Considering Classroom Seating for Students and Faculty in the 21st Century


In colleges and universities, the physical learning environment embodies an institution’s educational philosophy and priorities. Ideally, such environments are planned with considered attention to the institution’s goals for learning and learners and are designed to reflect the institution’s strategic directions. Buffalo State has renovated, or currently has in construction, most of its instructional spaces, and the majority of the furniture and seating arrangements in the classrooms could be considered traditional (if not outmoded). Within this context, Buffalo State undertook a quantitative, cross-sectional research study that explored students’ perceptions of five different seating styles in typical classrooms. The study’s outcomes indicate a need for campuses to reconsider the purposes and roles of seating styles in the 21st-century classroom.

The Seeking Evidence of Impact (SEI) program is intended to bring the teaching and learning community into a discussion about ways of gathering evidence of the impact of our innovations and current practices. The goal of the SEI case studies is to provide examples of successful projects evaluating the impact of innovation, technology, and best practices in teaching and learning.

In addition to the SEI case studies, you may find other ELI resources useful in addressing teaching, learning, and technology issues at your institution. To learn more, please visit the ELI Resources page.


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