What is needed?

Initial Publication Date: February 9, 2007

Studio teaching requires a couple of changes from traditional classroom layouts and scheduling.

First, studio activities are not really possible when students sit in rows facing the front of a classroom. Instead, students must sit together and look at each other. So, a traditional lecture hall is not an appropriate venue. Round tables are ideal, but standard lab tables can work just as well. Many instructors simply have their studio classes meet in the rooms that normally are only used for labs.

Second, standard class scheduling also hinders studio teaching. At most colleges and universities, class lecture sessions meet for three standard 50 minute periods, or two 80 minute periods per week. Lab sessions are generally 2 hours or longer in the afternoons. While it is possible to teach a studio class in 1 hour blocks, it is much better to have longer class periods. Two sessions per week, of 3 hours each, comes out to about the same number of contact hours as a traditional class, and works much better. The distinction between lab and lecture should, and can, be eliminated. During the longer time blocks, students may work on a number of different projects and may not all be doing the same things.