State University of New York, California State University Announce Smart Classroom Initiative
April 8, 2014
Nation’s Largest Systems of Higher Education Call On Faculty, Partners To Support Flexible Learning Environments Exchange
The State University of New York and the California State University today announced the development of Flexible Learning Environments Exchange (FLEXspace), a first-of-its-kind initiative that aims to inform and streamline the process of building “smart” classrooms on college campuses.
FLEXspace is a robust open access repository, where users can view images and information about the new installation or renovation of learning space, before beginning a new project.
Leaders of the nation’s two largest systems of higher education called on faculty, staff, and private partners of their institutions to assist with beta testing for the project.
“In today’s climate of ongoing technological advancement, it is imperative that the nation’s colleges and universities collaborate to deliver sophisticated learning environments that help maximize success for our students,” said SUNY Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Elizabeth L. Bringsjord. “FLEXspace represents cutting-edge innovation in classroom design, and SUNY is proud to play a lead role in getting this exciting initiative off the ground.”
“FLEXspace is an innovative solution that will benefit colleges and universities world-wide once it has the necessary content behind it,” said CSU Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer Ephraim P. Smith. “By providing unprecedented access to best practices in a user-friendly, easily-searchable online format, FLEXspace will save time and money while ensuring efficiency and effectiveness.”
FLEXspace is featured as the cover story in this month’s Campus Technology Magazine, which provides in-depth coverage of technology advancements and new uses in higher education across the globe.
To participate in beta testing, faculty members as well as facilities personnel and Audio/Visual (AV) integrators are asked to visit www.suny.edu/flexspace to request an account. Participants will upload comments and images that detail their experiences with building or renovating classroom space in an effort to build the site’s content so that it can reach the peer review stage, and ultimately be ready for widespread use.
“When a new learning space is designed or renovated, it can be difficult to reconcile the needs of teaching faculty, budget, and location, among other characteristics,” said Lisa Stephens, project lead and senior strategist for academic innovation at SUNY. “As soon as we presented this idea at the Consortium of College and University Media Centers (CCUMC) conference last year, we knew we had a ‘tiger by the tail’ because so many people from institutions across the country expressed interest in joining the effort.”
The concept was first conceived by the SUNY Faculty Advisory Council on Teaching and Technology in 2011. In the years since, FLEXspace has been jointly developed by a group of representatives from SUNY, CSU, Cornell University, the Consortium of College and University Media Centers (CCUMC), Society for College and University Planning (SCUP), Foothill-DeAnza Community College District, Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching (MERLOT), and EDUCAUSE, in partnership with Artstor, a nonprofit organization that provides Shared Shelf software for managing and distributing digital content.
The group has collaborated with higher education administrators and faculty, architects, space planners, and private interest groups to develop a portal that could gather and report data to describe learning spaces from the perspective of faculty, facilities support personnel, and instructional technology integrators.
FLEXspace is envisioned to be a free, non-commercial service to institutions of higher education and their partners, supported by a sponsorship funding model.
About the California State University
The California State University is the largest system of senior higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, approximately 447,000 students and 45,000 faculty and staff. The CSU awards more than 100,000 degrees annually and since its creation in 1961 has conferred nearly 2.9 million. The CSU is renowned for the quality of its teaching and for the job-ready graduates it produces. The mission of the CSU is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever changing needs of the people of California. With its commitment to excellence, diversity and innovation, the CSU is the university system that is working for California. Connect with and learn more about the CSU at CSU Social Media. Show how the CSU matters to you and take action.
About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive university system in the United States, educating nearly 463,000 students in more than 7,500 degree and certificate programs, and more than 1.8 million NYS citizens in professional development and personal enrichment programs, on 64 college and university campuses. There are nearly 3 million SUNY alumni worldwide. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit www.suny.edu.