 15 lumens should be distributed across the chalkboard or marker board. These recommendations were not followed in the design of Classroom A. Social Setting Observations and Appraisals Observations and responses from the teachers and students survey provided insight about the social setting in the two different computer lab classrooms. Analysis of these observations revealed that one computer lab classroom had more off-task activities per class session, and one computer lab classroom had more student-to-teacher verbal interactions per class session. The survey responses of students in Classrooms A and B revealed significant differences between the social settings of the two different computer lab classrooms. These differences are discussed below under the categories of observations of the social setting, and students and teachers appraisals. Observations Although a t-test showed that there was no significant difference between off-task activities or student-to-teacher verbal interactions in the two different computer lab classrooms, observations suggest a trend in another direction (Table 6-1). Classroom A had 63% more off-task activities per class session than Classroom B. Therefore, Classroom A appeared to be teacher-centered where the students are passive learners and are less actively engaged than students in Classroom B. The less active students become distracted and participate in off-task activities. Observations also noted that the majority of the students who participated in off-task activities sat in the back of the computer lab classroom. Additionally, student-to-teacher verbal interaction occurred more in Classroom B by 41%. Hence, Classroom B appeared to be more conducive of student-to-teacher interactions and more conducive of the teacher carrying out the role of the

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66 facilitator or coach. The increased amount of student-to-teacher verbal interaction supports Cornells (2003) claim that classrooms that emphasize collaboration or interaction, computer use, and social learning show potential for replacing the passive model of learning. Therefore, in this study Classroom A seems to be teacher-centered and Classroom B seems to be student-centered. Students Appraisals of Classrooms A t-test comparing the students perception of teachers using the one-on-one teaching style in the two computer lab classrooms showed a significant difference (p<.05). The significance suggests that the teacher plays the role of facilitator, therefore creating a more active environment. This is also believed to enhance the students creative thinking skills. Therefore, the physical setting of Classroom B encourages an active, student-centered, learning environment. There was significant evidence (p<.05) from the chi-squared test that the frequency of students helping each other was dependent on the style of computer lab classroom. Over half of the students in Classroom A thought that students often help each other. Fifty-four percent of the students in Classroom B, the collaborative computer lab, thought that students seldom help each other in class. This would be the opposite of what someone may expect from a collaborative classroom. Researchers (Cohen, 1997; Enghagen, 1997; and Kettinger, 1991) who believe that technology helps to motivate students and retain their attention should also recognize the concurrent impact of the physical characteristics of the room. If the technology and the physical design complement each other, then the learning environment will encourage group work, cooperation among students, and active learning (Goddard, 2002). Therefore, the learning environment can be designed to support student-centered learning skills or

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67 teacher-centered learning. However, another reason why students in Classroom A believe that they help each other more often could be due to the fact that they were seated closer together or more students in Classroom A than Classroom B were off-task. Hence, more students needed help because they were distracted and missed the teachers instructions. A t-test showed that there was a significant difference (p<.01) between the perceived amount of group work in the two computer lab classrooms. Students in Classroom B more often worked in groups than students in Classroom A. Perhaps the ergonomic comfort and flexible workstations facilitated a more active learning environment. A t-test showed that the frequency of students being distracted was significantly different (p<.01) in the two computer lab classrooms. Twenty percent of the students in Classroom A were often distracted compared to the four percent in Classroom B. This significant evidence also supports the higher frequency of off-task activities in Classroom A. When students get distracted or are not actively engaged, they surf the web or chat online (Carlson, 2002). Limitations and Assumptions Several factors, no doubt, impacted the results of this exploratory study. First, the teachers varied by course. The two teachers who taught the Criminology research methods course in Classroom B were both teaching assistants. Further, neither one had taught in a straight row computer lab classroom before. They had no experience with the two types of classrooms, thus there was little grounds for their preference of one type of classroom over the other. Of the remaining three teachers who taught the Sociology research methods course, two were teaching assistants and one was a professor.

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68 Although this odd number of teachers provided the study with more opinions about the classroom setting, it also impacted the various teacher appraisals of Classroom A. In other words, each teacher had his or her own perception of the social and physical setting and their impressions were often inconsistent. In the future, it would be wise to use one teacher that instructed multiple computer lab sections, and possibly in differently arranged computer lab classrooms. Second, the comparison of two different courses in two different computer lab classrooms may have impacted the findings. Although both courses taught the principles of research methods, the difference in overall subject matter, criminology or sociology, may have had an effect on student grades. The level of difficulty in each subject matter plays a significant role when comparing the student grades in each class. It could also be the native ability of students in one major or another. Third, this study was conducted at the University of Florida. This campus has a limited number of computer lab classrooms as well as a limited number of seating arrangements for their computer lab classrooms. Thus, significant findings are limited to the responses of this campus onlyor just one case study. Suggestions for Further Research Further exploration of both the social and physical settings in the computer lab classroom and their effect on teaching style and student learning needs to be conducted before definitive conclusions can be drawn concerning this subject. Nonetheless, there are several areas that warrant further examination. Further studies should compare classroom guidelines, such as those provided by Clabaugh et al. (2002), to the items listed in each category of the CCEI. For example, some students commented about the lack of writing surface, and although the CCEI lists

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69 that adequate workspace should be provided for books, it does not list a numerical amount of space. Nonetheless, Clabaugh et al. (2002), Niemeyer (2003), and Smarter College Classrooms (2001) have all stated that students should have at least 150 square inches of workspace even at a computer workstation. Other guidelines concerning the Workspace, Computer, Visual, and Spatial environments should also be examined and added to the CCEI if necessary. For example, the acoustics of each computer lab classroom should be measured or at least noted. Often, when all of the computers are on and running they can create a noisy setting along with heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Various comments made by students on this campus have provided anecdotal evidence that some of the computer lab classrooms on the University of Floridas campus are very noisy and distracting. Further studies should minimize the differences between courses and teachers. Although the two courses were teaching the same computer programs as well as the same basic methods of research, the difference in course subject can have an effect on the classroom setting. The level of work each course requires may vary. Therefore, one class may be harder than the other and may require more dedication from the students. It would be ideal to test many sections of one course in different computer lab classroom arrangements rather than different courses in different computer lab classrooms. It is recommended that in future studies, further consideration should be acknowledged when determining the number of teachers and the subject they teach. If a number of teachers are involved in the study, then there will be a variety of perceptions concluded about the classroom setting. However, it is recommended that the teachers teach the same course only in different computer lab classrooms. Therefore, the

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70 variability of the course will be somewhat limited because the teachers are teaching the same material. Future studies should consider lengthening the data collection phase. Lengthening the study to a full year, or two semesters, would increase the sample size. If two semesters were included, the researcher could arrange for all of the sections in one semester to be conducted in a pod arranged computer lab classroom, and the second semester sections could be taught in a straight row computer lab classroom. This would allow the researcher to use the same course continuously, yet in two different labs. By lengthening the study, the researcher could gather mid-term and end of semester grades. Hence, there would be fewer variables to consider. The survey questions should be examined in future studies. Researchers may decide to include questions about the lecture hall classroom in order to compare its appraisal with the computer lab classrooms appraisal. The researcher may also consider a formal interview with the teacher in order to determine what effect the computer lab classroom or a lecture hall may have on their appraisal of the classroom. Suggestions for Architects, Designers, and Facility Planners The validity of this study persuades us to consider the users of the learning environment. The teachers and students are the people who spend the most amount of time in these learning environments, not the architects, designers, and facility planners. Therefore, the needs of the users must be taken into consideration in the programming and pre-design phases. A survey of the users needs and preferences could be administered to the students and faculty of the learning environment. The programming phase of a design project may also include a simulation. This would allow architects, designers, or facility planners to observe behaviors of students and faculty and then

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71 determine whether or not the preferred learning and teaching styles are facilitated within the simulated learning environment. Nonetheless, architects, designers, and facility planners must acknowledge the importance of including the users in the programming phase if they intend on creating a positive learning environment. Conclusion Findings in this exploratory study support the assumption that there are connections between the physical and social settings and their effect on student learning, teaching style, and the overall appraisal of the computer lab classroom. Architects, designers, and facility planners should first identify users preferred activities and aspirations for the social setting. Once the social setting is addressed, the physical setting can be designed to support and enhance the intended social activities. Therefore, this researcher argues that technology is only one environment shaper of school design (Spurgeon, 1998). This study has shown that there are significant transactions between both a physical setting that supports technology and the social setting or the classroom. The social setting and the physical setting characteristics are intertwined and can be mutually supporting of human intention. For example, comfortable chairs, good views, and adequate workspaces may encourage students to pay attention and participate in learning activities. This study is intended to provide architects, designers, facility planners, and researchers with a beginning examination of the effects that different computer lab seating arrangements can have on the physical and social settings of the classroom. More effort is needed in the pre-design phase to provide the users with their needs in particular learning environments. One way to determine the users needs would be to setup simulations to see which designs work, or survey the users who spend the most time in the settings. Often, University design projects are given low budgets and therefore, do

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72 not have the money or time for the pre-design phase. However, this study persuades us to believe that the physical environment supports and has an effect on the social setting, which in the end effects student learning, teaching style, and student and teacher appraisal of the classroom.

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APPENDIX A COMPUTER CLASSROOM ENVIRONMENT INVENTORY (CCEI) Location: Class size: No. of computers: For each statement below, the observer will tick each condition noted to be true with actual measures recorded on the attached worksheets (see reverse).Where multiple criteria exist, all must be true for the statement to be scored true. The maximum score for each domain total below is five. Tick if true: Workspace environment Adequate workspace exists for the placement of notebooks and other resources Screen depth (front of screen to table edge) located within the range of 500-750 mm Chair has adjustable height and back support and is set on moveable (rolling) castors Keyboard height (floor to home row) is adjustable within a min. range of 700850 mm Screen height (screen centre above floor) is adjustable within a range of 9001150 mm Total score: Computer environment Inclination of the viewing monitor is adjustable (within 88 105 from the horizontal) Keyboard height (home row to desk level) is adjustable within a range of 100260 mm Operating system utilizes a graphical interface with icons rather than teletype inputs System uses a colour display monitor with adjustable brightness and contrast contols Computer software uses a reverse display (dark text on a light or neutral background) Total score: 73

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74 Visual environment Glare controlled through the use of screens, indirect lighting or equipment positioning Good light quality with natural or indirect lighting sources (full spectrum preferred) Excessive contrast of work surfaces are contolled through the use of neutral finishes Illumination levels (measured on the horizontal plane ) fall in the range of 500750 lux Luminance of surrounding surfaces is maintained within 10-100% of illumination Total score: Spatial environment Adequate space exists for easy movement among workstations, resources and exits The number of students in the classroom does not normally exceed thirty students Resource areas are of sufficient size to display or store neccessary learning materials Overall finishing of room walls, flooring etc. is in light coloured or neutral tones The aisle width between desks or benches falls within the desire range of 152183 cms Total score:

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APPENDIX B ISOVIST ANALYSIS The isovist analysis will determine the teachers restricted views of students and their workstations, as well as, the students restricted views of the teacher, projection screen, and other students. The first three floorplans below give an isovist analysis from the teachers point of view. The next three floorplans give an isovist analysis from the students point of view. The workstations are coded according to the difficulty of view. CSE E211 Students View 1 Best View 2 Good View 3 Poor View 4 Difficult View 75

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76 WEIL HALL 410 Students View 1 Best View 2 Good View 3 Poor View 4 Difficult View

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77 CSE E211 Teachers View 1 Best View 2 Good View 3 Poor View 4 Difficult View

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78 WEIL HALL 410 Teachers View 1 Best View 2 Good View 3 Poor View 4 Difficult View

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APPENDIX C BEHAVIORAL MAPPING The behavioral mapping instrument will include a map or floorplan of each room being observed and charts to record verbal interactions. The charts display the seating position of the student and allow for tallies to be made of the amount of verbal interactions the student made. One chart is for student-to-student interactions and the other chart is for student-to-teacher interactions. The map of the room will permits notes to be made about whether the students interacted with someone next to them or across from them. The map will also display movement patterns of the teacher if there are any at all. 79

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80 CSE E211 Behavioral Mapping / vacant seat X off task I student-to-student interaction student-to-teacher interaction

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81 Weil Hall 410 Behavioral Mapping / vacant seat X off task I student-to-student interaction student-to-teacher interaction

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APPENDIX D CLASSROOM APPRAISAL SURVEY: STUDENT (Student CSE E211) This survey contains statements and questions about the physical characteristics of this class and the activities that take place in this class. There are no right or wrong answers. Some statements and questions may be similar. Please answer all of the questions. 1. Gender (circle one) male female 2. Race (circle one) African American Caucasian Hispanic Asian Other_____________ 3. Major (circle one) Sociology Criminology Other________________ 4. Age __________ 5. Current College GPA _________ 6. Where do you usually sit in this classroom? (please circle the row and seat) Pod P Q R S T U V Seat 1 2 3 4 82

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83 Classroom Appraisal Survey (Student Weil 410) This survey contains statements and questions about the physical characteristics of this class and the activities that take place in this class. There are no right or wrong answers. Some statements and questions may be similar. Please answer all of the questions. 1. Gender (circle one) male female 2. Race (circle one) African American Caucasian Hispanic Asian Other_____________ 3. Major (circle one) Sociology Criminology Other_____________________ 4. Age __________ 5. Current College GPA _________ 6. Where do you usually sit in this classroom? (please circle the row and seat) Row F G H I J Seat 1 2 3 4 5 6

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84 7. How often do you sit here? a. 100% b. 75% c. 50% d. 25% e. occasionally f. different seat each time Please answer the following statements concerning the Never Seldom Often Always social environment in this classroom. 8. How often do you feel that the teacher uses the following styles of teaching: a. one on one interaction with students 1 2 3 4 b. presentation (lecture, tutorials, drill and practice) 1 2 3 4 c. teamwork (collaboration, group work) 1 2 3 4 d. discussion (seminar) 1 2 3 4 9. Students help each other in this class. 1 2 3 4 10. Students work in groups in this class. 1 2 3 4 11. Students give their opinions during class discussions. 1 2 3 4 12. Students ask the teachers questions. 1 2 3 4 13. The teacher decides how much movement and talk is allowed. 1 2 3 4 14. Students work at their own pace. 1 2 3 4 15. Students get distracted during class. 1 2 3 4 Please answer the following statements concerning the Never Seldom Often Always physical environment in this classroom. 16. The seating arrangement facilitates teachers assistance during class. 1 2 3 4 17. The seating arrangement facilitates class related interaction among 1 2 3 4 the students during class. 18. The seating arrangement allows for ease of movement 1 2 3 4 19. I have trouble viewing the projection screen at the front of the 1 2 3 4 room during demonstrations. 20. The computer tables provide adequate workspace for me to write. 1 2 3 4 21. I can see every student in the class and the teacher from my seat. 1 2 3 4 22. There is adequate aisle width between the desks. 1 2 3 4 23. There is glare on the computer screens. 1 2 3 4 24. Does the computer lab classroom arrangement meet your needs? 1 2 3 4 25. Please circle your current mid-term grade. a. A/Ab. B+/B c. Bd. C+/C e. Cf. D or below 26. Do you like this classroom arrangement? a. absolutely b. to some extent c. not at all 27. Why?

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APPENDIX E CLASSROOM APPRAISAL SURVEY: TEACHER CSE E211 / Weil 410 This survey contains statements and questions about the physical characteristics of this class and the activities that take place in this class. There are no right or wrong answers. Some statements and questions may be similar. Please answer all of the questions. 1. Which course do you teach? a. Methods of Social Research b. Research Methods in Criminology Please answer the following statements concerning the Never Seldom Often Always social environment in this classroom. 2. How often do you feel that you use the following styles of teaching: a. one on one interaction with students 1 2 3 4 b. presentation (lecture, tutorials, drill and practice) 1 2 3 4 c. teamwork (collaboration, group work) 1 2 3 4 d. discussion (seminar) 1 2 3 4 3. Students help each other in this class. 1 2 3 4 4. Students work in groups in this class. 1 2 3 4 5. Students give their opinions during class discussions. 1 2 3 4 6. Students ask the teachers questions. 1 2 3 4 7. The teacher decides how much movement and talk the students are allowed. 1 2 3 4 8. Students work at their own pace. 1 2 3 4 9. Students get distracted during class. 1 2 3 4 Please answer the following statements concerning the Never Seldom Often Always physical environment in this classroom. 10. The seating arrangement facilitates the teachers assistance during class. 1 2 3 4 11. The seating arrangement facilitates class related interaction among. 1 2 3 4 the students during class. 1 2 3 4 12. The seating arrangement allows for ease of movement. 1 2 3 4 13. I have trouble viewing the projection screen at the front of the 1 2 3 4 room during demonstrations. 14. The computer tables provide adequate workspace for me to write. 1 2 3 4 15. I can see every student in the class and the teacher from my seat. 1 2 3 4 16. There is adequate aisle width between the desks. 1 2 3 4 17. There is glare on the computer screens. 1 2 3 4 18. Does the computer lab classroom arrangement meet your needs? 1 2 3 4 85

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86 19. Do your students learn: a. passively (receiving information and taking notes) b. learn by doing (actively engaged in the learning process through experimenting) c. other 20. Have you taught a course in a traditional straight row computer lab classroom before? (refer to images below) a. yes b. no 21. Have you ever taught a course in a computer lab with the pod arrangement? (refer to image below) a. yes b. no Straight row arrangement Pod arrangement 22. Do you prefer one computer lab seating arrangement over another for teaching this part of the course? a. yes, the straight row arrangement b. yes, the pod arrangement c. no preference 23. Why?

