For this edition of "Behind the Scenes of a Classroom Refresh", we bring you 120 Latimer, which received a complete renovation over several months last year during Summer Sessions and the Fall 2022 semester.
Accessibility at the Forefront
A full room renovation enables the project team to tackle many aspects of improvements that are not normally possible. While most aspects of accessibility in a classroom do not touch upon the technology directly - i.e. lowering the bottom height of chalkboards, widening pathways of travel - there are still plenty of areas where the A/V design team is included to ensure accessibility improvements are done correctly. One key area of focus for this renovation is the lectern at the front of the classroom, where a custom made, height adjustable desk was installed. Our team worked with other project team members to ensure the right amount of space and slack was included so that the technology installed on and inside the lectern can function smoothly with an adjustable height lectern.
Flexible Options to Disseminate Course Content
While 120 Latimer, aka Pitzer Auditorium, is a space that is most often used for Chemistry related courses and events, it is a General Assignment Classroom that is also used for many other disciplines and purposes. As such, a key design consideration for video projection is a key trade off between projected space and writing surface space. For 120 Latimer, we decided to offer multiple options, such as the ability to display two different sources or the ability to use both digital and blackboard options at the same time, so that the space can be adapted to the teaching style and modality of the instructor and the course.
Standards Deviation to Enable Specific Types of Learning Activity
While our design principles and standards are geared toward enabling technology for any discipline, we are cognizant of the fact that certain spaces are more likely to be used by specific disciplines. During the renovationn project, the project team engaged with Department of Chemistry faculty and staff to better understand their needs for this classroom. One key area of focus is the ability to perform laboratory experiements and demos, which meant that a lab bench with the necessary utilities, i.e. hot and cold water, is a centerpiece of the space. From the technology perspective, the ability to have a camera Zoom in on the bench to clearly show the demonstration to the in-person, remote, and asynchronously viewing audiences was a key addition to facilitate the needs of the Chemistry department.
We hope this glimpse into the 120 Latimer classroom refresh helps you understand the process and considerations involved in transforming our classrooms to support instruction at UC Berkeley. Please feel free to reach out to the Classroom Technology Services team at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or feedback.