The Department of Physics and Astronomy at Western Kentucky University has a new Interactive Engagement Classroom.  This classroom, made possible with funds provided by the Offices of the Provost and the Ogden College Dean, was opened for use at the beginning of the Fall 2001 semester.  

Shortly after opening the classroom and the teaching methods employed in it were featured in the following article on the WKU News and Events page:

The links below will load QuickTime movie clips from news coverage about the classroom which aired on NewsCenter 13 (WBKO) on November 27, 2001.  Special thanks to WBKO for granting permission to display this video here.  You will need QuickTime Movie Player to view the clips. 

November 27, 2001 WKYU (43 seconds)
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November 27, 2001 WKYU (45 seconds)
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November 27, 2001 WKYU (60 seconds)
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The above photo is a still image from a news clip created by Noelle Bye of the WKU student news channel (WKYU, Channel 12).  Click on any of the above links to view the clip.

Students in Dr. Scott Bonham's College Physics I (PHYS 201) course studying collisions using an internet-based physics java applet (called a Physlet).  


On November 27, 2001 the department hosted an Open House for the campus community to showcase the classroom.  Some examples of uses of this new facility that were on display at the open house included:


The classroom is based on a successful model developed at North Carolina State University called SCALE-UP (Student Centered Activities for Large Enrollment Undergraduate Programs). The primary goal of this program is to increase learning by establishing a highly collaborative, hands-on, technology-rich, interactive learning environment in large enrollment courses. The WKU classroom accommodates up to 36 students working in a collaborative environment with access to networked laptop computers, software for analysis and investigation, sensors to acquire data, and specialty software to help with conceptual understanding of topics in physics.

The WKU classroom consists of four seven-foot diameter round tables which accommodate up to 9 students each.  Each table is equipped with three networked laptop computers where students work in groups of three.  Since the students sit at round tables there is essentially no front side of the room.  Instead the instructor is free to move about and interact closely with the students at their tables.  The instructor has access to a networked computer at the center of the room which is connected to two multimedia projectors (EPSON 7600p).  The instructor also has access to a Visual Presenter (ELMO EV-400AF)  for projection of notes, textbook figures, transparencies or even small demonstrations through the multimedia projectors.  Finally, nearly the entire perimeter of the room is lined with whiteboards.  Students are often asked to put the results of their group activities on the whiteboard for discussion for the entire class.

Please direct questions about the classroom to Dr. Scott Bonham or Dr. Doug Harper.