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LIST OF REFERENCES Babey, Evelyn R. (1991). The Classroom: Physical Environments That Enhance Teaching and Learning (An Investigation of the Teaching/Learning Environment at the University of California, Davis. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for Higher Education (Washington, DC, March 26, 1991). Bechtel, Robert B. (1987). Methods In Environmental and Behavioral Research. New York, NY: Van Nostrand. Becker, F. D., Sommer, R., Bee, J., and Oxley, B. (1973). College Classroom Ecology. Sociometry, 36 (4): 514-525. Benedikt, M. L. (1979). To Take Hold of Space: Isovists and Isovist Fields. Environment and Planning B, 47-65. Bess, James L. and Associates (2000). Teaching Alone, Teaching Together. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Inc., Publishers. Blackett, Anthony and Stanfield, Brenda (1994). A Planners Guide to Tomorrows Classrooms. Planning for Higher Education, 22: 25-31. Boyer Commission on Educating Undergraduates in the Research University (2003). Reinventing Undergraduate Education: A Blueprint for Americas Research Universities. Retrieved June 25, 2003 from the World Wide Web: http://notes.cc.sunysb.edu/Pres/boyer.nsf/ Carlson, Scott (2002). Wired to the Hilt: St Josephs University stakes its future on a $30 million bet. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved September 15, 2002 from the World Wide Web: http://chronicle.com/weekly/v48/i29/29a03301.htm Castaldi, Basil (1994). Educational Facilities: Planning, Modernization, and Management. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon. CEO Forum on Educational Technology (2001). Educational Technology Must Be Included In Comprehensive Education Legislation. Washington, D. C.: CEO Forum on Educational Technology. Retrieved January 10, 2003 from the World Wide Web: http://www.ceoforum.org/reports.cfm CIRCA Computer Classrooms. University of Florida. Retrieved June 12, 2003 from The World Wide Web: http://classrooms.circa.ufl.edu/classres.html 87

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88 Clabaugh, S., ed (1993). Design of General Purpose Classrooms, Lecture Halls, And Seminar Rooms. College Park, MD: Educational Technology Center, University of Maryland. Claxton, C. S. and Murrell, P. H. (1987). Learning Styles: Implications for improving educational practices. ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report No 4 (ISBN-0-913317-39-x). Washington, D. C.: Association for the Study of Higher Education. ERIC Clearinghouse on Higher Education. Cohen, V.L. (1997). Learning Styles in a Technology-Rich Environment. Journal of Research on Computing in Education, 29 (4): 338-350. Computer Classroom Design: The issues facing designers of computer classrooms (1995). Retrieved October 28, 2002 from the World Wide Web: http://www.workspace-resources.com/education/cicdesil.htm Conway, Kathryn (1996). Master Classrooms: Classroom Design With Technology in Mind. Institute for Academic Technology. Retrieved January 17, 2003 from the World Wide Web: http://www.unc.edu Cornell, P. (2003). The Impact of Changes in Teaching and Learning on Furniture and The Learning Environment. New Directions in Teaching and Learning, 10 (2):1-9. Cornell, P. (1999). How and Why Teaching Methods are Changing: From an Industrial Age Model, to a Knowledge Age Model. The EEI Report. Daley, B.J., K. Watkins, S.W. Williams, B. Courtenay, M. Davis, and D. Dymock (2001). Exploring Learning in a Technology-Enhanced Environment. Educational Technology & Society, 4 (3): 1-20. Enghagen, Linda (1997). Technology and Higher Education. Washington, D. C.: National Education Association of the United States. Facione, P. A. (1996). Critical Thinking: What It Is and Why It Counts. Millbrae, CA: California Academic Press, Inc. Fawson, E.C., and VanUitert, D.D. (1990). The Technology Classroom: Alternatives For Future Planning. Tech Trends, 35 (4): 28-34. Goddard, Mark (2002). What Do We Do with These Computers? Reflections on Technology In the Classroom. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 35 (1): 19-26. Gifford, Robert (2002). Environmental Psychology: Principles and Practice. University Of Victoria, Canada: Optimal Books.

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89 Halpern, Diane F. (1994). Changing College Classrooms: New Teaching and Learning Strategies for an Increasingly Complex World. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Halsted, Henry (1992). Designing Facilities for a New Generation of Schools. Educational Technology, 46-48. Hativa, Nirah (2000). Teaching for Effective Learning in Higher Education. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers. Hativa, Nira and Birrenbaum, M. (2000). Who Prefers What? Disciplinary differences in students approaches to teaching and learning styles. Research in Higher Education, 41 (2), 209-236. Jamieson, P. (2000). Place and Space In the Design of New Learning Environments. Higher Education Research and Development, 19 (2), 221-236. Kettinger, William J. (1991). Computer Classrooms in Higher Education: An innovation in teaching. Educational Technology, 31, 36-43. Knirk, Frederick G. (1992). Facility Requirements for Integrated Learning Systems. Educational Technology, 32 (9), 26-32. Knirk, Frederick G. (1979). Designing Productive Learning Environments. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications. Lackney, Jeffrey A. (1987). Educational Facilities: The Impact and Role of the Physical Environment of the School on Teaching, Learning, and Educational Outcomes. Milwaukee, WI: University of Wisconsin. Leider, Steven (1998). Successfully Integrating Technology. In ERIC Digests. Los Angeles, CA: ERIC Clearinghouse for Community Colleges. ED422989 (available from the ERIC database). Light, Greg and Cox, Roy (2001). Learning and Teaching in Higher Education: The Reflective Professional. London, England: Paul Chapman Publishing. Liu, X., Macmillan, R., and Timmons, V. (1998). Assessing the Impact of Computer Integration on Students. Journal of Research on Computing in Education, 31 (2): 189-203. McCallister, M. Assistant Director of the Office of Academic Technology, University of Florida, Gainesville. Personal interview. June 16, 2003. Maier, Pat, Liz Barnett, Adam Warren, and David Brunner (1998). Using Technology In Teaching and Learning. London, England: Kopan Page Limited. Math Emporium is Designed for Success (1998). Virginia Tech Magazine, 20 (4).

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90 McAndrew, Francis T. (1993). Environmental Psychology. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Publishing Company. McDermott, Irene E. (1998). Solitaire Confinement: The Impact of the Physical Environment on Computer Training. Retrieved October 28, 2002 from the World Wide Web: http://www.infotoday.com/cilmag/jan98/story1.htm Nair, Prakash (2000). Wireless Wide Area Networks for School Districts. Washington, D.C.: National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities. Neuman, David J. (2003). Building Type Basics for College and University Facilities. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons, Inc. Niemeyer, Daniel (2003). Hard Facts On Smart Classroom Design: Ideas, Guidelines, and Layouts. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, Inc. North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (2003). Plugging In: Choosing and Using Educational Technology. Retrieved May 25, 2003 from the World Wide Web: http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs/edtalk/htm Office of Academic Technology: Classroom Support. University of Florida. Retrieved June 12, 2003 from the World Wide Web: http://www.at.ufl.edu/classrooms/rooms/classrooms.html Owu, M. (1992). Classrooms for the 21st Century. Planning for Higher Education 20 (3): 12-20. Panero, Julius, and Zelnik, Martin (1979). Human Dimension & Interior Space. New York, NY: Billboard Publications, Inc.. Products: Furniture for Instructional Media Centers. Spectrum Industries Inc. Retrieved July 6, 2003 from the World Wide Web: http://www.spectrumfurniture.com/prd Radloff, P. (1998). Do we treat time and space seriously enough in teaching and learning? In Black, B. and Stanley, N. (eds.). Teaching and Learning in Changing Times. Proceedings of the 7th Annual Teaching Learning Forum, The University of Western Australia, February 1998. Perth: UWA. http://cea.curtin.edu.au/tlf/tlf1998/radloff-p.html Schwartz, John (2003). Professors Vie With Web for Classs Attention. NY Times Company. Retrieved January 23, 2003 from the World Wide Web: http://www.nytimes.com Scott-Webber, L., Marini M.S., M., and Abraham Ph.D., J. (2000). Higher Education Classrooms Fail to Meet Needs of Faculty and Students. Journal of Interior Design, 26 (1): 16-34.

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91 Sleeman, Phillip J. and Rockwell, D. M. (eds.) (1981). Designing Learning Environments. Longman Inc.: New York, NY. Smith, Mark K. (2002). John Dewey. Retrieved June 13, 2003 from the World Wide Web: http://www.infed.org/thinkers/et-dewey.htm Sommer, Robert (1967). Classroom Ecology. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 3 (4):489-503. Spurgeon, M.S., Williams, H.L., and Dornbusch, S. (1998). Plugged In To Comfort. American School and University, 71 (1):46a-46d. Steelcase, Inc. (2000). Learning for the Information Age. The Knowledge Report (S 10646). Grand Rapids, MI: Steelcase, Inc. Stokols, D. and Altman, I. (1987). Handbook of Environmental Psychology. New York, NY: Wiley, Inc. Strange, C. Carney and Banning, James H. (2001). Educating By Design. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, Inc. Swanquist, Barry (1998). Wire Wise. American School and University, 71 (4):32-34. The Technology Rich Learning Environment (1997). Retrieved September 19, 2003 from the World Wide Web: http://archive.ncsa.viuc.edu/IDT/html/Technology/the_tech_env.html Trevitt, Chris (1997). Flexible Education: A Prototype Learning Studio At the ANU: Toward a new infrastructure configuration which offers more with IT. The Australian National University. Retrieved February 7, 2003 from the World Wide Web: http://www.anu.edu.au/CEDAM/learningstudio.html Troup, Wilson (2001). Factor Furnishings Into Tech Decisions. Community College Week. Supplement on Technology, 14 (2): 4-6. University of Colorado at Denver: Information Technology Initiative (2003). Classroom Schema. Retrieved January 23, 2003 from the World Wide Web: http://carbon.cudenver.edu/public//ITI/schemea.html University Info: Smarter College Classrooms (2003). College and University Instructional Technology Support Center Information. Retrieved May 15, 2003 From the World Wide Web: http://classrooms.com/uniinfo.html University of Washington Classroom Support Services Office of Undergraduate Education (1998). Classroom Design Guidelines. Retrieved October 28, 2002 from the World Wide Web: http://www.washington.edu/classroom/guidelines.html

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92 Wineman, Jean D. (1986). Behavioral Issues In Office Design. New York, NY: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company. Wolff, Susan J. (2001). Sustaining Systems of Relationships: The Essence of the Physical Learning Environment that Supports and Enhances Collaborative, Project-based Learning at the Community College Level. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Oregon State University. Zandvliet, D. B. and Straker, L. M. (2001). Physical and Psychosocial Aspects of the Learning Environment in Information Rich Technology Classrooms. Ergonomics, 44 (9): 838-857.

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Jessica Lee Callahan was born in Memphis, Tennessee. Since she was a child, she has always been interested in the design of interior spaces. Jessica moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee, after graduating high school. She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree with a focus in interior design in December of 1999. After working in the residential field for two years, Jessica decided to further her knowledge of the broad field of interior design. She enrolled in the Master of Interior Design program at the University of Florida and was enlightened by the knowledge she gained from the professors and the program. Upon completion of this masters thesis, Jessica plans to apply her knowledge and experience within the commercial industry. She hopes this will allow her to be well experienced in both aspects of the residential and commercial design fields so that one day she can educate others. 93


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Title: Effects of Different Seating Arrangements in Higher Education Computer Lab Classrooms on Student Learning, Teaching Style, and Classroom Appraisal
Physical Description: Mixed Material
Copyright Date: 2008

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Source Institution: University of Florida
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EFFECTS OF DIFFERENT SEATING ARRANGEMENTS IN HIGHER EDUCATION
COMPUTER LAB CLASSROOMS ON STUDENT LEARNING, TEACHING STYLE,
AND CLASSROOM APPRAISAL















By

JESSICA CALLAHAN


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF INTERIOR DESIGN

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2004

































Copyright 2004

by

Jessica L Callahan















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to thank my committee members, Dr. M. Jo Hasell and Dr. Helena

Moussatche, for their guidance throughout this master's research project. The topic of

this research was suggested by Dr. Helena Moussatche and Professor Janine King. Dr.

M. Jo Hasell and I further investigated the topic. I would also like to thank the professors

in the Sociology and Criminolgy Departments for their permission to use their classes in

this study and for their sincere interest in this topic.

Finally, I would like to thank my family and close friends for their support and

encouragement. Without Dr. M. Jo Hasell's vigorous effort and the support of my family

and friends, this project would have never been completed.
















TABLE OF CONTENTS

page

A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S ................................................................................................. iii

LIST OF TABLES ........... ............................. .................. vi

L IST O F F IG U R E S .... ...... ................................................ .. .. ..... .............. vii

A B STR A C T ..................... ................................... ........... ................. viii

CHAPTER

1 IN TR OD U CTION ............................................... .. ......................... ..

State ent of Purpose .................. .................................... ................ .2
R action ale .................................................................................... . 2
S ig n ifican ce ....................................................... 3

2 PHILOSOPHIES AND PRACTICES OF TEACHING AND LEARNING IN
H IGH ER ED U CA TION ............................................................. ............. ............... 7

Teaching M methods ....................... ......................... .............. .... ....
L earning Styles .................. ................ .......... .................. ..... .........9
Information Technology in Higher Education.........................................................11

3 PHYSICAL AND SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS OF EDUCATIONAL
LEARNING ENVIRONM ENTS ........................................ ......................... 17

Physical and Social Characteristics of Educational Learning Environments ............ 17
Physical Characteristics of Classrooms ........................................ ...............18
Computer Lab Classrooms ................... ....... ...............19
Physical Characteristics that Support Learning Environments .........................24
Social Characteristics of Classroom s.................................... ................................... 29

4 RESEARCH M ETHODOLOGY ........................................ .......................... 32

R e se arch S ettin g ................................................................................................... 3 2
R e sp o n d en ts .....................................................................................3 5
P ro c e d u re ..................................................................3 6
In stru m e n ts ........................................................................................................... 3 7









5 F IN D IN G S .................................................................................. 4 3

Evaluation of the Physical Setting ......................................................... .................. 43
Computerized Classroom Environment Inventory (CCEI) ..............................43
Iso v ist A n aly sis ............................................................................................. 4 5
Adjustment of W orkstations ........................................................ ......... 48
Students' Appraisal of the Physical Characteristics................ .............. ....49
Teachers' Appraisal of the Physical Characteristics .......................................51
Teachers' and Students' Appraisal Comparisons..............................................52
Evaluation of the Social Setting ........................................ ........................... 53
C classroom O observations ........................................................... ............... 53
Students' Self-Reported Appraisals ....................................... ............... 54
Teachers' Appraisal of Social Setting ...................................... ............... 57
Teachers' and Students' Appraisal Comparisons..............................................59

6 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS ............................................................... 61

Physical Setting Observations and Appraisals ................................. ............... 62
C C E I O b servations ........................... ................................... ............... 62
Isovist Analysis Compared With Observations....................... ...............63
Student and Teacher Self-Reported Appraisals.......................................63
Social Setting Observations and Appraisals....................................... 65
Observations ..................... .... .................. 65
Students' Appraisals of Classrooms ................ ................................. .............. 66
Limitations and Assumptions .................................. .....................................67
Suggestions for Further Research........................ ....................68
Suggestions for Architects, Designers, and Facility Planners.............. .......... 70
C onclu sion ......... .................. ..................................... ...........................7 1

APPENDIX

A COMPUTER CLASSROOM ENVIRONMENT INVENTORY (CCEI)..................73

B ISO V IST A N A L Y SIS ..................................................................... .....................75

C BEH AVIORAL M APPIN G ............................................... ............................ 79

D CLASSROOM APPRAISAL SURVEY: STUDENT............... ................ 82

E CLASSROOM APPRAISAL SURVEY: TEACHER ...............................................85

L IST O F R E F E R E N C E S ......... .................................... ................................................87

BIO GRAPH ICAL SK ETCH .................................................. ............................... 93







v
















LIST OF TABLES


Table page

4-1 Number of students and teachers in each classroom................... ....... .........36

4-2 C classroom schedules. ........................... ........................ .... ......... ...... ............37

5-1 CCEI scores of each computer lab classroom.................. ................ ............... 45

5-2 Students' classroom appraisal. ............................................................................ 49

5-3 Students' open-ended positive and negative comments ................ .............. 51

5-4 T-test of students' perceptions of teaching style used................ ............... 55

5-5 Chi Squared of students' perceptions of students helping each other........ ........ 56

5-6 T-test of students' perceptions of student group work...................... ..............56

5-7 T-test of students' perceptions of student distraction.................... ....................56

5-8 Summary of teachers' appraisals of seating arrangements. .............................. 59

5-9 Teacher and student response comparisons. .................................. ............... 59
















LIST OF FIGURES

Figure page

3-1 U or V computer lab seating arrangement. ................................... ............... 22

3-2 Cluster seating arrangem ent. ........................................ ......................................23

3-3 Conventional straight row seating arrangement ......... ............ ............... 23

3-4 Pod seating arrange ent. ............................................... .............................. 24

4-1 C IR C A classroom floor plan ..................................................................................34

4-2 Isovist field of vision-plan view-adapted from Benedikt (1979)........................39

5-1 Student isovist analysis of Classroom A. ....................................... ............... 46

5-2 Teacher isovist analysis of Classroom A. ..................................... ............... 47

5-3 Isovist analysis of Classroom B. ........................................ ......................... 48

5-4 Adjustment of computer monitors in Classroom B...............................................49
















Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Interior Design

EFFECTS OF DIFFERENT SEATING ARRANGEMENTS IN HIGHER EDUCATION
COMPUTER LAB CLASSROOMS ON STUDENT LEARNING, TEACHING STYLE,
AND CLASSROOM APPRAISAL

By

Jessica Callahan

August 2004

Chair: M. Joyce Hasell
Major Department: Interior Design

This study investigated the physical arrangement of workstations, seating and

equipment in computer lab classrooms and its effect on the social and physical settings of

the classroom. The literature suggests that information technology (IT) encourages

students to "learn by doing" and therefore affects student learning and teaching style

within the technology-rich classroom environment. Zandervliet and Straker believe that

the physical design of the seating, computer placement, and arrangement of space is often

overlooked when IT is integrated into classrooms. However, no current research was

found to support whether or not the physical design of higher education computer lab

classrooms affects student learning, teaching style, and student and teacher appraisal of

the classroom.

