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UO building and classroom priorities?

I’m posting this as a place for people to comment on what they think are important priorities for UO campus buildings and what features should be prioritized in new classrooms. 8/22/2012.

A commenter notes that Academic Affairs has a committee and a website for reporting issues with specific classrooms:


  1. Anonymous 08/22/2012

    Dog says

    for a start, how about just some new classrooms …

  2. Paul Samuelson 08/22/2012

    I want a blackboard and some chalk. Analog, with molecular level resolution.

    • Cat 08/23/2012

      I second this, with seriousness. In the rush to high-tech–and I go there too sometimes–the good old-fashioned, highly flexible blackboard is often overlooked. I am SO tired of trying to make do with those wobbly stand alone things, or teach in Lillis rooms where the slidable blackboard is broken and so, with an unused white space behind me, I have to run from right to left using side boards. And then in the big lecture halls, like Willamette 100, the blackboards are so buried under various layers that the lighting doesn’t read them; thus, the students can’t see even if you write the letters as big as your head. Really, such primitive technology should be hard to f*** up, and still UO manages…

    • Raghu Parthasarathy 08/23/2012

      I’ve become a big fan of document cameras — combining the appeal of writing in ‘real time’ on paper by hand (which students absorb much better than powerpoint text) with the visibility and contrast of projecting onto a big screen. Plus, I can use all my colored markers!

    • UO Matters 08/23/2012

      Then, when they ask if I will scan and post the paper online, I laugh diabolically and pull out my cigarette lighter…

    • Anonymous 08/24/2012

      Document cameras are great, but they need to have a monitor available so the lecturer can see what the students are seeing.

  3. Anonymous 08/22/2012

    Hardwired connectors for macs on the projectors. Cheap, pay for it out of Robin Holmes political slush fund.

  4. Anonymous 08/23/2012

    I think there’s a crying need for good lecture rooms for 80+ students. These should have excellent visuals (boards and projectors, options for both) and have variable lighting. They should have comfortable seats, and sightlines such that everyone can see the board from their seat. Reasonable acoustics. Simple sensible stuff, but lacking.
    After iterations, based on reviews I often teach with something projected on the central board, and then use the side boards for chalk/marker. Few rooms actually work well for this style.

    • Anonymous 08/24/2012

      I do this too (projector plus chalk or white board on the side) and I think it’s highly effective. But few rooms are set up for this.

  5. Anonymous 08/23/2012

    The document projectors are great if there’s no blackboard. Write on paper and project it. Works well in big lectures too. The students tune out when you use powerpoint, this way they take notes.

  6. Cat 08/23/2012

    Yes, but what I like about the old-fashioned chalk board is that you can write MORE than will fit on a single piece of paper (or power-point screen). Plus you can draw all kinds of arrows and such from one side of the board to another–clear across the front of the room. Woo-hoo! Of course, it complicates note taking, because what I’m writing doesn’t fit neatly on the notebook paper students are writing on. But that just means they need to THINK while writing. The biggest problem with power-point, which has so many advantages otherwise, is the robotic copying of whatever text one puts up there.

    Sorry, chalkboard issues are a pet grievance of Cat’s.

  7. Anonymous 08/23/2012

    So it sounds like chalkboards, projectors, and document cameras are popular. What are other important qualities for renovated/new classrooms? What size(s) are needed? What are the current worst ones on campus?

  8. Anonymous 08/23/2012

    I live in PLC. I need an office with space to talk to more than one student at a time. The ones in Johnson Hall are pretty spacious. Good location too. Any reason we can’t move the VP’s in trailers out in the Romania lot?

  9. Oryx 08/23/2012

    Don’t forget the most important design feature for potential new classrooms: existence!

  10. Anonymous 08/23/2012

    We need more professors to teach all the students. That means that office and lab space needs to be built in tandem with classroom space. One should not be replacing or put into competition with the other, as is apparently being planned for the Straub renovation.

  11. Anonymous 08/23/2012

    Our provosts academic training is in logistics and operations research for Pete’s sake Ive heard deans were pushing classroom and faculty office planning years ago is JH really that clueless on the consequences of ballooning enrolments?

  12. Awesome0 08/23/2012

    I love me some chalkboards as much as the next prof, but lets get some that at least work. Anybody try teaching in one of the older buildings where the chalkboards are so old/used/dirty that no one can ready anything on them? Also all projects should be updated to accept HDMI or mini-display port and project in high definition.

    How about converting mac-court into a building(s) with many classrooms sooner rather than later? And now with the new dorms opening up, lets tear down some old ones for more buildings as well.

    • Anonymous 08/24/2012

      A lot of campus whiteboards have the same problem as Awesome0 mentions for blackboards above. Many have lost their finishes and are unusable. When I’ve been in a classroom with an unusable whiteboard and put in a request via my department for some sort of improvement during a term to get usable whiteboard space, nothing happens.

  13. Anonymous 08/23/2012

    Someone in the administration should be the point person for these kinds of sensible proposals. I could go off on a rant about all the brainless ways they spend money instead, but maybe it’s more productive to just ask who is responsible for office/classroom issues, and do they have a place at the table when budget decisions get made?

    • UO Matters 08/23/2012

      It would be nice, but instead they are spending the money washing the newly replace bricks on PLC:

      We are performing a final washing of the brick on the PLC 9-story tower and 4-story building during the next week and a half. The Contractor will be washing the south stair tower area on 8/22 and 8/23, the north elevation of the 9-story tower on 8/23 and 8/24, and the east elevation of the 9-story tower starting Monday, 8/27. The north and south elevations of the 4-story building will follow and complete this work.

      This university has some whacked priorities.

    • Anonymous 08/23/2012

      Who is on first? We have a vp student affairs and vice provost for undergrads and vice provost for academic affairs and a vp for administration surely someone could have thought gee we will need more classrooms and offices !

  14. Cat 08/24/2012

    Time for an ad hoc committee, sounds to me like! Any Senators want to propose one? Who knows which admin folks need to be roped in?

  15. Anonymous 08/27/2012

    To help solve these issues it would be helpful if specific buildings and or classrooms were identified.

  16. Anonymous 08/28/2012

    Dog Says

    1. This is good, keep up the comments and make them as specific
    as possible as already suggested.

    2. There is a committee, the Academic Infrastructure committee that
    nominally deals with classroom issues, except that they don’t really do anything (which should be obvious).

    3. I’d like to hear more comments posted about the sardine can rooms.

    4. I would also like to hear about rooms which put the students into
    a collective stupor so they just endure the presentation. I have seen this happen many times in Willamette 110 when there are more than 60 students in the class.

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