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New Chemistry Studio Classroom at Harry S Truman College Receives National Attention

New Chemistry Studio Classroom at Harry S Truman College Receives National Attention

6/21/2012 12:00 AM

​CHICAGO – Harry S Truman College hosted 40 chief information officers and directors of information technology from colleges across the country last week as part of HP’s Higher Education Academic Summit. The senior officials visited Truman College to see its newly-opened, state-of-the-art organic chemistry studio classroom.

Truman College’s studio classroom combines lectures and labs into one space, encouraging students to learn science through a continuous cycle of observation, reasoning and experiment.  Students work both individually and in small groups, sharing a computer and lab equipment. The studio classroom makes it possible for students to perform experiments, work in teams, share data, participate in discussions, observe demonstrations, listen to mini-lectures and switch easily between all of these activities.

“Faculty members were instrumental in the design and construction process to ensure each piece of the studio fit the needs of the classes that would be taught in the room, from the tables to the SmartBoard,” explained Reagan Romali, president of Truman College. “Because of the involvement of faculty, the finished product is something that’s fully utilized in every class. Even more important, we’ve seen an increase in both student retention and success when we compared classes in studio classrooms to classes in non-studio classrooms.”

“Truman College and its studio classroom demonstrate how successful colleges can be in designing an engaging learning environment if faculty and IT partner together,” said Elliott Levine, education strategist, HP. “Not only does Truman’s studio classroom have the latest technology, but it is designed in a way that makes it easy for faculty members to use the technology in every class.”

The central technology in the room is the classroom management system that allows the instructor to display live demonstrations, handwritten formulas on the SmartBoard, DVDs, websites, photos or any other content on a computer to all the monitors in the room simultaneously. This provides every student with a front seat. The room also includes nine fume hoods to use for experiments when necessary.

“Every piece of technology in the studio classroom serves a pedagogical goal,” said Charles Abrams, chemistry faculty member at Truman College and a member of the design team. “Even the layout of the room was considered during the design process. We were able to work directly with the design and construction team to make sure that the studio was designed to provide the students with the best experience possible.”

Truman College has two chemistry studio classrooms – one for organic chemistry which opened in Spring 2012 and one for general chemistry which opened in Spring 2008. Truman College also has eight other studio classrooms for other disciplines like communications and mathematics.