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Exploring Collaborative Learning in Rensselaer's Classroom-in-the-Round

This paper talks about a specific technology-facilitated classroom environment, which is meant to support collaborative learning. The whole paper is very technical, not suitable for our independent research.

Classroom Environment:

The classroom-in-the-round environment has eight technology enhanced tulip-shaped conference tables. Each of these tables provides seating for 2 to 6 students, with a single Windows PC that can be controlled form two separate keyboards and mice. Two large screen color monitors are connected to the PC and buried in the table. At the front of the room, the instructor¡¯s podium also houses a Windows PC, as well as a high-end projection system that can display the podium PC¡¯s screen or the image form a document camera. In addition, there is an interactive electronic whiteboard.


The design of the classroom naturally divides the class into teams. Students within a team can work together. Students can connect to the podium computer and directly view the instructor¡¯s presentation on their local able computer. Teachers can display the students¡¯ desktop using the projects and critiquing the work to the whole class. Students can also connect to other conference table computers and share work among teams.

  • This environment is good for team-oriented classroom.
  • It is more for lab style class than for lecture style class.
  • It is only for small class (no more than 6 teams and 36 students in total)
  • The technology is not cheap.

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