This study compared two differently arranged computer lab classrooms on the

University of Florida campus. One computer lab classroom was configured in straight

rows with a center aisle, while the other computer lab classroom was arranged in pods-









cross-shaped desks with a computer workstation at each end of the desk. Workstations

and room arrangements were evaluated using measurements of the physical settings from

the Computerized Classroom Environment Inventory (CCEI) instrument. A survey was

conducted with 72 students and 5 teachers to appraise both the social and physical

classroom settings.

The CCEI measures revealed deficiencies in the Computer, Workspace, and Visual

environments in the straight row computer lab classroom, while the pod-arranged

computer lab classroom only had a deficiency in the Computer workstation environment.

Observations and student/teacher survey responses revealed that the students in the

straight row computer lab classroom were off-task more often, had fewer student-to-

teacher interactions, helped other students more often, and were distracted more often

than the students in the pod arrangement. The frequency of student-to-student and

student-to-teacher interactions indicated that the pod arrangement supported more

collaboration than the straight row classroom. Nevertheless, over half of the students in

both computer labs liked their classroom.

Further research is required to clarify the interactions between students and

teachers in higher education IT classrooms. This study recommends that designers of IT

classrooms (1), first, identify social intentions of the users and (2), second, design

facilities to support student learning and teaching styles with appropriate equipment,

furniture and physical layout.














CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

Technology is now the real environment shaper of school design.-Spurgeon, 1998:
46a.

Architects, designers, and facility planners are under both societal and academic

pressure to design and build university classrooms that support rapidly emerging

"technological learning environments" (Carlson, 2002; Kettinger, 1991; Report of the IT

Review Committee, 2001; and Zandvliet and Straker, 2001). Their major goal is to

consider "providing an environment designed to enhance a student's ability to

understand, observe, and participate in active learning" (University of Washington

Classroom Support Services, 1998, p 3). Increasingly, universities are struggling to

invest in information technology (IT) and technology-rich classrooms in order to develop

improved models of teaching and learning.

There is a growing body of empirical research about the impact of computers on

student and teacher interaction and motivation (Zandvliet and Straker, 2001; Carlson,

2002). Some educators (Link to Learn: Technology Tutorials, 2000) believe that IT

motivates individual students to learn by doing even though Liu, Macmillan, and

Timmons (1998) found there was "no [measurable] effect on student achievement" (p

189). Additionally, technology-rich environments affect both the process of exploration

and the teaching style or presentation of the content (Cohen, 1997). A less understood

component of IT classrooms is the physical design of the seating, furniture, computer

placement, and arrangement of space. Comell (2003) believes that ergonomic comfort,









safety, and health needs must be addressed in order to promote well-being. Long before

technology and IT classrooms, Sommer (1967) found that the seating position that a

student selected in a general-purpose classroom was highly correlated with their

participation in the class. However, no current research was found to support whether or

not and how the physical arrangement of space, furniture, ergonomic comfort, and

computer placement in computer lab classrooms supports the interactions and the efforts

of the students and the teacher.

Statement of Purpose

This study addresses one part of the changing IT classroom setting, specifically the

physical arrangement of seating and furniture. Two differently arranged computer lab

classrooms will be evaluated to understand the effect of the physical seating arrangement

on (1) student and teacher interactions, as well as (2) their satisfaction with the classroom

environment. The specific purposes of this study are to explore whether or not different

seating arrangements of computer tables and computers in computer labs (straight rows

versus pods shaped like a cross with computers at each end) affect:

la. the amount of observed interaction among the students and teacher in a class;
lb. the reported style of teaching that is performed;
Ic. the reported student's perception of their own learning in these classrooms; and
2. student and teacher appraisal with the classroom setting.

Rationale

There are claims that technology rich classrooms (1) promote student interaction

with media learning tools, (2) foster interaction among students themselves, (3) support

communication with teachers, and (4) motivate individual students to learn by doing

(Carlson, 2002, and Zandvliet and Straker, 2001). Despite these claims, no significant

research has confirmed them.









There are also beliefs that the physical environment plays an important role in the

learning and teaching process. For example, Cornell (2003) believes that the shift from

passive learning to active learning requires students to physically and mentally be more

active. Therefore, the traditional "stand and deliver" method, which required long

uninterrupted sitting, is becoming a more engaged process where students are allowed

"greater movement and positioning" (Cornell, p 3). Cornell believes this more engaged

process of learning reduces or eliminates drowsiness and muscle fatigue. However, no

research has provided evidence of whether or not and how the physical arrangement of

space, furniture and equipment in differently arranged computer lab classrooms supports

the efforts of students and the teacher. A first step taken in this study is to systematically

compare two computer lab classrooms at the University of Florida, each with a different

seating arrangement, in order to evaluate whether or not and how these physical

arrangements affect student and teacher interaction and satisfaction.

Significance

For decades, the term "classroom" was characterized as a rectangular room where

the "focus was directed to the front where the instructor exercised complete control of the

pace, content, and sequence of activities" by using a blackboard and overhead projector

(Cornell, 2003, p 1). However since 1984, student computer use in all levels of

instruction has almost tripled (CEO Forum on Educational Technology, 2001) and

technology is currently an important part of the educational process from grade school

thru higher education. Considering just how to integrate technological changes into

current classroom settings is challenging administrators, faculty, designers, facility

planners, and architects alike. Thus, educators, researchers, designers and facility

planners, who specialize in school design, must learn how to create and renovate the









"technological learning environments" that are slowly replacing the "one size fits all"

classroom (Zandvliet and Straker, 2001). Teaching and learning is no longer about the

teacher standing at the front of the room and the students sitting at their hard,

uncomfortable desks. Rather, it is about these new, complex "technological learning

environments" that are more concerned with the people-machine interaction.

Additionally, they must recognize that behavior related to how humans teach and in turn

learn is both linked to and affected by the physical qualities of the complex classroom

environment (Gifford, 2002). Examining just one element of this rich environment,

Swanquist (1998) found that comfortable classroom seating helped to improve the

students' attention span and also increased their retention of information.

In addition to influencing the shape of the physical learning environment, the

implementation of technology in higher education is challenging educators to reevaluate

their social role as teacher as well as their instructional methods. Ultimately, technology

is slowly changing instruction. The traditional teacher-centered style of instruction,

where teachers deliver the information and students sit silently taking notes, is slowly

being replaced with student-centered learning (Nair, 2000). Similarly, many believe that

effective learning rarely occurs passively (Nair, 2000; Halpern, 1994).

Educators have come to realize that effective instruction focuses on active
involvement of students in their own learning, with opportunities for teacher and
peer interactions that engage students' natural curiosity. (Halpern, 1994, p 11)

Neuman (2003) argues that information technology (IT) is forcing a revolution in

how all of these players think about what makes a good "place of learning". The term

"place of learning" recognizes that learning can take place in any environment where

people are actively motivated to do so. Student-centered learning requires active and

inquisitive students. Hence, courses and classrooms that emphasize collaboration,









computer use, and social learning are replacing the passive model of learning (Cornell,

2003). Many educators believe it is important to make this switch away from

memorizing a factual knowledge base to instead helping students learn the critical

thinking skills required to produce knowledge. These higher order thinking skills include

the mental abilities of interpretation, analysis, evaluation, inference, explanation, and

self-regulation (Facione, 1996). Many believe that technology facilitates critical thinking

skills by helping to motivate students and to retain their attention (Cohen, 1997;

Enghagen, 1997; and Kettinger, 1991). Hence, learning environments should be

designed in new ways that encourage the development of student-centered learning skills.

According to Kettinger (1991), "large sums of money are being expended to build

and support computer classrooms, yet little research has been conducted to determine

their value from either a teaching or cost/benefit point of view" (p 42). Therefore, a post

occupancy evaluation of any new facility should be required to see if the technology and

furnishings are being integrated properly within different classroom designs. Computer

classrooms may only be effective in facilitating certain activities. Therefore, not all

courses will require a fully equipped computer lab. Student outcomes should also be

evaluated or compared to a course with similar goals that did not use a computer

classroom. In other words, decision makers should ask, "What are the learning goals to

which technology is applied?" (North Central Regional Educational Laboratory, 2003).

At the University of Florida-the setting for this research-from the 1996-97

school year to the 1998-99 school year, the IT and communications budget went from

$50 million a year to $62 million a year resulting in a nineteen percent increase (Office of

Academic Technology: Classroom Support, 2003). Most of this budget was spent on









wiring classrooms for the teachers to use PowerPoint presentations as an instructional

tool and to allow access to the World Wide Web. However, in 2000-2001, the University

of Florida allocated about 3 percent of the IT expenditures to enhance four campus

computer lab classrooms. A more significant budget output was unjustified because there

is little or no evidence to ensure administrators that money spent to renovate existing

classrooms into technology rich settings is effective. Therefore, empirical evidence is

needed to find out whether or not IT classrooms that are designed to support a student-

centered learning paradigm, actually satisfy students and teachers and perhaps ultimately

improve student learning.

Examining the role of the physical environment and its effect on teaching and

learning can provide universities, architects, designers, and facility planners with a better

understanding of how to design computer lab classrooms. Chapter 2 examines the past

decades of teaching methods and learning styles and the integration of IT into

classrooms. Chapter 3 explores the physical and social characteristics of educational

learning environments.














CHAPTER 2
PHILOSOPHIES AND PRACTICES OF TEACHING AND LEARNING IN HIGHER
EDUCATION

Two thousand years ago school took place on the stairs of ancient Greek temples or

in the shade of a farmer's wall (Castaldi, 1994) as teachers and students held their

discussions when and where they could. As time progressed from the days of no chairs

and desks, schools became places where teachers cited information and students recited

it. This style of teaching and information exchange had its roots in religion. Telling

parishioners what to think was practiced as preaching and the catechism (Castaldi). The

18th and 19th century industrial age school model also promoted lecturing where the

instructor was the leader and the students were the passive receivers of information

(Cornell, 1999). In the late 1890s, philosopher and educational reformer John Dewey

proposed a change and called it "learning by doing" (Smith, 2002). With this model

students actively engaged in creating their own learning experiences. Dewey's ideas,

although ahead of his time, set in motion an educational reform movement called the

Progressive era that is becoming even more relevant in the 21st century.

The following chapter reviews the literature concerning: (1) the past decade of

teaching methods; (2) the past decade of learning styles; and (3) the integration of

information technology (IT) into classrooms.

Teaching Methods

Although teaching and learning activities coexist, they have very distinct

characteristics. Hativa (2000) lists the following skills of teachers:









* Examine, interpret, and share learning;
* Understand how students learn;
* Learn the knowledge in their field;
* Conduct research on learning and teaching;
* Share their experiences.

Additionally, an effective teacher also understands how to promote a love for self-

learning in students. Bess (2000) argues that "student preferences for teaching strategies

are for active and challenging learning, where they are involved, where learning is

connected to real life, and where there are opportunities for mutual responsibility" (p 53).

Scott-Webber, Marini, and Abraham (2000) have divided possible teacher-student

relationships into different types of communication styles. They include one-on-one,

presentation, teamwork, and discussion. The one-on-one communication style is

associated with self-directed learning, learning through electronic tutorials, or teacher-to-

student learning. The one-on-one style places an emphasis on the student's

understanding and discovery (Hativa and Birrenbaum, 2000).

The most common communication style is known as presentation (Scott-Webber et

al. 2000). This includes activities such as lecturing, sharing information, motivating, and

performing demonstrations. Because students are less willing to learn in a lecture format

and prefer a more active learning environment (Wolff, 2001), presenters must emphasize

quality (Hativa and Birrenbaum, 2000). Cornell (2003) suggests that students are less

willing to learn in a lecture format because they are fatigued and drowsy from sitting for

long periods of time. They prefer an active learning environment because it is more

physically and mentally stimulating. The implementation of technology software, such

as PowerPoint, can help to create a stimulating learning environment that may aid the









instructor in retaining the students' attention. Nonetheless, the student is still a passive

observer.

Teamwork is increasingly becoming popular and is also referred to as collaborative

learning. The activities involved with teamwork are intergroup work, shared discovery,

brainstorming, and games. Therefore, the instructor becomes a facilitator of knowledge.

This style allows students to be recognized as individuals with different strengths (Hativa

and Birrenbaum, 2000).

The discussion style involves the exchange of information, making decisions, and

meeting. The discussion style has similar teamwork style characteristics such as the

sharing of information and brainstorming. Instructors also allocate certain amounts of

discussion time in lectures or presentations in order to answer any questions that may

arise from the lecture (Hativa and Birrenbaum, 2000).

These different types of communication styles will be identified in each computer

lab classroom of this study. Both the students and teachers will be asked which

communication style is performed most often. This will determine which communication

style is most popular and whether or not the students and teachers perceptions are the

same.

Learning Styles

On the other end of the spectrum is the learning process. For Light and Cox

(2001), learning is "part of the whole of the academic enterprise", which includes the

"personal, practical, and social dimensions of students' learning life" (p 63). According

to Radloff (1998), learning must "promote understanding, application, and transfer" (p 1).

Learning, as defined by Light and Cox, is "an active and meaningful construction of









facts, ideas, concepts, theories, and experiences in order to work and manage successfully

in a changing world of contexts" (p 63).

Bess (2000) believes "students' conceptions of learning are mediated by how well

professors communicate their expectations to students and how they evaluate learning" (p

51). Therefore, if the professors poorly communicate their expectations, then the result

of student learning outcomes will be poor and vice versa. According to Bess, there are

certain teaching methods that are appropriate for particular learning outcomes. For

example, if the learning outcome is to gain factual knowledge of principles and theories,

then the most efficient teaching method is lectures and reading. On the other hand, if the

learning outcome is to gain higher-order thinking skills, then the instructor should use a

method that allows the student to become actively engaged and able to manipulate the

principle learned. Combining these two teaching methods is becoming popular. For

example, some research methods courses consist of a lecture class that meets three times

a week and a computer lab class that meets once a week. The computer lab session

allows the students to apply what they learned in the lecture by experimenting or

demonstrating with computer technology. This is also known as enactive representation.

According to Bess, this means that "students can actively manipulate objects or events, as

in demonstrations or experimental learning" (p 52).

Over the years, there has been a vast amount of research on students' learning

styles (Hativa and Birrenbaum, 2000; Light and Cox, 2001; Leider, 1998; and, Daley et

al., 2001). Claxton and Murrell's (1987) model is basic. It informs this study because

the categories of the model provide specific characteristics to look for during

observations in the two different computer lab classrooms. The four main categories of









the model are personality, information processing, social interaction, and instructional

preference. Personality refers to the characteristics of the student along a continuum

from introvert a shy and reserved person to extrovert a sociable person. How a

student receives and processes information is known as information processing. For

example, some students may take notes whereas other students may process information

just by listening or watching. Social interaction involves the interaction and behavior of

a student during the lesson. Certain room layouts may restrict certain interactions among

the students and teacher. Instructional preference concentrates on individual preferences

for the media used, such as watching, reading, listening, and performing, when the

learning occurs. Each student has a different instructional preference that allows them to

effectively process and retain the knowledge.

Information Technology in Higher Education

Educational technology advanced rapidly after the invention of the chalkboard in

the 19th century, and was accompanied by minor physical changes in learning

environments through most of the 20th century (Castaldi, 1994). Such changes to the

traditional lecture-style classrooms were generally made to support the latest technology.

