New Learning Commons provides flexible, tech-infused study space
The Learning Commons opened with the start of the fall 2013 semester, and the 37,000-square-foot facility is already buzzing with activity—groups clustered in study rooms, solo studiers camped out in nooks, students taking breaks in the centrally located café.
Built for flexibility and interaction, the new tech-infused study space is a major upgrade to the UI’s Main Library, occupying much of the building’s first floor. The facility is the result of collaboration between University Libraries, Information Technology Services, and the Office of the Provost. In its first semester alone, nearly 2,000 students utilized the new space on a daily basis.
Designed specifically for students
The Learning Commons is open all day and night with the exception of Friday and Saturday nights, in direct response to students’ ongoing requests for 24-hour study space on campus.
Students can reserve open study areas and private group study spaces that seat up to six. In both spaces, they can connect their laptops to LCD screens to display and share content. They have their pick of 100 new desktop computers, and can lounge in the expanded Food for Thought Café with a menu of made-to-order sandwiches, fruit smoothies, snacks, espresso, and gourmet coffees.
One-stop shop for academic resources
The library’s Service Desk is also located in the Learning Commons. Staff members are available to check in and out library materials and to answer library, academic, and basic technology questions.
The space also features a 45-seat TILE (Transform, Interact, Learn, Engage) classroom with glass walls and sliding doors, printers and scanners, TVs and projectors, and multimedia resources.
Our design team spent a lot of time watching how students study, and particularly noticed how much they leveraged technology in their daily work habits. This space, with its multimedia resources, collaboration technologies, and wall-to-wall wireless, is reflective of the way today’s students integrate technology into their lives,” says ITS Learning Spaces Director Chris Clark.”
What’s ahead for the Learning Commons
The Learning Commons is now hosting a variety of tutoring services. Students can find statistics tutoring, writing center satellite stations, and SWAT (Study, Workshops, And Tutoring) sessions in the space. Also held there is an Express Workshop series featuring weekly 20-minute sessions on a variety of relevant academic topics, from information literacy mini-lessons to software training.