Crushing the boundaries of Higher Education Collaboration

Positive Student-Professor Collaboration | February 5, 2024

Higher education prepares students for the next part of their lives through social, emotional, and educational experiences.

It’s important for institutions to consistently evolve with the times.

Universities constantly improve the focus of majors, the approach of class structures, and the overall objectives of the college experience.

College students are becoming experts in their field of study while developing essential life skills, including communication, discipline, and collaboration.

Higher education leans more towards an independent teaching approach; a class is two to three times a week, rather than every day.

The professor lectures and students complete an assignment as homework, or students perform a lab and complete their lab report on their own time.

Facility planners have been incorporating spaces for students to work on these assignments independently or with peers outside of class.

The rise of comfortable, tech-infused collaboration spaces has been widely successful.

Students use these spaces for group and independent work because they offer a comfortable place to be productive outside of their dorms.

Plus, studies show collaboration can lead to greater achievement among students, providing learning opportunities beyond the classroom and introducing vital social skills like effective communication, trust building, and reciprocity.

But not every college student has the luxury of going to class and understanding the course content immediately.

Many students need help outside of class to complete their homework assignments and fully understand the concepts taught in the lecture.

It’s important to provide accessible, comfortable opportunities for all students to learn at whatever pace works for them.

As higher education aims to be inclusive and create a successful environment for all their students, student-professor collaboration spaces should be at the top of their list.

With the independent approach ingrained into higher education, it is typically the students’ responsibility to talk with the professor if they’re having difficulty grasping the lecture content.

The need for extra help can be uncomfortable to come to terms with for a student. If the student takes the step to ask the professor for additional help, it’s important to create a pleasant and inviting experience for the rest of their time collaborating.

Students who are comfortable and engaged in their environments are more active in their learning.

Most professors have office hours, where students can receive additional help during an allotted time.

Office hours are a crucial part of the student-professor relationship and the student’s understanding of course content.

Entering a professor’s small, confined office for a one-on-one discussion about course content can feel unwelcoming or daunting.

This is the same reason workplaces have collaboration rooms for department meetings, as opposed to meetings in a supervisor’s office.

Implementing collaboration spaces in open areas outside individual offices provides a more inviting setting and serves as common ground for professors to collaborate with each other.

Creating spaces for students and professors to meet that resembles student collaboration spaces brings a familiar and appealing feel.

Having a conversation in comfortable chairs next to each other is much less intimidating than discussing over an office desk.

Using interactive screens to view lecture content or homework assignments together allows the student and professor to clearly collaborate in a relaxed manner, helping the student listen and retain the content they were previously struggling with.

By eliminating the need to inquire about room availability or risk interrupting ongoing sessions, this approach simplifies the process and allows employees to simply identify utilized and vacant areas.

Technology essential for seamless interactions and utilization includes computers, printers, video conferencing cameras, messenger platforms, phones, headsets, microphones, monitors, and more.

Integrating this technology enhances the efficiency of a neighborhood office. 

Students who are comfortable and engaged in their environments are more active in their learning.

As higher education aims to be inclusive and create a successful environment for all  their students, student-professor collaboration spaces should be at the top of their list.

One-on-one help must be comfortable and beneficial for students to truly grasp concepts.

Implementing spaces that are similar to collaboration in libraries or dorms for professor office buildings is a simple, familiar way to connect students to a meaningful higher learning experience.

For more on workplace design check out our insight on Neighborhood Office Models.

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