While some traditional lecture-style classrooms have been drastically converted into

electronic laboratory-style classrooms supplied with hardware such as projectors,

computers, and projection screens, most have only been moderately updated to afford the

use of electronic instructional tools, such as PowerPoint. Therefore, it is important to

understand how the design of computer lab classrooms supports the interactions between

teachers and students and how the design of computer lab classrooms supports learning

and teaching styles.









Computers are now being integrated into the classrooms and slowly transforming

the way instructors teach and the way students learn. What began as a presentation tool

for teachers has evolved into fully equipped and wired classrooms where each student has

their own computer. For example, lecture classrooms and computer lab classrooms are

increasingly becoming equipped with power supply outlets at each student desk for

laptop computers or computer workstations for each student. Although the teacher still

lectures or presents information to the students in the computer lab classroom, the

students can now apply the knowledge they receive from the teacher during the

instructional session. For example, the teacher will explain different statistical tests and

then the students are given the opportunity to conduct a test on their specific topic using

the computer and appropriate software programs. This additional dimension of learning

also allows the teacher to play the role of facilitator. Leider (1998) argues that the

integration of computer technology enhances student-centered education, as well as the

communication among faculty and students (Enghagen, 1997). Unfortunately, neither

author discussed how the physical environment of technology-rich classrooms impacts

the learning process and interaction. For example, the assumption is that the computer

alone is used in the computer lab classrooms, however, students still need adequate

worksurfaces to write or take notes, otherwise they may become distracted or fall behind

in the instructions.

From Cornell's (2003) perspective, the physical environment of technology-rich

classrooms is focused towards a "user-centered" design, where the needs of the

instructors and learners drive the design of the classrooms. Teachers need to be able to

move throughout the classroom in order to provide guidance for their students. Students,









large and small, should have adjustable chairs, workstations, and computers. Cornell

suggests that there are "three factors that contribute to the need for adjustability: task

duration, posture static-"ness", and availability of an adjustable height chair" (p 3). The

adjustability of furniture allows the students to be comfortable for extended periods of

time. Nonetheless, the complexity of technology-rich classrooms requires architects,

designers, and facility planners to consider the ergonomic comfort needs of the user and

their interactions with machines.

Several societal trends are important reasons to integrate information technology

into higher education facilities. They include competition, career preparation, teaching

and learning enhancement, and productivity (Enghagen, 1997). An increasing number of

students enter college with computer skills and technology expectations (Enghagen).

Today's students use computers daily and fluidly, and also learn with hands on activities

(Carlson, 2002). Therefore, colleges compete with each other in order to provide the best

technology resources for their prospective students (Enghagen).

Preparation for the 21st century labor market also plays an important role with the

integration of information technology into higher education learning environments. A

report from the CEO Forum on Education and Technology (2001) stated that the

operation of the economy and society is being transformed by information technology.

Universities must meet the demands of the future in order to prepare students for the

digital age. Students must also be prepared for lifelong learning as technology continues

to advance.

Another reason for the integration of information technology is to enhance

curriculum and learning environments. Enghagen (1997) believes that "IT (information









technology) can enhance classes and improve student learning" (p 31). According to

Kettinger (1991), the use of computer technology in the classroom helps retain the

students' attention and enables them to experiment with what is being taught. Some

instructors believe that students get bored and lose interest if they do not use visual or

active technology to grab their attention (Carlson, 2002). In Goddard's (2002) study, his

question was how can educators best use technology to foster engaged learning. Goddard

believed that "in order for engagement to occur, the teacher must create an environment

that encourages student-teacher contact, cooperation among students, and active

learning" (p 23).

Daley et al. (2001) explored the learning processes that students use in technology

enhanced environments to determine how technology could be used effectively to

enhance learning. They found that student learning is strongly influenced by technology,

but could not demonstrate whether it is due to individual attitudes and perceptions of

technology, learning tasks, peers, or facilitators. Once again, the physical environment

was not a variable in their study.

For most instructors, there are two primary motivations for integrating technology:

external and internal pressures (Maier, 1998). The external pressures include who and

what is being taught and how others judge the teaching. The internal pressure is

associated with improving teaching. A similar analysis has been made in the article

"Plugging In" by the North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (2003) that states:

There's a dynamic shift occurring as we move from traditional definitions of
learning and course design to models of engaged learning that involve more student
interaction, more connections among schools, more collaboration among teachers
and students, more involvement of teachers as facilitators, and more emphasis on
technology as a tool for learning. It is this type of learning that technology must
support to be effective.









Therefore, it is assumed that high tech classrooms and technology will improve the

communication among teachers and students, and enhance the teachers' instruction in

order to retain the students' attention.

Productivity is the fourth reason given for the integration of information technology

in higher education. Many colleges hope to gain increased enrollment, enhanced student

and teacher outcomes, and increased participation through the investment in information

technology (Enghagen, 1997). They also expect to improve learning and teach more

often with applications of information technology.

Evidence for increased participation through the use of computer technology was

found in a study conducted by Cohen (1997). Cohen investigated whether or not learning

style would change after a year in technology-rich environments. Although learning

styles did not change after a year, Cohen did discover that interaction among the students

and teacher was more frequent and casual in nature. However, frequent and casual

interactions among students and teacher could occur in non-technology rich

environments. For the purpose of this study, the observation of interactions may

determine whether or not the computer technology of one seating arrangement facilitates

more frequent interaction than the computer technology of another seating arrangement.

Liu, MacMillan, and Timmons (1998) studied the effects of computer integration

on student achievement and student attitudes. They perceived computer integration as an

instructional system that impacts student learning. The computer lab and computer

settings were considered a variable that impacted student learning. Although their study

concluded that there were no significant effects of computer integration on student

achievement, the students perceived the computer integration and usage "as having a






16


positive effect on their learning" (p 189). For example, fifty-three percent of the students

believed that the computers made their schoolwork easy. Other students believed that the

computer integration helped increase their grades, helped the students be more creative,

and increased their interest in the course. In the current study, students will be asked

about their positive or negative perceptions of their own learning and satisfaction. Then

it may be possible to determine whether or not there are more positive or negative

perceptions in one computer lab seating arrangement or another.














CHAPTER 3
PHYSICAL AND SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS OF EDUCATIONAL LEARNING
ENVIRONMENTS

In some ways, 21st century education and facilities have evolved dramatically, but

in many ways they remain mired in the past. Nonetheless, a growing number of current

educators advocate the so-called "knowledge age school model" where the students

actively engage in learning, and instructors facilitate and coach rather than lecture on

stage. There are also a small but growing number of educational facilities that support

this model with advanced informational technology (IT) (Castaldi, 1994). Blackett and

Stanfield (1994) state that renovating old classrooms and designing new classrooms with

IT in higher education settings is a top priority for current academic and facilities

planners and designers.

The following review is organized in two separate but related issues central to this

study: (1) the past decade of physical and social characteristics of educational learning

environments, and (2) the theories and research about the effects of classrooms that are

designed to use information technology (IT) on teaching styles and student learning.

Physical and Social Characteristics of Educational Learning Environments

A wider range of learning environments are needed in our college and university

educational facilities in order to accommodate the diversity of both teaching and learning

styles. This general concept is based on the theory that there are reciprocal interactions

between people and interior space arrangements. For example, Wineman (1986) believes

"the physical environment provides physical facilities and spatial arrangements that aid









specific activity patterns" (p 8). For example, in a conference room the furniture can be

arranged several ways in order to accommodate meetings, presentations, or luncheons.

Within these physical environments, people may rearrange the furniture or lighting to suit

their needs. Therefore, if the built environment influences human behavior, then "what

do we need to know about the classroom in higher education settings that will provide

designers with some direction to create positive learning environments?" (Scott-Webber,

Marini, Abraham, 2000, p 17).

Physical Characteristics of Classrooms

According to Owu (1992), the classrooms of the 21st century deserve more than the

out-dated chalkboards and old furniture. Likewise, the students and teachers who spend

an average of 400 hours a year in classrooms deserve more as well (Owu). With the

publication of the first edition of Design of General Purpose Classrooms and Lecture

Halls in the mid 90's, attitudes began to change (Clabaugh, et al., 1996). College and

university planners began to realize the importance of modern and well-equipped

instructional facilities as a tool to "recruit and retain good students and faculty"

(Clabaugh et al, p 1). Planners began to pay attention to the essential architectural quality

of design elements for effective classroom environments. The physical elements that

Clabaugh et al. felt needed attention from planners follows:

Dimensions room, aisles, ceiling heights, door widths
Entrances door location
Windows placement, treatments
Finishes walls, ceilings, floors
Furnishings & Equipment instructor's desk, display surface, student seating
Voice Amplification
Acoustics
Accessibility
Heating, Ventilation, & Air Conditioning
Lighting
Projection Requirements









Planners could see that if the guidelines about these design elements were followed,

they might enhance the physical qualities of classroom function, focus, aesthetics, and

flexibility (Owu). Accordingly, each type of classroom could then be adapted to

facilitate the type of instruction to be performed. For example, a lecture hall with rows

upon rows of desks and chairs could facilitate the necessary purposes of an instructor

who lectures or transmits primary information to their students. Next, the classroom

design must attempt to focus the student's attention on the learning activities. According

to Owu, "focus is achieved through the arrangement of architectural elements, proper

acoustics and lighting, and the absence of visual distractions" (pl5). Also, the aesthetics

of a classroom could help to enhance students' enjoyment of their learning experience.

Flexibility is also critical for an efficient classroom design. Although Neuman

(2003) suggests that there are basically two types of classrooms, "those with flat floors

and those with sloped or stepped floors" (p 95), he believes that there is a variety of

classrooms, or subcategories, within the two broad types of classrooms. Therefore,

classrooms should accommodate multiple uses and technological advancements. The

adjustable classrooms could allow for a variety of teacher-centered as well as student-

centered approaches within the space (Jamieson, 2000). Blackett and Stanfield (1994)

believe "flexibility is vital so that a college does not get locked into one technology, and

so that the classrooms can be reconfigured as new technologies are developed" (p 26). A

flexible classroom environment that consists of a variety of ways to present information

promotes interchanges among the teacher, students, and information (Conway, 1996).

Computer Lab Classrooms

Ergonomics plays a significant role in computer integration and classroom design

for creating positive social environments. Ergonomics is defined as the relationship









between the human body and its dimensions as it relates to the physical environment

(Panero and Zelnik, 1979). Too often, classrooms are renovated with inappropriate

furniture and equipment, which defy ergonomic principles (Jamieson, 2000). If

ergonomics is not enforced, then good posture is compromised, making the user

uncomfortable (Computer Classroom Design, 1995). Therefore, items such as chairs and

keyboards should be adjustable so that any body shape or size will be comfortable

(Knirk, 1992). Knirk firmly believes "Incorporating ergonomic design requirements into

the design and refurbishing of teaching and learning areas will create a more effective

and positive learning and information handling environment" (p 32).

Kettinger's (1991) research identified a variety of ways that technology could be

used in higher education. He envisioned both computerized lecture halls and computer

labs. Blackett and Stanfield (1994) explained that the computer lab "began as a lecture

on computer techniques and exercises, followed by individual student application at

stations in a computer center, and has evolved into new instructor podiums with a built in

computer" (p 28). The computerized lecture hall teaches students computer programs

that may begin with an instructional tutorial or demonstration, followed by limited hands-

on experience by the student. "This allows students to experiment with the lesson that is

being taught" (Kettinger, 1991, p 38). However, there is a disadvantage to this style.

Some instructors believe that in this type of classroom, students tend to focus more on the

computer rather than the instruction, therefore diminishing learning as opposed to

enhancing it (Blackett and Stanfield). If the students are not productively engaged in the

lesson, they may select other options, such as surfing the net (Schwartz, 2003).









Another type of computerized lecture hall is the Math Emporium at Virginia

Polytechnic Institute (VPI) and State University. In 1997, VPI converted a 58,000 sq ft

department store into a mathematics computer lab with 500 computers (Neuman, 2003).

The students work at their own pace on different course materials and may ask for faculty

assistance during scheduled hours. Therefore, the faculty plays the role of coach or tutor

rather than lecturer. According to an article in the Virginia Tech Magazine, VPI intends

to use the Math Emporium as a case analysis of: faculty challenges; students'

perceptions of the emporium; and students' grades, persistence, and retention rates over

time. According to Neuman, students prefer the Math Emporium over the lecture format,

student learning has increased, and faculty has willingly taken on the role of tutors rather

than lecturers. It has proven to be a successful example of a technology-assisted

approach to "increasing individualized instruction and improving student performance

through interactive, self-paced, and self-directed learning" (Neuman, 2003, p 99).

The University of Washington Classroom Support Services (1998) characterizes

the computer lab classrooms as being smaller than large lecture halls and accommodating

up to 30 individuals. According to Fawson and VanUitert (1990), the method of

instruction and student interaction required should influence the equipment specified and

the physical facility designed. The computer lab should be equipped with a presentation

system, audio system, and network connections. All computer labs require a teaching

station, movable chairs, and flexible seating arrangements. Some of the arrangements

may resemble a U or V shape, clusters of computers, or a conventional, parallel row

configuration (University of Washington Classroom Support Services). In summary, the









guidelines stress that different classroom layouts facilitate different teaching styles and

learning activities (Niemeyer, 2003).

Several decades ago Sommer (1967) found in the traditional classroom that the

nature of student activity, instructor's teaching method, and the physical dimensions and

shape of the room are all factors that should influence the functional spatial arrangement

of the room. Niemeyer (2003) currently recommends that within a computer lab

classroom, the U or V shape shown in figure 3.1 allows the presenter sight of all of the

students' computers. He believes that this design is beneficial to computer-enhanced

courses that use instructional methods such as computer-based independent work, lecture,

group discussion, and presentation.




-, -



r r -


Figure 3-1. U or V computer lab seating arrangement.

The cluster arrangement shown in figure 3-2 is similar to the conventional straight

row layout. The main difference is that the computer tables are placed perpendicular to

the front of the room. This layout is ideal for small groups, collaboration, and dialectic

instruction (Niemeyer).




















Figure 3-2. Cluster seating arrangement.

The conventional straight row layout shown in figure 3-3 resembles a standard

lecture classroom. This configuration consists of rows that are parallel to the front of the

classroom. These layout characteristics allow for collaboration among students or the

typical lecture/training method. Typically, the teacher presents at the front of the room.

The disadvantage of the front lectern station is that the instructor cannot see the students'

computer screens. Therefore, the ideal setup would provide a front and rear lectern

(University of Colorado, 2003).






I+I 1 1 I I





Figure 3-3. Conventional straight row seating arrangement.

Most of these general characteristics can be found in the computer lab classrooms

on the University of Florida campus. The exception lies in the flexible seating

arrangements that the campus currently provides in two recently renovated computer lab

classrooms. Currently, the campus computer labs have either the conventional layout









with a center aisle or a pod configuration shown in figure 3.4. Review of research

indicates that the instructional purpose of the pod layout is intended to support

collaborative computer-based work (Spectrum Industries, 2003; CIRCA Computer Lab

Classrooms, 2003).





6 116





Figure 3-4. Pod seating arrangement.

As faculty and students become comfortable with technology, higher education

planners will continue to explore ways to integrate it into the classroom environment.

The design of the 21st century classrooms should rely heavily on the user's needs and the

desired interactions for supporting learning within the space. It will take ongoing

collaboration among educational an environmental behavior researchers, architects,

designers, facility planners, faculty, and users to design classrooms that effectively

support teaching and learning.

Physical Characteristics that Support Learning Environments

Sommer (1967) compared the relationship between seating arrangement and the

amount of student participation in a traditional classroom with a seminar-style

arrangement and a classroom with straight rows. In the seminar-style classroom, students

across from the instructor participated more than students at the sides of the instructor.

The study of the straight row arrangement found that students near the front and center of

the straight row classroom participated more than students in the rear and at the sides.









However, most studies have shown that seating position is more closely related to

personality variables of the students (Stokols and Altman, 1987). No studies have looked

at whether or not the ergonomic comfort or the arrangement of the furniture influences

the IT higher education learning environment.

McAndrew (1993) argued that college and university students deserve functional

classrooms that facilitate learning experiences. Babey (1991) monitored campus

classroom environments at the University of California, Davis and conducted a survey

among the faculty and students to determine classroom quality. Some of the questions

asked related to the aesthetic quality of the classroom, user preference, and ratings of the

design features. Thirty percent of the faculty reported that classrooms were "ill-suited for

their teaching purposes" (p 1). However, the students' ratings were higher. The students

made comments like "the room is ugly and the windows do not open" and "this room is

uninspiring for learning." A question addressed in Babey's (1991) survey was seating

arrangement preference. The results showed that half of the faculty preferred fixed

seating, which can be repetitive and unexciting, and the other half preferred movable

seating, which can occasionally be changed to promote different activities. The students'

main concern with seating addressed issues such as the size of the writing surface,

crowding, storage space, and the spacing between desks. However, the only variety

within the surveyed classrooms was lecture halls with either fixed seating or movable

seating. No computer lab classrooms were evaluated.

