Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, Louisiana, is home to almost 13,000 students from 47 different countries and states. At times, the University’s students and faculty work in highly condensed classrooms and with a shortage of collaboration space.
Louisiana Tech struggled to provide active learning spaces, easy ways to connect to technology, and the ability for many students to work comfortably in a small classroom.
"Part of our current mission is to foster student engagement and to improve soft skills like face-to-face communication and working in groups," said Darrell Eddy, information technology manager for the College of Business at Louisiana Tech University.
To help with these strategic goals, furniture was needed that would be able to serve as a collaboration space and be able to support multiple students while connecting them to technology.
"Louisiana Tech has really struggled with active learning spaces," Eddy said. "I needed seating for the maximum number of students that would connect them with technology."
The College of Business explored many different furniture options and researched to see if there were any new innovative solutions, but leaders ultimately decided that the InVision Active Pod Learning System by Spectrum Industries would be the most beneficial for collaborative learning and supporting multiple students at once. Spectrum’s Pod Systems were implemented into two of Louisiana Tech’s College of Business classrooms.
"I looked for solutions that would allow us to seat the maximum required number of students with technology," Eddy said. "This system was the only solution that I could find that would accommodate the number of students in the square footage I had to work with."
The Pod System has the ability to support up to nine students at once and is able to connect students to technology via its center pedestal. The center pedestal can hold most equipment necessary for collaboration environments and can accommodate customer specified electronics.
The Pod’s replaced furniture that was designed to face the front of the classroom.
"Traditionally designed learning spaces are usually configured so that all of the students face the front of classroom where the presenter is," Eddy said. "Our goal was to create a space that would be more student centered so that the presenter could interact with students more freely."
The Pod System not only contributed to classroom collaboration, it transformed the classroom dynamic and changed how teachers could navigate the learning space.
"The Pod’s round configuration allows presenters to move freely among students," Eddy said. "During group projects, students were able to face each other without having to turn their chairs. In addition to the Pods, we outfitted the learning space with a display on every wall so that no matter which direction a student was seated, they had the same content in front of them."
The InVision Active Learning Pod System provided new opportunities for collaboration to occur, and was able to connect students with technology.
"We have received many compliments from those who have visited and taught in the spaces where the Pods are," Eddy said.
"Another benefit is that each Pod had a dedicated display that allowed students seated at the Pod to project their content on the displays using a wireless or wired connection," Eddy said. "This allowed each group to present to the entire classroom from their Pod without having to go to the front of the classroom."
The College of Business has been a customer of Spectrum since 2001 and Spectrum has supplied Louisiana Tech classrooms with its Class desks, Media Manager Lectern, Flex Training Tables, Inspiration Lectern, and Spectrum’s Compact Lectern.
"Spectrum’s design staff have been great to work with," Eddy said. "Spectrum has proven that their products are designed and manufactured to high quality standards and their furniture has met our needs for various different projects. Even after years of use, our furniture shows very little wear and tear."