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rable with sufficient work area per seat.
Both informal feedback and some formal reviews by uni-
versities, including the University of California, Berkeley,
will be presented at conferences early this year. The LSRS
team will evaluate that feedback and build it into version
1.0, to be released sometime this summer.
One LSRS team member who has experimented with the
tool is Joseph Cevetello, director of learning environments,
technology-enhanced learning, and assistant professor of
clinical education at the University of Southern California.
Because he is one of the few university executives to have a
job title dedicated to the design and support of learning en-
vironments, this project had a nice synchronicity with USC's
approach, he said.
"At USC, we are 4½ years into reimagining our learning
spaces," Cevetello said. "We think LSRS will help us as-
sess spaces we've created. We have conducted thousands
of students and faculty surveys, and the lexicon in LSRS
helped us shape the wording of those."
He noted that working with a draft of the rating system
showed USC planners some things about campus spaces
they hadn't seen before. For instance, they studied two or three
types of furniture and how people defined their space needs.
Based on the definitions created in LSRS, the planners found
that students actually wanted more space than faculty did.
Holeton and Cevetello agreed that LSRS could become
valuable as a marketing tool for universities that have devot-
ed considerable resources to rehabbing classroom spaces
--- prospective students could use the tool to help them
decide which university to attend.
"I hope students would use the tool," Cevetello said. "One of
the drivers of our changes at USC was that our learning spac-
es were not up to 21st century standards. And we learned
that from prospective students who told us their high schools
were more sophisticated in that sense. That led us to devote
substantial resources to renovate 220 learning spaces with
furniture and technology. Why? To attract better students."
LSRS could also help Cevetello make the case for con-
tinued improvements. "If Stanford has 12 platinum spaces
and five gold, and USC has only seven platinum and four
gold, I want to use that in a competitive sense to convince
our administrators that we have to keep up," he said.
Moving Forward Together
Leaders of the FLEXspace and LSRS projects all say there
is potential for synergy between the two. One obvious step
would be to have an LSRS rating as one field in the FLEX-
space database. "There may be ways they can come to-
gether and it is not impossible that they would merge later,"
ELI's Brown said, "but first they have to get momentum."
Both Stephens and Moreau described being excited that
the work started at SUNY drew enough attention to take the
FLEXspace project to a national level. "As part of the initial
phase we did due diligence to see if there was already any-
thing like this already in existence," Moreau remembered.
"We didn't want to reinvent the wheel. But when we asked
people at SCUP and CCUMC and MERLOT, they all said
'No, but if you build it we'd love to partner with you.' So
all those people later became our core team. As we got a
proof of concept together, they were excited to participate
and it was no struggle to get more people involved. It really
hit a nerve."
Stephens said it is by far the most dedicated group of peo-
ple she's worked with. "We're all very committed to a positive
outcome, and I suspect that for all of us it's a tad personal be-
cause we believe so strongly in the value of this effort."
"There is a hunger for this," Brown added, "because there
is a lot at stake financially and it has a major impact on our
core mission: teaching and learning."
David Raths is a freelance writer based in Philadelphia.
CAMPUS TECHNOLOGY | April 2014
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
The FLEXspace website includes short demo videos and in-
structions for requesting account access.
The LSRS site offers a way to download the beta version and
the scoresheet as well as a space to offer feedback.
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