Sleeman and Rockwell (1981) believe that positive and/or negative physical

environmental stimuli exist in each classroom. McAndrew (1993) also suggests that a

good predictor of teacher and student satisfaction is the fit between teaching style and









positive environmental stimuli. A few of the stimuli are time of day, furniture, teachers,

and seating arrangements (Sleeman and Rockwell). A "hard classroom", as defined by

Knirk (1979), is considered a formal environment due to the presence of cement or tile

floors, hard plaster walls and ceilings, and hard-surfaced furniture. Knirk (1979) believes

that hard finishes decrease student interactions and encourage students to be passive

learners. He noted that a hard classroom environment can be intimidating, discouraging,

and uncomfortable. Previous research has shown that students and faculty prefer warm,

intimate, and attractive classrooms as opposed to cold, windowless, and colorless

classrooms (University Info: Smarter College Classrooms, 2003, Babey, 1991).

According to Babey (1991), the number one problem area in higher education classrooms

was the lack of appealing aesthetic qualities. In the teaching/learning process there is a

"need to create environments that are suitable for living and working" (p 3). Babey also

believes the levels of communication and user productivity are influenced by the

characteristics of the instructional space. To summarize these findings, students and

teachers prefer comfortable classrooms that functionally support and promote faculty-

student exchanges.

In 1980, Sommer created an alternative classroom using soft materials. He took a

traditional rectangular shaped classroom with 30 tablet arm desks and converted it into a

softer learning environment. The hard-surfaced desks, floors, and walls were replaced

with cushioned bench seating, carpeted floors, and curtained walls. He found a

noticeable rise in participation of students in the soft classroom when compared to a

straight row hard surfaced classroom. There was also an improvement in the preference

ratings for the soft room. However, this drastically renovated classroom is not









functionally appropriate for all courses or users. In the current study, the different

finishes of materials and furnishings used within the two different computer lab

classrooms will be compared in order to determine students and teachers' satisfaction.

Scott-Webber, Marini, and Abraham (2000) set out to determine student and

faculty use and opinions about several university classrooms. A majority of the subjects

felt that the general-purpose classrooms were adequate, however they "had little desire to

stay in the rooms" (p 16). Faculty suggested that the classrooms lacked support for social

interaction. Therefore, Scott-Webber et al. came to the conclusion that the general-

purpose classrooms of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University "do not meet

all the needs of faculty and students" (p 16). Once again, this study focused on general-

purpose classrooms. With the growing use of computer lab classrooms and the variety of

layouts provided on the University of Florida campus, it is necessary to determine

whether or not University of Florida computer lab classrooms meet the needs of our

faculty and students.

Zandvliet and Straker (2001) evaluated the physical and psychosocial environments

of information technology (IT) rich classrooms in order to determine the extent to which

'technological classrooms' created a positive learning environment, for 10-17 year old

children. They believe a positive learning environment is one in which students are not

distracted by physical characteristics or psychosocial factors. This study was one of the

first to look at a new learning environment, the 'technological classroom', which has

been created by the implementation of information technology (IT). Zandvliet and

Straker recognized that physical factors in IT classrooms effect learning, comfort, and









safety issues of students. Overall, they found many significant links between physical

and social factors that influence student satisfaction with learning in IT rich classrooms.

One of the conclusions made by Zandvliet and Straker's study was that the most

common layout found and preferred by teachers was the peripheral arrangement. This

arrangement locates the computers along the peripheral walls of the classroom.

However, there was no investigation of students preferences related to physical layout

since the student learning, and not the physical room arrangement, was the main concern

in their study. There was also no investigation of the relationship between the physical

space arrangement and the teachers' style of instruction or preference for student learning

activities. For example, individualized learning, cooperative learning, and higher order

thinking skills often associated with IT settings were not examined.

The main similarity between Zandvliet and Straker's study and this current study is

the focus on how the physical learning environment may affect student learning and

satisfaction. There are many differences, however. They observed a classroom school

setting for ages 10-17 year old children, and this study focuses on computer lab

classrooms in higher educational settings. This study focuses on how two different

seating arrangements of the environment, a pod layout and straight row layout, affects

learning and teaching satisfaction. In other words, assuming that student interaction is a

positive factor for the instructional style, it is important to determine if certain seating

arrangements affect student learning by either facilitating or not facilitating interaction

among students and teachers for group discussions or individualized help. It is also

important to discover if a specific seating arrangement is associated with reported

distractions during the learning process. For example, in a pod layout, the placement of









seating and equipment may not always allow students a direct view of the projection

screen when there is a need to follow the teacher's instructions or a tutorial. This may

also affect the teacher's satisfaction with the classroom seating arrangement by creating

an environment that may frustrate the students and require unnecessary repetition by the

teacher. Teacher satisfaction with the appropriate seating arrangement that allows for

ease of movement and a variety of styles of instruction is another important factor in this

study.

Sleeman and Rockwell (1981) propose that the physical design of classrooms

"should be considered as a subsystem in the process of producing effective, efficient, and

predictable learning" (p 169). The range of desired activities should be determined

before the design is implemented (Sleeman and Rockwell). Becker, Sommer, Bee, and

Oxley (1973) believe that the arrangement of classrooms reveal information about the

learning process as well as instructional and behavior methods that may be facilitated.

Through the study of environmental psychology and research about classroom ecology

associated with seating arrangement, designers and planners can understand how the

classroom environments affect the users and how their relationships with other people are

influenced by the physical environment (McAndrew, 1993).

Social Characteristics of Classrooms

Understanding the concepts of environmental psychology is important for

understanding the social characteristics of learning environments. McAndrew (1993)

defines environmental psychology as "the discipline that is concerned with the

interactions and relationships between people and their environments" (p 2). In learning

environments, classroom furniture arrangement, crowding, seating position, and noise are

environmental variables that influence behavior, learning, task time, and achievement









(Lackney, 1987). Additionally, these variables influence how a teacher arranges either a

lecture-style classroom or a computer lab classroom layout to make it suitable for

particular learning activities. In other words, if given the choice, an experienced teacher

learns to choose a positive classroom environment that supports selected behaviors,

interactions, and learning objectives. Oddly enough, the physical design of higher

education classroom environments has lagged behind those in K-12. For example, 95

percent of the classrooms at the University of Florida are arranged as the traditional

lecture-style classrooms (Office of Academic Technology: Classroom Support, 2003).

Social Settings that Support Learning Environments

In a study conducted by Becker, Sommer, Bee, and Oxley (1973), the frequency of

interaction was measured in a computer laboratory classroom setting. Verbal exchanges

among students and instructor were the measurement of interaction. The results

concluded that on average, 73% of each class had student-to-student interaction, and over

65% of the students had student-to-teacher interaction. Other variables that the observer

recorded in this study were "size, arrangement, and level of the class, as well as the

primary participation pattern of the instructor: walk and comment, lecture, leave, sit and

wait" (p 519). According to Knirk (1979), "The learning environment must facilitate the

perception of desired (tension-reducing, pleasure-producing) stimuli and inhibit

undesired (confusing, unordered) stimuli" (p 23). Designers and facilities planners who

take into account relevant social science research on educational facilities will be

prepared to create effective learning environment for the users.

In summary, numerous researchers have found that the physical environment plays

an important role both in learning and teaching processes (Lackney, 1987). However,

there is little research on IT classrooms in higher education settings. There are many






31


relationships between the physical environment, pedagogical, and social variables yet to

be explored and understood (Lackney). The specific variables related to seating

arrangement in computer lab classrooms has yet to be recognized for its role in

supporting both learning and teaching in a university setting.














CHAPTER 4
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

The purpose of this investigation is to compare the effects of two types of computer

lab classrooms with different seating arrangements on both self-reported teaching style

and self-reported student learning. A multi-method approach was used to collect

information about the physical settings, the social settings, as well as the students' and

teachers' appraisal, or impression, of the two classroom arrangements. Gifford defines

(2002) appraisal as "liking, goodness, quality, and preference" (p 69) for a physical

setting. Three methods were used to collect data for this study. The first method for

evaluating the appropriate physical qualities of the rooms included a Computerized

Classroom Environment Inventory (CCEI) (Zandvliet and Straker, 2001) and an

examination of the spatial arrangement using an isovist analysis of the visual field from

each seat in the two classrooms. The second method for observing the social setting of

the classrooms included participant observations of student-to-student interaction,

student-to-teacher interaction, and on-task student behavior during class sessions. The

third method for appraising the social setting involved a survey of the users' perception

of the qualities of the classroom setting and a self-report about their classroom learning

experiences. A description follows of the research setting, the respondents, and the study

instruments.

Research Setting

This study was conducted on the University of Florida campus in two different

computer lab classrooms in two separate buildings. One undergraduate research methods









course in the Sociology Department and one undergraduate research methods course in

the Criminology Department were selected for this study because a large number of

sections of these courses are held each semester in computer lab classrooms. The study

concentrated in four sections: two of the sections (Methods of Social Research) were held

in a conventional straight row computer lab-Weil Hall 410 (Classroom A), while the

other two sections (Research Methods in Criminology) were held in a computer lab

arranged in pods-CSE E211 (Classroom B). The computer lab classrooms in both

settings provide each individual student with a desktop IBM computer and flat-screen

monitors. The material selections of ceiling, carpet, and wall color are identical within

the two different classrooms. All of the computer lab classrooms have general

fluorescent lighting fixtures. In addition, Classroom A has some natural lighting from

windows on one wall. In this lab, the shades are almost always closed to avoid glare on

the computer screens and the color of the shades blend with the neutral wall color.

Classroom B had general fluorescent lighting for the classroom as well as task lighting at

the instructor's podium, lighting for the chalkboard, and direct lighting for the projection

screen. The chairs in Classroom A and B were dissimilar. The chairs in Classroom A

were a collection of stationary chairs as well as many different chairs on rolling casters,

but lacked adjustable height and back support. All of the chairs in Classroom B were

adjustable and on rolling casters with back support.

The major difference in the two classrooms are the workstations and seating

arrangements. Classroom A (approximately 700 square feet) has a conventional straight

row seating arrangement with a total of nine rows. Each row contains three computers

for a total of 27 computers shown in figure 4-1A. Classroom A is configured in straight









rows with three workstations per row separated by a center aisle. The teacher's lectern is

located in the front of the classroom near one doorway. The two entrances are located on

the south side of Classroom A. The second computer lab classroom, Classroom B

(approximately 750 square feet) shown in figure 4-1B, is configured as a pod seating

arrangement. Classroom B has seven pods with a total of 28 computer workstations. The

teacher stands at the podium located along the wall with the projection screen.

Classroom B had two entrances located opposite the wall with the projection screen.


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A B
Figure 4-1. CIRCA classroom floor plan. A) Weil Hall 410 (Classroom A). B) CSE
E211 (Classroom B).

During class sessions, the pods seat four students at each station shown in figure 4-1B.

The furniture manufacturer, Spectrum Industries Inc., designed the pods for

cooperative learning situations using computers. According to McCallister (2003), the

University of Florida Assistant Director of the Office of Academic Technology, the pod

arrangement facilitates flexibility in teaching style and the collaboration of students at the

computers. The renovated computer labs are labeled as "Collaborative Classrooms"

because the arrangement allows more than one student to sit at a computer and to work

with other students collaboratively (CIRCA: Computer Classrooms, 2003). According to

McCallister (2003), there is no research to support the connection between workstation









and seating arrangement and collaborative learning, nor is there any research to support

the claims that a "Collaborative Classroom" design facilitates a specific teaching style.

Respondents

The University of Florida undergraduate fall semester (2003) courses, scheduled to

be taught in computer labs, were examined to find classes that fit the model of "learning

by doing." Therefore, the study respondents selected represent a convenience sample that

allowed for comparisons based on seating arrangement. Four sections of Methods of

Research were finally selected based upon the Undergraduate Catalog Course

Descriptions, 2003. Two were offered by the Sociology Department and two were

offered by the Criminology Department. Both of these courses consist of a lecture

session that meets three times a week as well as a computer lab session that meets once a

week. According to the Boyer Commission Report (2003: 1), "at many universities,

computer networks and wired classrooms are used to bring recent research findings and

methods directly into the classroom." In the computer lab session, the students are taught

how to use Statistical Packages for the Social Sciences (SPSS) to aid learning the

scientific method in social science research. The Research Methods in Criminology

course also focuses on scientific methods, research design and data analysis. They also

used SPSS and other statistical programs. Ultimately, the students apply the knowledge

they acquired in the lecture to the exercises or demonstrations they perform in the

computer lab. This study focused on the computer assisted lab sections of these methods

courses. The lecture portions of these courses were not included in this study.

Four different sections of the two courses, each taught by a different teacher, were

included in both observations and surveys. As stated before, two sections were held in a

straight row configured classroom-Classroom A (Methods of Social Research), and two









sections were conducted in a pod-configured classroom-Classroom B (Research

Methods in Criminology). There were a total of 5 teachers that participated in this study.

Although there were only two sections of Classroom A observed and surveyed, three

teachers taught students in Classroom A. One of the sections had two teachers-a

teacher and a graduate teaching assistant. The two sections taught in Classroom B each

had graduate teaching assistants. All five teachers had undergraduate teaching assistants

who either stood at the back of the classroom or walked around the classroom to help

assist the students. A total number of 30 students were observed and surveyed in the

straight row computer lab and 42 students were observed and surveyed in the pod

computer labs (Table 4-1).

Table 4-1. Number of students and teachers in each classroom.

Classroom Number of Students Number of Teachers
30
A-Straight Row (2 sections) 3
42
B-Pod (2 sections) 2

Total 72 5

Procedure

This exploratory study aimed to compare the social behavior and classroom

appraisals of the students and teachers in the two different computer lab seating

arrangements. Observations were made of student and teacher interactions. A survey

was administered to students and teachers at the end of the observation period. The study

took place over a six-week period. Once the project was approved by the University of

Florida Institutional Review Board, the research project was explained to each professor

and a consent form was presented and signed. In order to prevent any biases, the students









were not informed of the study until they were given a consent form when their survey

was administered.

This study was conducted across different days and times of the six-week period.

The two sections of the Methods of Social Research course included in this study were

taught in Classroom A, the straight row computer lab classroom. One section was taught

on every Tuesday from 3:00 pm to 3:50 pm, and the other was taught on every

Wednesday from 3:00 pm to 3:50 pm (Table 4-2). The second course was Research

Methods in Criminology, and it was taught in Classroom B, the pod arrangement. This

course was taught every Wednesday from 10:40 am to 11:45 am and every Wednesday

from 1:55 pm to 2:45 pm (Table 4-2).

Table 4-2. Classroom schedules.

Classroom Tuesday Wednesday

3:00pm to 3:50pm 3:00pm to 3:50pm
A Straight Row Social Research Social Research
10:40am to 11:45am
Criminology Research
1:55pm to 2:45pm
B Pod Criminology Research

Instruments

Before classes began, the Computerized Classroom Environment Inventory

(CCEI) (Zandvliet and Straker, 2001) was administered in each classroom setting. Many

physical variables were measured by the researcher using an inventory sheet (See

Appendix A) that included: Workspace Environment, Computer Environment, Visual

Environment, and Spatial Environment. The Computer Environment measures physical

characteristics such as the keyboard height, angle of the computer monitor, and computer

software displays (dark text on a light background). The Workspace Environment

consists of measurements that pertain to computer screen depth (front of screen to table









edge), adequate workspace for books, adjustable chairs, and screen height. The Visual

Environment contains the measurements of glare or reflection of light on computer

screens, overall light quality, and color contrast of work surfaces. The Spatial

Environment measures factors such as ease of movement among workstations, the

number of workstations provided, and aisle widths between desks. No acoustic

measurements were made, however observations and student and teacher appraisals of

each computer lab classroom provided the researcher with insight about acoustic quality

within each computer lab classroom based on the impressions of the students and

teachers.

The main purpose of the CCEI scale is to compare the existing physical

measurements of the technological learning environments with the guidelines provided

by the scale. Each environment in the inventory had five physical items for the

researcher to measure. Each item in the inventory had a possible score of 5, which

denotes a maximum score of 25 percent for each environment that was measured.

Therefore, each computer lab classroom had a possible score of 100 percent compliance

with the inventory scale. The researcher will also note the number of computers in each

classroom and make a diagram of the room layout.

In addition to the CCEI instrument, a measure was taken of the isovist fields.

According to Benedikt (1979),

An isovist is the set of all points visible from a given vantage point in a space and
with respect to an environment. The shape and size of an isovist is liable to change
with position. Numerical measures are proposed that quantify some salient size
and shape features. These measures in turn create a set of scalar isovist fields. Sets
of isovists and isovist fields form an alternative description of environments. The
method seems relevant to behavioral and perceptual studies in architecture,
especially in the areas of view control, privacy, defensibilityy', and in dynamic









complexity and spaciousness judgements. Isovists and isovist fields also shed light
on the meaning of prevalent architectural notions about space (p 47).


For example, in the diagram below (Figure 4-2) the circle represents a person

standing in a space with barriers such as walls and doorways. In this case, the person is

stationary and looking straight ahead at the wall in front of them. However, their

peripheral vision only allows them to see a certain extent past the wall and through the

doorway. Therefore, the lined areas are the extent to what the person can see in their

peripheral vision.










Figure 4-2. Isovist field of vision-plan view-adapted from Benedikt (1979).

