Facility Operations

Classroom Standards

Overview of Design Intent

In order to provide a creative and informed classroom design, teaching and learning must be at the forefront of all design considerations; learning environments must support learning content knowledge and allow for exemplary teaching.  In addition, current and future faculty and students will expect socially-driven, less formal learning environments that encourage continuing learning beyond the classroom.

Spaces that transform teaching and learning:

  • Provide a learning environment that will contribute in building a strong relationship between a student and faculty through increased engagement and interaction between the two.
  • Allow for personalized education through flexibility of space, style and schedule.
  • Preferred learning approach is a seamless blend between traditional face-to-face interaction and the ever-growing online based communication. 
  • Teaching and learning improve when learning spaces are student centered with collaborative based instructional methods used in a technology rich environment embedded in the pedagogical approach to learning.
  • Consider SCALE UP (Student Centered Active Learning Environments for Undergraduates) classrooms that have shown to:
  • Improve Ability to Solve Problems
  • Increase Conceptual Understanding
  • Improve Overall Student Attitudes
  • Reduce Failure Rates
  • Improve performance of “At Risk” students

Design Principles

  • Emphasis on Preparedness - Model best practices in teaching and learning so that students of today are prepared to meet the needs of tomorrow.
  • Hands-on Experience with Relevant Tools - The audio visual systems should reflect technologies that are found in the real world allowing students to practice with real-world tools in a low risk environment.
  • Flexibility - Important to reflect flexibility in diverse learning styles, curriculum choices and pedagogical approaches.  Where practical, designated spaces must be easily reconfigured to change from class to class.
  • Adaptability - Enable the systems and spaces to adapt over time in response to changes in curriculum, teaching and learning styles, and technologies.
  • Ease of Operation - A/V systems shall be user friendly and designed appropriately for the end user.

Learning Activity Principles

The following section describes each major learning space classification that can be used to define the learning activity and assist in clarifying the intent of how the space and the audiovisual systems can enhance specific learning activities.  Discussion of learning “types” will help for improved planning and design of classrooms and should be evaluated on a “case by case” basis with project stakeholders.

  • Lecture/Didactic Instruction-This learning activity involves the instructor delivering information through lecture or presentation. Students are typically forward-facing, listening and taking notes as needed, with the limited opportunity for student interaction and discussion.
  • Whole Group Discussion-This learning activity gives the students an opportunity to internalize, apply, challenge and discover course content through conversation and discussion with the entire class.  Often, the instructor acts as a moderator or facilitator for the entire group.
  • Small Group Activities with Technology-Content is taught through small group activities such as problem solving assignments, simulations, case studies, role playing, “think-pair-share” assignments and other activities that encourage students to work actively within a small group.  Group sizes are often 3-9 students and activities are supported by technology available to each group, such as a flat panel display or interactive white board with projector.
  • Small Group Activities without Technology-These activities utilize the same pedagogical approach as the Small Group Activities with Technology but do not involve technology systems that are supplied by the University.  Many of the same activities can be used-problem solving, role playing, etc… but without the benefits of technology resources.  Personal technologies such as iPads, laptops and other mobile devices may be provided by the students but no provision is made for sharing or collaborating with such items.
  • Self-directed Learning / Research / Web-based Instruction-Involves independent student work supported by technology.  Working alone, students may be assigned to conduct research, solve problems, write compositions, and evaluate recordings of themselves or others performing specific tasks or other individual study activities.
  • Student Delivered Presentations / Demonstrations-Students will have the opportunity to present or demonstrate their assignments, research and projects to other class members and faculty. This approach provides students valuable workforce skills as they develop the ability to communicate thoughts and ideas to groups.  Providing students the opportunity to ”teach others” helps increase retention of course content.
  • Distance Learning-This approach allows students to actively participate with others located at remote locations.  Live two-way audio, video and content are shared between two or more sites.  The other site(s) may involve subject matter experts, guests or simply other student peers.
  • Asynchronous Learning-this approach involves recording the proceedings of class period to a networked system that allows students and faculty to review sessions at a later date.  Depending on the system used, recorded information may include audio of the instructor and possible students, video of the instructor and/or students and content such as PowerPoint presentations.  This differs from Distance Learning in that any interaction in not real time.

General Classroom Provisions

  • Electrical outlets are required within easy access for all students seating locations
  • Classrooms that are tiered will have two rows per tier, have 1:20 accessible ramps, fixed tables and moveable chairs.
  • Classroom door keying standards listed in Architectural division 08.
  • Any requested flexible classrooms that require room division will be reviewed on a “case by case” basis. Accordion dividing wall partitions are not preferred.
  • Multiple walls with writing surfaces and marker trays are to be integrated into the design and approved by WSU for each project.


  • In general, for sound dampening/acoustical purposes, carpet is preferred in classrooms.  Selected carpet shall be appropriately chosen based on durability and performance specifications.


  • Clear or decorative glazing is to be adjacent to all classroom entrances to allow for visual connection from corridor to interior of classroom. This can be achieved with glazing in door(s) in limited space areas.
  • Glazing can also be utilized, optionally, as instruction writing surface. 


  • Indirect ambient lighting source via ceiling suspended linear system or lay-in fixtures with indirect source of light.
  • Recessed fixtures at front of the room to wash the front display whiteboards. These to be separately switched.
  • Dual level light switching required. Foot candle levels to be per code – refer to Division 26
  • All light fixtures must be reviewed for accessibility and access for maintenance and lamp replacement.


Selection of furniture to be primarily based on warranty and life cycle costs.  The following examples are intended to set general guidelines with basis of design examples and final selection should take into consideration the intended use of space.

  • Student Chair-Adjustable height on casters (Basis of Design Model: Steelcase Cachet)
  • Student Table  - 18” x 66” (on glides if over 40 students)
  • Instructor Chair – Adjustable height on casters (Basis of Design Model: Steelcase Cachet)
  • Instructor Podium – (Meets equivalent performance/standards or exceeds that of Model: Spectrum 55218 CHBHD)
  • Instructor Table – On casters for front of classroom
  • Instructor tabletop moveable lectern.


  • Mounted projector (ceiling or wall) – Specification and projector by WSU CaTS, mount is to be provided by contractor.
  • Location of projector and screen(s) to be determined to maximize line of sight. (front of room or corners of the room) Screens must not cover significant portions of whiteboard space.
  • Monitors/Smart Boards/Video Conference equipment will be project specific.


  • The whiteboard space in the classroom and the front of the classroom is to be maximized. Locating on minimum one additional side wall is encouraged as appropriate to maximize coverage in overall design with projection locations. (Basis of comparison Model: Claridge LCS Porcelain Enamel marker board with tray or equal with lifetime warranty)


  • All classroom entrances are to allow for a signage zone in close adjacent proximity. All signage will be by WSU Signage shop with style, size, wording and colors selected by University and compliant with current ADA and OBC.