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ERIC Number: EJ964631
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Nov
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 12
ISSN: ISSN-0047-231X
Connectedness by Design: The Teaching Laboratories in St. Olaf College's Regents Hall of Natural and Mathematical Sciences
Van Wylen, David G. L.; Walczak, Mary M.
Journal of College Science Teaching, v41 n2 p44-52 Nov 2011
This study assessed the impact of science teaching laboratories designed with visual connections to spaces outside the laboratory, either to interior spaces or to the outdoors. Specifically, we assessed (1) student perceptions of interdisciplinarity, (2) the ability to stay focused, and (3) the environment for student learning. Student surveys were administered in 2008 in St. Olaf College's old Science Center (windowless teaching laboratories) and in 2009 in St. Olaf College's new Regents Hall of Natural and Mathematical Sciences (same time of year, same courses). Our results indicate that students in Regents Hall have a better appreciation of what happens in science labs in disciplines outside of their major, are more satisfied with the number of windows, have a greater sense of connection with the outside world, like coming to the laboratory more, are better able to stay focused, and are less anxious to leave the laboratory at the end of the lab session. However, we found no difference in the extent to which activities outside the laboratory interfered with student's ability to focus on their work. We therefore recommend visual connectedness within teaching laboratories as a useful strategy for those considering new or renovated science facilities. (Contains 3 tables and 3 figures.)
National Science Teachers Association. 1840 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201-3000. Tel: 800-722-6782; Fax: 703-243-3924; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Minnesota