The importance of an isovist analysis is to give the researcher and reader a

perspective of what the student's view is from their chosen seat, and what the teacher's

view is from their lectern. The results of the analysis will show which workstations have

restricted views of the teacher, the projection screen, or other students. The students'

adjustable computer screen will not be considered a barrier in the isovist analysis because

this study was more concerned with the amount of student-to-teacher active engagement

rather than the traditional teacher-centered education. The isovist measure provided a

visual evaluation code for each workstation on position in relationship to the projection

screen located at the front of the room (See Appendix B). Each seat in the two computer

lab classrooms was coded as (1) best view, (2) good view, (3) poor view, or (4) difficult

view.









During the observations, which are discussed next, the researcher used the

floorplan to note the adjustment and movement of computer screens by the students in

order to improve the view of the teacher and projection screen. Some monitor screens

were adjusted slightly while others were turned 90 degrees from the screen's original

position. This isovist analysis was used to compare the adjustments students make at

their seat in relationship to where they chose to sit and their responses to the physical and

social statements in the survey. For example, how often did a student sit in a seat that

required adjustments to the monitor screen by 90 degrees versus seats that have a best

view? The physical measures of the isovist analysis constitute one of the independent

variables in this study.

The researcher attended each computer class session and conducted observations

during class time over a period of six weeks. The students were told that the researcher

was conducting a study in the computer lab classroom, but they were not informed about

the specific details of the study. Two separate classes a week were held in Classrooms A

and B, and each class session was 50 minutes long. The first week of observations served

as a pilot study and allowed the researcher time to become familiar with the class and to

adjust all instruments. A behavioral mapping technique was employed as the

observational tool to record interactions among the students in the two different settings.

Behavioral mapping is often used to record and determine behavioral activities of people

and how they use their space (Bechtel, 1987). For example, the observer took a map or

floorplan of the room being observed and noted how many verbal interactions were made

with reference to where the person was sitting and with whom they interacted (See

Appendix C). The verbal interactions recorded usually involved students helping each









other with course instructions and students answering the instructor's questions or

requesting help with the program software. The purpose of behavior mapping was to

determine if one seating arrangement facilitates or promotes more interactions over

another. The observer also noted when students were off task. Off task activities

included surfing the web or chatting online with a friend.

A study conducted by Becker, Sommer, Bee, and Oxley (1973) contained a similar

method of participant observations. The purpose of their study was to determine if the

classroom participation was related to seating arrangement. During their observations,

they noted interactions such as verbal exchanges between students and student and

teacher interactions. In this current study, these behaviors will be noted as well as one-

on-one interaction between teacher and students. These behavioral observations were

used to determine if one classroom arrangement facilitates more interaction among the

teacher and students. Becker, Sommer, Bee, and Oxley concluded that the further the

distance from the instructor, the lower the grade; and the seat a student selects more often

reflects their personal goals. However, seating choice could also depend on how early or

late a student arrived to class. They also suggest that there is an "important difference

between advocating a particular kind of seating and demonstrating that it will produce

more participation, raise moral, or increase learning" (p 515). However, Becker,

Sommer, Bee, and Oxley did not conduct observations in computer lab classrooms

because computer lab classrooms did not exist at the time of their study. The increasing

use of information technology and computer lab classrooms in higher education facilities

of today necessitates the replication of their study using computer lab arrangements.









Finally, there was one self-report survey instrument for students (See Appendix D)

and one for instructors (See Appendix E). The student survey included basic

demographic information such as gender, age, ethnicity, grade point average (GPA), and

their midterm grade in the methods course. The teacher's survey included questions

pertaining to which course they taught, whether or not they had taught in a straight row

computer lab or pod arranged computer lab, and which computer lab arrangement they

preferred. Otherwise, the survey questions asked both the teachers and students about the

social environment pertaining to teaching style, the amount of group work facilitated in

the class, if the students help each other with assignments in class, and whether or not the

students are allowed to move about the classroom. These questions and statements were

adapted from Zandvliet and Straker's (2001) questionnaire, 'What is Happening in this

Class?' This researcher added additional questions about the students' and instructors'

appraisal with the physical aspects of the classroom. For example, both teacher and

student were asked to appraise their view of the projection screen, whether or not there

was adequate aisle width between desks, and whether or not the classroom facilitated

assistance and interaction among students and the teacher. Three types of questions were

used: (1) close-ended, (2) open-ended with short answer questions, and (3) statements

rated on a likert scale.














CHAPTER 5
FINDINGS

The purpose of this exploratory study was to compare the effects that two

differently arranged computer lab classrooms had on both self-reported and observed

teaching styles and self-reported student learning. The review of literature revealed that

there are a variety of recommendations about how a computer lab should be physically

arranged in order to maximize its potential for student learning and teaching style, and to

facilitate a variety of styles of teaching. However, there was no empirical research found

regarding the physical seating arrangements of a computer lab classroom and its effects

on teaching style and student learning. A multi-method research approach was used to

collect data about the physical settings, the social settings, and the students' and teachers'

appraisal of the two computer lab classroom's physical and social arrangements.

Evaluation of the Physical Setting

The computer lab classroom physical setting characteristics were evaluated using

measures from the Computerized Classroom Environment Inventory (CCEI), the isovist

analysis, and the students' self-report appraisals.

Computerized Classroom Environment Inventory (CCEI)

The CCEI developed by Zandvliet and Straker (2001) (Appendix A) has four

categories of physical variables that were measured with no students or teachers present.

These categories were the Workspace Environment, the Computer Environment, the

Visual Environment, and the Spatial Environment. The purpose of the CCEI scale was to

compare the existing physical measurements of the two differently arranged









technological learning environments with the guidelines provided by the scale. Each

environment in the inventory could acquire a maximum score of 25%. Therefore, each

computer lab classroom had a possible score of 100% compliance with the inventory

scale.

The Workspace Environment consisted of measurements that pertain to computer

screen depth, adequate workspace for books, adjustable chairs, and screen height. The

measurements of Classroom B (pods) met all guideline measurements. However, the

measurements of Classroom A (straight rows) did not meet all of the guideline

measurements. Classroom A failed to meet the guideline pertaining to adjustable chairs

on rolling casters with back support. Therefore, Classroom B scored 25%, while

Classroom A scored 20% in the Workspace Environment category.

The Computer Environment examined measurements related to the physical

characteristics such as the keyboard height, angle of the computer monitor, and computer

software displays (dark text on a light background). Both Classroom A and B met all

requirements except for the adjustable inclination of the viewing monitor screen.

Apparently, for security reasons, the monitors' angle of viewing was preset. Hence, both

classrooms scored 20% in this category.

The Visual Environment contains the measurements of glare or reflection of light

on computer screens, overall room light quality, and color contrast of work surfaces.

Once again, Classroom B scored 25% while Classroom A scored 20%. Classroom A

lacked good natural or indirect light quality. Classroom A had poor indirect fluorescent

lighting, which contributed to uneven lighting throughout the room.









The Spatial Environment measured factors such as ease of movement among

workstations, the number of workstations provided, and aisle widths between desks. In

this category both computer lab classrooms scored 25%.

In conclusion of the CCEI, Classroom B scored 95% overall, and Classroom A

scored 85% overall (Table 5-1). Classroom B had deficiencies in the Computer

Environment while Classroom A had deficiencies in the Workspace Environment,

Computer Environment, and the Visual Environment.

Table 5-1. CCEI scores of each computer lab classroom.
Workspace Computer Spatial Visual
Classroom Env Env Env Env Total
A- Straight 20% 20% 25% 20% 85%

B Pod 25% 20% 25% 25% 95%

Isovist Analysis

An isovist analysis of the visual field was conducted in each computer lab

classroom. The isovist analysis determined the teachers' restricted views of the students

and their workstation, as well as the students' restricted views of the teacher, projection

screen, and other students. Once again, the isovist analyses did not include the teachers'

view of the students' screens because each teacher had teaching assistants who were able

to view the students' screens while the teacher gave instructions. Also, this study was

more concerned with the amount of active student-to-teacher engagement rather than the

traditional teacher-centered education. The isovist measure provided a visual evaluation

code for each workstation in relationship to the student's view of the projection screen

located at the front of the rooms or the teacher's view of the seated students. Each seat in

the two computer lab classrooms was coded with 1-best view, 2-good view, 3-poor view,

or 4-difficult view.










The isovist analysis of Classroom A was quite different from Classroom B. For

example, from the students' viewpoint or the teachers' viewpoint, there were no poor or

difficult views. The reason for this is because all of the workstations face the front of the

classroom.

The isovist analysis from the students' viewpoint identifies all workstations with

either a best view or good view (Figure 5-1). The workstations with the good view were

all the seats in Row J, the seats to the far left of Rows I, H, and G, and the far left two

seats in Row F. All of the workstations in Row J were labeled as only good view seats

because they were the furthest from the teacher and projection screen. The seats to the

far left of Rows I, H, G, and F were labeled with just good views because of their acute

angle to the teacher and projection screen. As the layout indicates, the teacher's podium

is centered on the right side of the classroom, which creates an angled view for the

students seated on the left side of the classroom. Unlike some of the seats in Classroom

B, Classroom A had no poor or difficult student views.


2 2 2 u 2 2 2

| 2 I 1 1
LfCl~i~fl]S iL'LLaa I SJ
2 1 I 1 1

2 1 1 I I I I o

i 2 2 I

FrtefClnnBrom TnHic alr'l Pdonr I 10
Pnicatio a ScrtmI
Figure 5-1. Student isovist analysis of Classroom A.

The isovist analysis of the teacher's viewpoint was slightly different from the

analysis of the students' viewpoint. All of the workstations were labeled as best view










except for the three seats in Row F (Figure 5-2). Once again, this refers to the acute

angle of Row F in relation to the teacher's podium. Overall, the isovist analyses of

Classroom A indicated more positive views from the students' and teachers' perspectives

than those isovist analyses taken in Classroom B.



CIRCA B _t

Back co Caimro '1' |

1 1 1 I 1

g 1 I II IR I





I I I I"g R I I ai g I


2 2 2
r1rao a B 1 1
Fret ofCllma oom Tadhtr' Pdi i
Projedion Sem en
Wcil 42
Figure 5-2. Teacher isovist analysis of Classroom A.


The floor plan of Classroom B (Figure 5-3) reveals the codes that were given to

each workstation after the isovist analysis was conducted. Each pod had four

workstations that were labeled with one of the four possible views. The students at

workstations with a best view generally faced forward with a direct view of the teacher

and projection screen. Opposite the students with the best view were the students with

the difficult view, which were noted as having their backs to the teacher and projection

screen. Coincidentally, the isovist analysis from the teacher's viewpoint echoed the









codes of the students' viewpoints. Nonetheless, if the student can see the teacher's face,

then the teacher can see the student's face.










CIRCA Lab






TRabheei Potm




Figure 5-3. Isovist analysis of Classroom B.


Adjustment of Workstations

During observations, the researcher used each floor plan to note the adjustment and

movement of computer screens and chairs made by the students in order to improve their

view of the teacher and projection screen. In Classroom A, the monitor screens and

chairs were rarely adjusted. On the contrary, some monitor screens and chairs in

Classroom B were adjusted slightly while others were turned 90 degrees from the

screen's original position (Figure 5-4). The floor plan illustrates the adjustments students

made at certain workstations. The angle of the computer monitor and chair at each

workstation is indicated by the single black line.
































Figure 5-4. Adjustment of computer monitors in Classroom B.

Students' Appraisal of the Physical Characteristics

Students were asked if they liked their classroom arrangement. They were

provided with the answers of absolutely, to some extent, or not at all. None of the

students in either computer lab classroom answered 'not at all'. Most students in both

computer lab classrooms, 56% in Classroom A and 52% in Classroom B, absolutely liked

their computer lab classroom (Table 5-2). A number of students in each computer lab

classroom gave reasons to support why they liked or disliked the classroom.

Table 5-2. Students' classroom appraisal.
Classroom Absolutely To Some Extent Not At All
A Straight Row 56% 44% 0%
B Pod 52% 48% 0%
HI<1
































B-Pod ____52% 48% __0%









In Classroom A, there were 14 open-ended comments made about the classroom.

Forty-three percent of the comments were negative comments (Table 5-3). However, the

positive comments of the computer lab classroom received the most votes. For example,

numerous students liked the classroom because they could see the projection screen and

teacher, they had enough personal space, and they could interact with other students and

the teacher. The negative comments of the classroom were that it was too "clustered", it

was difficult to see the projection screen, and it was difficult to hear the teacher. The

survey responses reaffirm the deficiency in the Visual environment of the CCEI due to

the fact that many students in that classroom commented on how hard it was to see the

projection screen. In conclusion, 57% of the students made positive comments about

Classroom A.

Of the 17 different open-ended comments made by the students in Classroom B,

only 29% of the comments were dislikes of the classroom (Table 5-3). The most positive

comments about the computer lab classroom were that the students liked having their

own personal space as well as the comfortable spacing and feeling of openness.

However, there were two negative comments that quite a few students agreed upon.

Twelve percent of the students in Classroom B said that the desk space was cramped,

making it awkward for writing and taking notes. It is assumed that the students were

comparing the computer lab classroom to a lecture hall where students normally have a

sufficient worksurface for writing. Another negative comment of the classroom made by

7% of the students in Classroom B was that it was hard to see the projection screen.

Classroom B scored well with this variable because of its many forms of lighting. There

was general lighting for the classroom, task lighting at the instructor's podium, lighting









for the chalkboard, and direct lighting for the projection screen. Overall, 71% of the

students' comments were positive.

Table 5-3. Students' open-ended positive and negative comments.
Classroom Positive Comments Negative Comments
A- Straight 57% 43%
B-Pod 71% 29%

Teachers' Appraisal of the Physical Characteristics

The statements regarding the teachers' evaluation with the physical characteristics

of each computer lab classroom revealed strong contrasts among teachers in the same

computer lab classrooms. For example, two teachers in Classroom A stated that students

seldom have trouble viewing the projection screen, while the third teacher stated that

students always have trouble viewing the projection screen. The teachers in Classroom A

disagreed on other statements as well. For example, one teacher believed there was

always glare on the computer screens and the other two teachers believed there was never

glare on the computer screens.

The two teachers in Classroom B also opposed each other. One teacher believed

the seating arrangement seldom allowed for ease of movement and the other believed the

seating arrangement always allowed for ease of movement. However, that was not the

only statement where the two teachers in Classroom B opposed each other. One stated

that they never could see every student from the podium, while the other teacher said that

they could always see the students from the podium

The last few questions that the teachers answered were related to whether or not

they had taught in a straight row computer lab or a pod arranged computer lab and which

computer lab arrangement they preferred and why. Neither teacher in the Classroom B









had taught in a straight row computer lab, nor had any of the teachers in Classroom A

taught in a pod arranged computer lab classroom. However, two of the three teachers in

Classroom A preferred the pod arranged computer lab even though they had never taught

in one. When asked why they would or do prefer the pod arranged computer lab, their

response was because they could move around easily to help students and their ability to

see more computer screens.

One of the teachers in Classroom A had more to say about the classroom. This

teacher did not like the classroom for many reasons, and has also been requesting

Classroom B for at least two semesters. This teacher believes that glare on the computer

screens and the projection screen is a problem and the acoustics are "dismal." According

to this teacher, the dry erase board is difficult to see clearly from the back of the

classroom and a chalkboard would work better. However, this teacher believed there was

an advantage to the straight row arrangement. The advantage was that from the back of

the room he could see all of the computer screens and thus make sure the students were

following along with the tutorial. Yet, the teacher felt that the straight row arrangement

did not promote ease of circulation between aisles.

Teachers' and Students' Appraisal Comparisons

There were a few disagreements among teachers and students concerning the

physical characteristics of the classroom. Although the two teachers in Classroom B

thought the seating arrangement seldom facilitated guidance of the students' work, 71%

of the students in Classroom B thought that the seating arrangement often facilitated

guidance of their work. Another difference in perception between teachers and students

in Classroom B involved how frequently the students had trouble viewing the projection

screen. The two teachers believed students often or always had trouble viewing the









projection screen, while 90% of the students say they seldom had trouble viewing the

projection screen.

A variety of perceptions were found about Classroom A as well. Ninety percent

of the students said the seating arrangement often or always allowed for ease of

movement around the workstations, yet two of the three teachers believed the seating

arrangement seldom allowed for ease of movement. Another difference involved whether

or not the computer tables provided adequate workspace for writing. Two of the teachers

said the tables seldom provided adequate workspace, while 70% of the students believed

the tables often or always provided adequate workspace. Variations in these responses

indicate that what the teachers perceive about the students' environment is not always

what the students perceive about their environment.

Evaluation of the Social Setting

The social characteristics of the two different computer lab classrooms were

evaluated using a behavioral mapping observation tool. Verbal interactions and students'

off-task activities are organized as classroom observations. The student and teacher self-

reported appraisals concerning the social characteristics of the classroom are organized as

students' self-reported appraisals, and teachers' self-reported appraisals.

Classroom Observations

Students and teachers were observed by this researcher in both computer lab

classrooms A and B. Verbal interactions between students and between teacher and

student were recorded on the floor plan with reference to where the person was sitting

and with whom they interacted.

Off-task activities included students who were surfing the web or chatting online

with a friend. In Classroom B, there was an average of five off-task activities made per









class session. Classroom A had an average of eight off-task activities per class session.

