Don’t Call Them Classrooms

Two new IT rooms host International Management class groups at Bocconi. iPads, three screens and boards everywhere support teaching innovations. The whole notion of teaching is evolving to become an integrated system for learning

They take up the same amount of space as nearby classrooms, but rooms are very different. So much so that the group made up of Bocconi staff and faculty who created them, find it difficult to simply call them classrooms. Inside, there are three large screens for video screenings, one in the center and two on the sides, controlled by a podium with a touch screen computer which substitutes the lecturer’s desk, integrated with high-speed and broadband internet.

In addition, there are boards on all the outer walls, which can be positioned in various arrangements. 150 students in the Master of Science in International Management, held in English, use the rooms, as well as students attending several elective courses. Students also received a free iPad to be able to interact during and after lectures. But technological equipment is only the exterior aspect of these non-classrooms. Everything actually operates as a new and different way of understanding teaching. “The idea is to go beyond the traditional concept of front lecturing, based on a lecturer, a blackboard and an audience of students,” explains Luigi Proserpio, President of BETA, the lab dedicated to teaching innovation, which, along with the Infrastructure, Logistics and Purchasing Area that created the classrooms,the library, the Academic Affairs Division, IT systems, faculty and Bocconi’s Schools, developed the Alliance project, a coalition between all the parts of the University to conceive and create teaching of the future. “Technology,” continues Proserpio, “cannot be left alone, but must be accompanied by real innovation in teaching. To do so, we prefer to talk about an integrated ecosystem for learning. This type of classroom promotes this change of perspective since it stimulates interaction and discussion, more than simple memorization.”

Those using them on a daily basis agree with this view.Francesca Prandstraller, along with her colleague Franz Wohlgezogen, is a faculty member for the course in Organization. “The completely paperless approach is important and allows technology to be integrated: students can interact through iPads and download the materials needed for lectures from the university’s e-learning platform.”

The physical rearrangement of the classes is one of the key aspects, according to Paola Dubini, who teaches Media Industries Distribution Systems on the third floor of the Piazza Sraffa 13 building. “The teaching process changes thanks to these systems, so the personal and collective responsibility of students needs be worked on for them to fully realize that, through this new teaching, they are co-producers of the course.”

Andrea Celauro *on; Photo by Paolo Tonato

Published by MISB Bocconi – An Initiative of SDA Bocconi, in Mumbai