Monday, 19 December 2016

Piazza Episode 2 - Attack of the Clones

The majority of space in the Piazza Building is made up of seminar rooms - over 30 in total - which will seat about 20 people in a horseshoe setup similar to that used in the Spring Lane Building. The success of the Spring Lane Building provides a great blueprint for the planning for the Piazza Building.

Inspiration from the Spring Lane Building

The continuing use of ‘desk style’ teaching positions as part of the horseshoe setup has been popular, so will be continued. The ‘windows’ to the interior of the building have also been well received - students being able to spot empty rooms and make use of them has been mentioned repeatedly in feedback, and the Spring Lane Building’s heavy usage (already among the heaviest on campus!) owes significantly to them so they’ll be repeated and enlarged in the new building.

One of the lessons learned from the Spring Lane Building has been that power provision for laptops is important in seminar rooms, as students might have a couple of 2-3 hour seminars in a day, with no chance to recharge laptops in between. Originally, the Piazza seminar rooms had been designed with ample plug sockets - in some cases, enough for one per person. However, having considered concerns relating to trailing cables, Helen and I have been tasked with investigating furniture with integrated power, which will allow a socket at every seat. Should it be successful, it will be something that we can look at retrofitting elsewhere in our learning estate.

Turning to the technology, our recommendation that we explore wireless presentation receivers was well received. Hopefully a subject of their own article in the new year, inclusion of these in each room would free the lecturer to deliver from anywhere in the room as well as facilitating the use of touchscreen laptops or tablets to enable a more interactive style of teaching. We’ll also be looking to include a digital OHP in every room, as well as Replay functionality (watch this space for articles on those subjects too!) throughout.

Next, a look at the 350-seat lecture theatre.



  1. Should you choose to fail your very first time, do whatever you are able to in order to bounce back and succeed on the next try. Yes, there were times once I felt I wasn't powerful in the classroom. It appears to have become a sickeningly significant part my lifestyle.

    Bianca |

  2. I know this is a very long time after the post, and may be too late to be useful, but one of the things I really like about the Spring Lane seminar rooms is having lots of whiteboards, and in different parts of the room. I tend to break my sessions into smaller groups, and being able to give them all a whiteboard to work on and present from is tremendously useful.