However, no significant differences between each classrooms off-task activities were

found.

Verbal interactions recorded usually involved students helping each other with

course instructions and students answering the teacher's questions, or students requesting

help with the program software. The average number of student-to-student interactions

per class in Classroom A was eleven, while the average number in Classroom B was

eight. Therefore, both classrooms had a similar number of student-to-student interactions

per class session. However, the number of student-to-teacher interactions per class

session in Classroom B was more than twice those in Classroom A, yet there was no

significant difference found after performing a chi squared and t-test among each

computer lab classroom. Classroom A had an average often student-to-teacher

interactions per class session, while Classroom B had an average of twenty-four student-

to-teacher interactions per class session.

Students' Self-Reported Appraisals

Responses from a total of 72 students provided an understanding of how the

physical seating arrangement and workstation attributes of two computer lab classrooms

effected the students' perception of their own learning. Responses also noted the

students' appraisal with the overall classroom setting, as well as the social and physical

environments of their classroom. There were a total of 30 responses collected from

Classroom A, the straight row computer lab classroom. Classroom B had 42 responses.

Students' perception of teaching style performed. Students were asked how

often their teacher used one-on-one teaching, presentation or lecture, teamwork, or

discussion as a style of teaching. Seventy-eight percent of students in Classroom B stated









that the teacher often used the one-on-one teaching style, while only sixty percent of

students in Classroom A believed their teacher used the one-on-one teaching style.

Results of the two computer lab classrooms regarding the presentation style of teaching

were very similar. Eighty-eight percent of students in Classroom B and ninety percent of

students in Classroom A thought that their teacher often or always used the presentation

style of teaching. More than half of the students in each computer lab classroom also

stated that their teacher never or seldom used the discussion style of teaching or the

teamwork style of teaching.

A t-test comparing the students' perception of teachers using the one-on-one

teaching style in the two computer lab classrooms showed a significant difference

(p<.05). As seen in Table 5-4, the standard deviation indicates that there is a significant

difference in the frequency of the one-on-one teaching style performed with relation to

the computer lab classroom.

Table 5-4. T-test of students' perceptions of teaching style used.
One-on-One
Teaching Style N= Mean Standard Deviation

Classroom A 30 2.9 0.712

Classroom B 42 2.98 0.468

P=.02, P<.05


Students' perceptions of students helping each other. Students in both computer

lab classrooms were asked whether or not students helped each other in the class. A chi-

squared test comparing the two different computer lab classrooms showed a significant

difference (p<.05) in the students' answers (Table 5-5). Fifty-six percent of the students

in Classroom A thought that students often help each other, whereas fifty-four percent of

the students in Classroom B thought that students seldom help each other in class.









Table 5-5. Chi Squared of students' perceptions of students helping each other.
Students Help Each Other never seldom often always Total
Classroom A Count 0 8 17 5 N=30
% 0% 26.60% 56.60% 16.60%
Classroom B Count 1 23 14 4 N=42
% 2.30% 54.70% 33.30% 9.50%
Total 1 31 31 9 72

Students' perceptions of students working in groups. Students were asked how

often they worked in groups as an indicator of student collaboration in each computer lab

classroom. A t-test showed that there was a significant difference (p<.01) between the

perceived amount of group work in the two computer lab classrooms (Table 5-6). More

students in Classroom A believed that they never worked in groups when compared to the

students in Classroom B.

Table 5-6. T-test of students' perceptions of student group work.
Students Work In Groups N= Mean Standard Deviation
Classroom A 30 1.70 .702
Classroom B 42 2.07 .513
p=.002, p<.01

Students' perceptions of students getting distracted. When students in both

computer lab classrooms were asked how often they are distracted in class, a t-test

showed a significant difference (p<. 10) between the two computer lab classrooms (Table

5-7). Twice as many students in Classroom B than Classroom A believed they were

seldom distracted.

Table 5-7. T-test of students' perceptions of student distraction.
Students Help Each Other N= Mean Standard Deviation
Classroom A 30 2.9 0.662
Classroom B 42 2.5 0.707
p=.07, p<.10

Students' perceptions of mid-term grades. Although, there were no significant

differences between the two computer lab classrooms students' mid-term grades, the









criminology students in Classroom B appeared to have grades that were generally higher

with a range between A/A- to C+/C. However, the sociology students in Classroom A

had an even spread of grades from A/A- to D or below.

Teachers' Appraisal of Social Setting

The responses from the teachers' surveys were analyzed qualitatively because there

were only 5 teachers surveyed. There were 2 teachers surveyed in Classroom B and 3

teachers surveyed in Classroom A.

The teachers' responses to the teaching style they performed varied by teacher.

However, all five teachers surveyed thought that they often used the one-on-one teaching

style. All teachers also believed they often or always used the presentation style of

teaching. According to the teachers, the teamwork teaching style was seldom or never

performed in either computer lab classroom. However, the students in Classroom B

believed that their teachers did use the teamwork style of teaching. The last teaching

style, discussion, had various responses. One teacher in Classroom A believed the

discussion teaching style was performed often, while the other two teachers in Classroom

A believed the discussion teaching style was seldom and never performed by them. The

two teachers in Classroom B believed they seldom and never performed the discussion

style of teaching.

The teacher responses concerning their perception about the social characteristics

of their classrooms varied across statements. Teachers in both styles of computer lab

classrooms did agree that the students often or always ask the teacher questions and

seldom or never give their opinions during class. When asked how often the students

help each other during class, one teacher in Classroom A believed students seldom help









each other while the other four teachers (2 from Classroom A and 2 from Classroom B)

believed that students often help each other during class.

The three teachers in Classroom A stated that students seldom or never work in

groups, while one teacher in Classroom B stated that students seldom worked in groups

and the other stated that students often worked in groups. Two of the teachers in

Classroom A believed that they often decided how much talking and movement was

allowed. However, the third teacher in Classroom A, and the two teachers in Classroom

B believed that they seldom decided how much talking and movement was allowed in

their class.

The teachers were oddly divided when they were asked how often the students

work at their own pace. Two teachers in Classroom A and one teacher in Classroom B

stated that students seldom worked at their own pace. This left one teacher in Classroom

A and one in Classroom B that both believed students always work at their own pace.

The teachers were also asked if the seating arrangement facilitated their preferred

style of teaching (Table 5-8). The teachers in Classroom B responded with yes and the

teachers in Classroom A responded with no. However, when the teachers in Classroom

A were asked if the seating arrangement met their needs, one teacher stated seldom while

the other two teachers stated often (Table 5-8). Both teachers in Classroom B believed

that their computer lab classroom arrangement met their needs. When the teachers were

asked how they perceived student learning, all five teachers stated that their students

'learned by doing' rather than learning passively (Table 5-8).









Table 5-8. Summary of teachers' appraisals of seating arrangements.
Variable A Straight B Pod
Seating Arrangement Facilitates Style of
Teaching no yes

Seating Arrangement Meets the Teachers' Needs 1-no 2-yes yes
'Learn by 'Learn by
Teachers' Perception of Student Learning Doing' Doing'

Teachers' and Students' Appraisal Comparisons

There was a difference in perception found among teachers and students about the

frequency of how often students worked at their own pace. Sixty-six percent of the

students in Classroom B believed they often work at their own pace. However, one of the

two teachers stated that students seldom work at their own pace.

Teachers and students in Classroom A disagreed about student distraction during

class. Seventy-seven percent of the students said they seldom or never get distracted

during class. On the contrary, two of the three teachers believed the students often get

distracted.

Disagreement was found among teacher and student survey responses on three

social characteristic statements (Table 5-9). First, 70% of the students in Classroom A

believed that the teacher never or seldom decides how much movement and talking is

allowed in theclassroom, whereas two of the three teachers in the Classroom B believed

that they often decided how much movement and talking is allowed in the classroom.

Table 5-9. Teacher and student response comparisons.
Variable Teachers Students

Students Get Distracted (A-Straight) 2 of 3 say often 77% say seldom
1 always
Students Work at Own Pace (B-Pod) 1 seldom 66% say often









In summary, the evaluation of Classroom A's physical setting revealed more

deficiencies in the Workspace, Computer, and Visual Environments than in Classroom B.

However, more than half of the students in each computer lab classroom absolutely liked

their classroom aside from the few negative comments. The evaluation of the social

setting reported more student-to-teacher interaction in Classroom B and more off-task

activities in Classroom A. It was determined that the teaching style most often used in

both classes was the presentation and one-on-one styles. The evaluation of the students'

perception of the social setting also revealed more students helping each other in

Classroom A, more group work in Classroom B, and more student distraction in

Classroom A. Overall, the students' and teachers' appraisal of the social setting was

positive. The following chapter discusses the effect that the physical and social settings

have on each other as well as their relation to other previous studies.














CHAPTER 6
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS

Advances in technological learning environments are pressuring university

facilities planners to consider designing new classrooms or to renovate existing ones to

facilitate new methods of teaching and styles of learning using computers. Many of these

changes are done without addressing the needs of the users. Nonetheless, research is

beginning to indicate that computer lab classrooms should be designed specifically to

support and enhance particular teaching styles and learning processes. The shift from

passive learning to active learning requires students to physically and mentally be active,

and therefore a need for greater movement and flexibility is required (Cornell, 2003). In

addition, it is important that the physical setting is designed to facilitate the needs of the

user and the activities of the social setting in order to enhance the learning objectives and

teaching process.

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of two types of computer lab

classrooms with different seating arrangements on both teaching style and student

learning. Information about the physical setting was collected using a Computerized

Classroom Environment Inventory (CCEI) (Zandvliet and Straker, 2001) and an isovist

analysis of the visual field. Information about the social setting and the students' and

teachers' appraisal was collected from a student and a teacher survey of satisfaction with

the physical characteristics and social characteristics of each computer lab classroom.

Participants in this study included seventy-two undergraduate students and their five

teachers.









This study was conducted on the University of Florida campus in two different

computer lab classrooms. Two sections of a research methods course in the Sociology

department were held in Classroom A-straight row arrangement, and two sections of a

research methods course in the Criminology department were held in Classroom B- pod

arrangement. The two sections of Classroom A provided the study with a sample of

thirty students and three teachers-one section had a professor and a graduate teaching

assistant. Two of the three teachers shared one section of the research methods course.

Classroom B had a sample of forty-two students and two graduate teaching assistants.

Physical Setting Observations and Appraisals

Evaluation of the physical setting revealed that both types of computer lab

classrooms contained deficiencies. Classroom A had deficiencies in the Workspace,

Computer, and Visual environments. Classroom B revealed a deficiency in the Computer

environment.

Isovist analyses of student computer screen adjustments and views in both settings

were in agreement with the researcher's own coding of each workstation screen

adjustment and views of classroom activity.

Student survey responses showed significant differences concerning satisfaction

with the physical setting. There were different opinions expressed among the teachers

about whether or not the computer lab classroom seating arrangement facilitated their

style of teaching. A detailed explanation of study findings follows.

CCEI Observations

Classroom A failed to meet the guideline measurements of the CCEI in three

categories. Classroom A was deficient in the Workspace environment because the chairs

were a collection of stationary chairs as well as many different styles of chairs on rolling









casters, but without adjustable height and back support. Both Classrooms A and B were

deficient in the Computer environment for the same reason-the adjustable angle of

inclination of the monitor screens were preset. Classroom A was deficient in the Visual

environment because it had poor indirect fluorescent lighting. Researchers (Swanquist,

1998; and Cornell, 2003) believe that deficiencies such as these contribute to muscle

fatigue and drowsiness resulting in short attention span and lack of active engagement.

Isovist Analysis Compared With Observations

During observations, the researcher noted how the students adjusted their computer

screens and chairs. These computer screen and chair adjustments were compared to the

predetermined codes from the isovist analyses. When the degree of computer screen and

chair adjustments made by the students were compared to the researcher's codes of each

workstation isovist view, the degree of adjustment coincided with the researcher's

assigned codes. Therefore, it seems that the isovist analysis is a useful tool for designers

to use for evaluating the quality of the quality of the views and the classroom activities.

Isovist analysis allows the designer to consider the important views from the end users'

perspective.

Student and Teacher Self-Reported Appraisals

According to all of the teachers, the style of teaching that they most often

performed was the one-on-one and presentation styles of teaching. Teachers' responses

showed that the seating arrangement in Classroom B facilitated the teachers' preferred

style of teaching. The teachers in Classroom A felt that the seating arrangement met their

needs. Yet, when the teachers in Classroom A were asked if they preferred a straight row

arrangement versus a pod arrangement, two of the three teachers preferred the pod

arrangement even though they had never taught in one before. Their reasons for









choosing the pod arrangement were the ease of movement throughout the room and their

ability to see more computer screens.

Students' preferneces for their computer lab classroom revealed that more than half

of the students in each computer lab classroom absolutely liked their classroom.

However, architects, designers, and facility planners should also acknowledge the

students' and teachers' suggestions. For example, students in both Classrooms A and B

felt that they were "too clustered." If architects, designers, and facility planners abide by

the essential design elements suggested by Clabaugh et al. (1996), then they should

provide each student with 20 square feet per student and at least 150 square inches of

writing surface. Both Classroom A and B provided each student with at least 20 square

feet. However, Classroom A only provided the students with approximately 90 square

inches of writing surface, while Classroom B provided students with approximately 150

square inches of writing surface. Clabaugh et al. also suggests that teachers should be

provided with an 18 by 24 inch table surface or podium along with a stool or chair.

Another negative comment in both Classroom A and B concerned the students'

view of the projection screen and marker board-14% of students in Classroom A and

7% of students in Classroom B. Negative comments about Classroom A may be

attributed to the poor lighting as noted in the CCEI. Negative comments about difficulty

viewing the projection screen in Classroom B may be attributed to the seating position of

each individual student. For example, although the pod workstations are flexible, at least

one or two students at each pod had to adjust their monitor screens and chairs in order to

view the projection screen. Even with the monitor screen and chair adjustments, the

students were still angled toward the projection screen. According to Clabaugh et al.









(1996), if the lights are dimmed, there must be at least 5 to 10 footcandles at the student

worksurface, plus 10 to 15 lumens should be distributed across the chalkboard or marker

board. These recommendations were not followed in the design of Classroom A.

Social Setting Observations and Appraisals

Observations and responses from the teachers' and students' survey provided

insight about the social setting in the two different computer lab classrooms. Analysis of

these observations revealed that one computer lab classroom had more off-task activities

per class session, and one computer lab classroom had more student-to-teacher verbal

interactions per class session. The survey responses of students in Classrooms A and B

revealed significant differences between the social settings of the two different computer

lab classrooms. These differences are discussed below under the categories of

observations of the social setting, and students' and teachers' appraisals.

Observations

Although a t-test showed that there was no significant difference between off-task

activities or student-to-teacher verbal interactions in the two different computer lab

classrooms, observations suggest a trend in another direction (Table 6-1). Classroom A

had 63% more off-task activities per class session than Classroom B. Therefore,

Classroom A appeared to be teacher-centered where the students are passive learners and

are less actively engaged than students in Classroom B. The less active students become

distracted and participate in off-task activities. Observations also noted that the majority

of the students who participated in off-task activities sat in the back of the computer lab

classroom. Additionally, student-to-teacher verbal interaction occurred more in

Classroom B by 41%. Hence, Classroom B appeared to be more conducive of student-to-

teacher interactions and more conducive of the teacher carrying out the role of the









facilitator or coach. The increased amount of student-to-teacher verbal interaction

supports Cornell's (2003) claim that classrooms that emphasize collaboration or

interaction, computer use, and social learning show potential for replacing the passive

model of learning. Therefore, in this study Classroom A seems to be teacher-centered

and Classroom B seems to be student-centered.

Students' Appraisals of Classrooms

A t-test comparing the students' perception of teachers using the one-on-one

teaching style in the two computer lab classrooms showed a significant difference

(p<.05). The significance suggests that the teacher plays the role of facilitator, therefore

creating a more active environment. This is also believed to enhance the students'

creative thinking skills. Therefore, the physical setting of Classroom B encourages an

active, student-centered, learning environment.

There was significant evidence (p<.05) from the chi-squared test that the frequency

of students helping each other was dependent on the style of computer lab classroom.

Over half of the students in Classroom A thought that students often help each other.

Fifty-four percent of the students in Classroom B, the "collaborative" computer lab,

thought that students seldom help each other in class. This would be the opposite of what

someone may expect from a "collaborative" classroom. Researchers (Cohen, 1997;

Enghagen, 1997; and Kettinger, 1991) who believe that technology helps to motivate

students and retain their attention should also recognize the concurrent impact of the

physical characteristics of the room. If the technology and the physical design

complement each other, then the learning environment will encourage group work,

cooperation among students, and active learning (Goddard, 2002). Therefore, the

learning environment can be designed to support student-centered learning skills or









teacher-centered learning. However, another reason why students in Classroom A

believe that they help each other more often could be due to the fact that they were seated

closer together or more students in Classroom A than Classroom B were off-task. Hence,

more students needed help because they were distracted and missed the teacher's

instructions.

