Sunday, January 30, 2011

Class Sizes at IUB

The question no one ever knows while walking to class on the first day of classes – how many students will be in this class? Of course, the observant student will notice the “Total Enrollment” of each course in their schedule, but what does that number really mean? Will 400 students equate to a classroom the size of my gymnasium in high school, or a square box with 395 seats, all of which are slightly larger than a sheet of paper? Honestly, it’s hard to tell during your first few semesters on campus, but depending on the class, you can typically expect the following arrangements. 

For most general education classes, including economics, psychology, and most 100 level math courses, classrooms will typically have room for 250 to 400+ students. Also, many popular classes that are required for admission into specific degree programs, Chemistry for example, will also be in large classrooms to accommodate the largest number of students possible.

Other introductory courses, communications classes, and classes that may have other alternatives will be held in much smaller classrooms throughout campus. Classes in these settings will often seem reminiscent of high school in many aspects. The most notable of these similarities will be the fact that you will actually know everyone’s name before the end of the semester, as will your instructor (strongly encourage you to attend these classes).

As one continues to move up into more advanced courses, elective courses, and courses not immediately required for admissions or labeled as prerequisites for other courses, most students will find that class sizes will typically not exceed 50 students. Also, as these classes begin to fill one’s schedule, the locations for these classes will also become for unique as they can often extend to the corners of campus or inside residence halls.

Taking pictures of an actual class proved to be quite difficult (impossible actually), so hopefully these pictures will help to illustrate the types of classrooms that you will see as your academic career at IUB progresses.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Tips for Winter Commuting on Campus

As snow continues to fall across campus, mustering enough motivation to face the elements and walk to class is exceptionally difficult this time of year. And because winter occupies the majority of the spring semester, I don’t recommend skipping classes because of the cold weather (or at all for that matter). With that out of the way, I shall tell you my approach for getting to class on those bone-chilling, teeth-chattering, well-below-freezing mornings that make you question the nonchalant weather forecast you just watched before leaving.

My first recommendation, one that should not come as a surprise, is to wear warm pants, coats, gloves, hats, and most importantly, boots. An added note about hats: Those things that would alleviate the “I can’t feel my ears” phenomenon should not be left hanging at home simply because you did your hair this morning

My second suggestion would be to ensure that you have everything you need for all of your classes that day before leaving your room. Sounds redundant, I know, but when I leave for class I only want to return when I’m finished. Walking twice as far as you have to in this weather is never fun, so make sure you don’t have to do it.

Finally, consider planning out your trip so that you follow the bus routes on your way to and from classes, even if it is slightly less direct. Buses circle campus every few minutes throughout the day, and finding one that is going where you are is never a difficult task. And if you happen to be walking past a stop while one pulls up, you just made your trip less exhausting.

So there you go. That’s how make it to class while staying as warm as possible during the freezing cold winter months in Bloomington. There’s nothing you can do about the weather, but little things here and there can make dealing with it much easier and more tolerable.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Evolution of the Classroom

The new classrooms at Union Street Center are finally completed and already being used for class sessions throughout the week.
With innovative styling and technology not found anywhere else on campus, these classrooms provide a promising glimpse of what may be to come in terms of classroom design. In addition to the technology present in each new classroom, uniquely styled, fully adjustable, ergonomic furniture has been selected to outfit each room.

No longer are the days of toggling between multiple content windows. The most advanced room at USC presents instructors with the ability to display numerous visual elements through an array of projectors, monitors and imaging equipment, all of which can be controlled from intuitive, touch screen displays.

Without a doubt, I would love to have at least one class in these incredible classroom facilities that offer students and instructors unique tools and amenities to keep the learning environment interactive and comfortable.