A t-test showed that there was a significant difference (p<.01) between the

perceived amount of group work in the two computer lab classrooms. Students in

Classroom B more often worked in groups than students in Classroom A. Perhaps the

ergonomic comfort and flexible workstations facilitated a more active learning

environment.

A t-test showed that the frequency of students being distracted was significantly

different (p<.01) in the two computer lab classrooms. Twenty percent of the students in

Classroom A were often distracted compared to the four percent in Classroom B. This

significant evidence also supports the higher frequency of off-task activities in Classroom

A. When students get distracted or are not actively engaged, they surf the web or chat

online (Carlson, 2002).

Limitations and Assumptions

Several factors, no doubt, impacted the results of this exploratory study. First, the

teachers varied by course. The two teachers who taught the Criminology research

methods course in Classroom B were both teaching assistants. Further, neither one had

taught in a straight row computer lab classroom before. They had no experience with the

two types of classrooms, thus there was little grounds for their preference of one type of

classroom over the other. Of the remaining three teachers who taught the Sociology

research methods course, two were teaching assistants and one was a professor.









Although this odd number of teachers provided the study with more opinions about the

classroom setting, it also impacted the various teacher appraisals of Classroom A. In

other words, each teacher had his or her own perception of the social and physical setting

and their impressions were often inconsistent. In the future, it would be wise to use one

teacher that instructed multiple computer lab sections, and possibly in differently

arranged computer lab classrooms.

Second, the comparison of two different courses in two different computer lab

classrooms may have impacted the findings. Although both courses taught the principles

of research methods, the difference in overall subject matter, criminology or sociology,

may have had an effect on student grades. The level of difficulty in each subject matter

plays a significant role when comparing the student grades in each class. It could also be

the native ability of students in one major or another.

Third, this study was conducted at the University of Florida. This campus has a

limited number of computer lab classrooms as well as a limited number of seating

arrangements for their computer lab classrooms. Thus, significant findings are limited to

the responses of this campus only-or just one case study.

Suggestions for Further Research

Further exploration of both the social and physical settings in the computer lab

classroom and their effect on teaching style and student learning needs to be conducted

before definitive conclusions can be drawn concerning this subject. Nonetheless, there

are several areas that warrant further examination.

Further studies should compare classroom guidelines, such as those provided by

Clabaugh et al. (2002), to the items listed in each category of the CCEI. For example,

some students commented about the lack of writing surface, and although the CCEI lists









that adequate workspace should be provided for books, it does not list a numerical

amount of space. Nonetheless, Clabaugh et al. (2002), Niemeyer (2003), and Smarter

College Classrooms (2001) have all stated that students should have at least 150 square

inches of workspace even at a computer workstation. Other guidelines concerning the

Workspace, Computer, Visual, and Spatial environments should also be examined and

added to the CCEI if necessary. For example, the acoustics of each computer lab

classroom should be measured or at least noted. Often, when all of the computers are on

and running they can create a noisy setting along with heating, ventilation, and air

conditioning (HVAC) systems. Various comments made by students on this campus

have provided anecdotal evidence that some of the computer lab classrooms on the

University of Florida's campus are very noisy and distracting.

Further studies should minimize the differences between courses and teachers.

Although the two courses were teaching the same computer programs as well as the same

basic methods of research, the difference in course subject can have an effect on the

classroom setting. The level of work each course requires may vary. Therefore, one

class may be harder than the other and may require more dedication from the students. It

would be ideal to test many sections of one course in different computer lab classroom

arrangements rather than different courses in different computer lab classrooms.

It is recommended that in future studies, further consideration should be

acknowledged when determining the number of teachers and the subject they teach. If a

number of teachers are involved in the study, then there will be a variety of perceptions

concluded about the classroom setting. However, it is recommended that the teachers

teach the same course only in different computer lab classrooms. Therefore, the









variability of the course will be somewhat limited because the teachers are teaching the

same material.

Future studies should consider lengthening the data collection phase. Lengthening

the study to a full year, or two semesters, would increase the sample size. If two

semesters were included, the researcher could arrange for all of the sections in one

semester to be conducted in a pod arranged computer lab classroom, and the second

semester sections could be taught in a straight row computer lab classroom. This would

allow the researcher to use the same course continuously, yet in two different labs. By

lengthening the study, the researcher could gather mid-term and end of semester grades.

Hence, there would be fewer variables to consider.

The survey questions should be examined in future studies. Researchers may

decide to include questions about the lecture hall classroom in order to compare its

appraisal with the computer lab classroom's appraisal. The researcher may also consider

a formal interview with the teacher in order to determine what effect the computer lab

classroom or a lecture hall may have on their appraisal of the classroom.

Suggestions for Architects, Designers, and Facility Planners

The validity of this study persuades us to consider the users of the learning

environment. The teachers and students are the people who spend the most amount of

time in these learning environments, not the architects, designers, and facility planners.

Therefore, the needs of the users must be taken into consideration in the programming

and pre-design phases. A survey of the users' needs and preferences could be

administered to the students and faculty of the learning environment. The programming

phase of a design project may also include a simulation. This would allow architects,

designers, or facility planners to observe behaviors of students and faculty and then









determine whether or not the preferred learning and teaching styles are facilitated within

the simulated learning environment. Nonetheless, architects, designers, and facility

planners must acknowledge the importance of including the users in the programming

phase if they intend on creating a positive learning environment.

Conclusion

Findings in this exploratory study support the assumption that there are connections

between the physical and social settings and their effect on student learning, teaching

style, and the overall appraisal of the computer lab classroom. Architects, designers, and

facility planners should first identify users' preferred activities and aspirations for the

social setting. Once the social setting is addressed, the physical setting can be designed

to support and enhance the intended social activities. Therefore, this researcher argues

that technology is only one environment shaper of school design (Spurgeon, 1998). This

study has shown that there are significant transactions between both a physical setting

that supports technology and the social setting or the classroom. The social setting and

the physical setting characteristics are intertwined and can be mutually supporting of

human intention. For example, comfortable chairs, good views, and adequate

workspaces may encourage students to pay attention and participate in learning activities.

This study is intended to provide architects, designers, facility planners, and

researchers with a beginning examination of the effects that different computer lab

seating arrangements can have on the physical and social settings of the classroom. More

effort is needed in the pre-design phase to provide the users with their needs in particular

learning environments. One way to determine the users' needs would be to setup

simulations to see which designs work, or survey the users who spend the most time in

the settings. Often, University design projects are given low budgets and therefore, do






72


not have the money or time for the pre-design phase. However, this study persuades us to

believe that the physical environment supports and has an effect on the social setting,

which in the end effects student learning, teaching style, and student and teacher

appraisal of the classroom.















APPENDIX A
COMPUTER CLASSROOM ENVIRONMENT INVENTORY (CCEI)

Location: Class size: No. of computers:

For each statement below, the observer will tick each condition noted to be true i i/h
actual measures recorded on the attached worksheets (see reverse). Where multiple
criteria exist, all must be true for the statement to be scored true. The maximum score for
each domain total below is five.

Tick if true:

Workspace environment

Adequate workspace exists for the placement of notebooks and other resources
Screen depth (front of screen to table edge) located within the range of 500-750
mm
Chair has adjustable height and back support and is set on moveable (rolling)
castors
Keyboard height (floor to home row) is adjustable within a min. range of 700-
850 mm
Screen height (screen centre above floor) is adjustable within a range of 900-
1150 mm
Total score:


Computer environment

Inclination of the viewing monitor is adjustable (within 880 1050 from the
horizontal)
Keyboard height (home row to desk level) is adjustable within a range of 100-
260 mm
Operating system utilizes a graphical interface with icons rather than teletype
inputs
System uses a colour display monitor with adjustable brightness and contrast
controls
Computer software uses a reverse display (dark text on a light or neutral
background)
Total score:









Visual environment
Glare controlled through the use of screens, indirect lighting or equipment
positioning
Good light quality with natural or indirect lighting sources (full spectrum
preferred)
Excessive contrast of work surfaces are controlled through the use of neutral
finishes
Illumination levels (measured on the horizontal plane ) fall in the range of 500-
750 lux
Luminance of surrounding surfaces is maintained within 10-100% of
illumination
Total score:


Spatial environment

Adequate space exists for easy movement among workstations, resources and
exits
The number of students in the classroom does not normally exceed thirty
students
Resource areas are of sufficient size to display or store necessary learning
materials
Overall finishing of room walls, flooring etc. is in light coloured or neutral tones
The aisle width between desks or benches falls within the desire range of 152-
183 cms
Total score:












APPENDIX B
ISOVIST ANALYSIS
The isovist analysis will determine the teachers' restricted views of students and
their workstations, as well as, the students' restricted views of the teacher, projection
screen, and other students. The first three floorplans below give an isovist analysis from
the teacher's point of view. The next three floorplans give an isovist analysis from the
student's point of view. The workstations are coded according to the difficulty of view.


CSE E211


Students' View


CIRCA Lab


3 Ir E211
C~SE E2i1


1 Best View
2 Good View
3 Poor View
4 Difficult View


~...


U

i e


il~br










WEIL HALL 410


Students' View


CIRCA DEkr


Back of Clinmuom


I 2 I I
c
.3 IrB r^wuE I
if 1E3.haLtt&J


2 2 2


1 1 1
RoWI Ei I I I


1 2 1 1 11
_ Row L _'
bu n ma gWa
Wdil 4M
2 l 1 1 1


2 2 I


Frout of ClasrooU m Tracier' Podium


Prjcetioa Sctrec


__I


Wdl 4t1


1 Best View
2 Good View
3 Poor View
4 Difficult View


Eutr;ce
-1







CSE E211


Teacher's View


iapn

Ii. -


.4 ^Y



4S3





D62
jtISI


CIRCA Lab


TcathcF Podium


WEAtrmce
cSE E2II


1 Best View
2 Good View
3 Poor View
4 Difficult View










WEIL HALL 410


Teacher's View


CIRCA Velk


I I I m li3
I MA W-
J Fq.I IP.1 h I --I


I l l 1 1
1 I I I I I
mm I nRow H I
Wcil 410
1 1 1 1 1 1


2 2 2


Front of Clauroom Tiacher'm Podim


Prijotion Scric


WIl 4M2


1 Best View
2 Good View
3 Poor View
4 Difficult View


Entr-cc

<-1


-j















APPENDIX C
BEHAVIORAL MAPPING

The behavioral mapping instrument will include a map or floorplan of each room
being observed and charts to record verbal interactions. The charts display the seating
position of the student and allow for tallies to be made of the amount of verbal
interactions the student made. One chart is for student-to-student interactions and the
other chart is for student-to-teacher interactions. The map of the room will permits notes
to be made about whether the students interacted with someone next to them or across
from them. The map will also display movement patterns of the teacher if there are any
at all.








CSE E211


Behavioral Mapping


/ vacant seat
X off task
I student-to-student interaction
- student-to-teacher interaction


~44*
I t 1J4
, 0i




Tac Er' rmd
Tctce udu


rr
3St3

5".o

flflcpf


I CCA Lc b
CIRCA Lab


trE E2nI
CSE E1231


t~3~










Weil Hall 410


Behavioral Mapping



/ vacant seat
X off task
I student-to-student interaction
- student-to-teacher interaction


CIRCA NEkt


Back of OnCT roua


Lfiat] E-m


ECiIEjZ1


|r IWDI -41

IF" l "I I aZ1


Teaubr' Podium
Prjection Scra c


Entr0cc
-d.-


110


wdI40
















APPENDIX D
CLASSROOM APPRAISAL SURVEY: STUDENT

(Student CSE E211)
This survey contains statements and questions about the physical characteristics of this class and the
activities that take place in this class. There are no right or wrong answers. Some statements and questions
may be similar. Please answer all of the questions.


1. Gender (circle one)

2. Race (circle one)

3. Major (circle one)

4. Age

5. Current College GPA


male


female


African American Caucasian Hispanic Asian Other


Sociology


Criminology


Other


6. Where do you usually sit in this classroom? (please circle the row and seat)

Pod P Q R S T U V

Seat 1 2 3 4


//trmsw


P o


vs ^


r 3 E3

9 bo


r?
iRBS

B~


*V


CIRCA Lab


CSzE 211











Classroom Appraisal Survey

(Student Weil 410)
This survey contains statements and questions about the physical characteristics of this class and the
activities that take place in this class. There are no right or wrong answers. Some statements and questions
may be similar. Please answer all of the questions.


1. Gender (circle one)

2. Race (circle one)
Other

3. Major (circle one)

4. Age

5. Current College GPA


male


African American


Sociology


female


Caucasian Hispanic Asian


Criminology


Other


6. Where do you usually sit in this classroom? (please circle the row and seat)

Row F G H I J

Seat 1 2 3 4 5 6


CIRCA Dpa


6 J5 M4 J3 3 J11


. E: ]-- [n is [I



iH6 H5 H H2


06 G5 4 03 02 1GI




Frrefft of Cla8aM.,
F6 F: F I Sc

TDbCMr'i Pdlm a s


Entra1c



41t


Wc1 411







Wri1412







84



7. How often do you sit here?
a. 100%
b. 75%
c. 50%
d. 25%
e. occasionally
f. different seat each time

Please answer the following statements concerning the Never Seldom Often Always
social environment in this classroom.

8. How often do you feel that the teacher uses the following styles of teaching:
a. one on one interaction with students 1 2 3 4
b. presentation (lecture, tutorials, drill and practice) 1 2 3 4
c. teamwork (collaboration, group work) 1 2 3 4
d. discussion (seminar) 1 2 3 4
9. Students help each other in this class. 1 2 3 4
10. Students work in groups in this class. 1 2 3 4
11. Students give their opinions during class discussions. 1 2 3 4
12. Students ask the teachers questions. 1 2 3 4
13. The teacher decides how much movement and talk is allowed. 1 2 3 4
14. Students work at their own pace. 1 2 3 4
15. Students get distracted during class. 1 2 3 4


Please answer the following statements concerning the Never Seldom Often Always
physical environment in this classroom.

16. The seating arrangement facilitates teacher's assistance during class. 1 2 3 4
17. The seating arrangement facilitates class related interaction among 1 2 3 4
the students during class.
18. The seating arrangement allows for ease of movement 1 2 3 4
19. I have trouble viewing the projection screen at the front of the 1 2 3 4
room during demonstrations.
20. The computer tables provide adequate workspace for me to write. 1 2 3 4
21. I can see every student in the class and the teacher from my seat. 1 2 3 4
22. There is adequate aisle width between the desks. 1 2 3 4
23. There is glare on the computer screens. 1 2 3 4
24. Does the computer lab classroom arrangement meet your needs? 1 2 3 4

25. Please circle your current mid-term grade.
a. A/A-
b. B+/B
c. B-
d. C+/C
e. C-
f. D or below

26. Do you like this classroom arrangement?
a. absolutely
b. to some extent
c. not at all


27. Why?
















APPENDIX E
CLASSROOM APPRAISAL SURVEY: TEACHER

CSE E211 /Weil 410
This survey contains statements and questions about the physical characteristics of this
class and the activities that take place in this class. There are no right or wrong answers.
Some statements and questions may be similar. Please answer all of the questions.


1. Which course do you teach?
a. Methods of Social Research
b. Research Methods in Criminology


Please answer the following statements concerning the Never Seldom Often Always
social environment in this classroom.

2. How often do you feel that you use the following styles of teaching:
a. one on one interaction with students 1 2 3 4
b. presentation (lecture, tutorials, drill and practice) 1 2 3 4
c. teamwork (collaboration, group work) 1 2 3 4
d. discussion (seminar) 1 2 3 4
3. Students help each other in this class. 1 2 3 4
4. Students work in groups in this class. 1 2 3 4
5. Students give their opinions during class discussions. 1 2 3 4
6. Students ask the teachers questions. 1 2 3 4
7. The teacher decides how much movement and talk the students are allowed. 1 2 3 4
8. Students work at their own pace. 1 2 3 4
9. Students get distracted during class. 1 2 3 4



Please answer the following statements concerning the Never Seldom Often Always
physical environment in this classroom.

10. The seating arrangement facilitates the teacher's assistance during class. 1 2 3 4
11. The seating arrangement facilitates class related interaction among. 1 2 3 4
the students during class. 1 2 3 4
12. The seating arrangement allows for ease of movement. 1 2 3 4
13. I have trouble viewing the projection screen at the front of the 1 2 3 4
room during demonstrations.
14. The computer tables provide adequate workspace for me to write. 1 2 3 4
15. I can see every student in the class and the teacher from my seat. 1 2 3 4
16. There is adequate aisle width between the desks. 1 2 3 4
17. There is glare on the computer screens. 1 2 3 4
18. Does the computer lab classroom arrangement meet your needs? 1 2 3 4







86



19. Do your students learn:
a. passively (receiving information and taking notes)
b. learn by doing (actively engaged in the learning process through experimenting)
c. other


20. Have you taught a course in a traditional straight row computer lab classroom before? (refer to images
below)
a. yes
b. no

21. Have you ever taught a course in a computer lab with the pod arrangement? (refer to image below)
a. yes
b. no



Straight row arrangement Pod arrangement




R 52 R A&








22. Do you prefer one computer lab seating arrangement over another for teaching this part of the course?
a. yes, the straight row arrangement
b. yes, the pod arrangement
c. no preference


23. Why?















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