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Evaluation of the Link: Teaching and Learning Center

In August 2008, the Duke Teaching and Learning Center “Link” opened in the Perkins Library Lower Level. The technology-enhanced classrooms and group study spaces have been particularly designed to accommodate and encourage collaborative work and project-based learning activities. This project represents the culmination of years of planning and has been influenced by several recently renovated prototype spaces. As Duke prepares to undertake a significant amount of classroom construction and renovation over the next decade, this project represents a significant opportunity for evaluation and assessment to inform the many academic space planning decisions that lie ahead.

Purpose of the evaluation

  1. Confirm that the space planning principles used in designing this space meet the needs and expectations of faculty and students and provide concrete recommendations for academic space planning of new campus
  2. Determine whether the service model, staffing, and equipment at the Service Desk meets the needs of formal and informal use of the facility
  3. Assess policies developed by the TLC Core Planning Group and Service Team and recommend necessary changes
  4. Capture and describe examples of innovative teaching and collaborative, authentic learning experiences
  5. Determine the operational costs associate with managing services, technology and facilities in the Link.

Assessment of the Link

The initial success of the LINK has created a strong foundation for future growth. However, the remainder of this academic year will be a critical time. In Spring 2009, all elements of the space should become fully operational. Use of the space for scheduled classes will also be increased, and demand for other types of use is rising and is expected to be greater than in Fall 2008. Meeting the needs of scheduled classes, accommodating ad hoc use, determining priorities for access, and ensuring continued excellence of the technology and facilities will be an increasing challenge. Specific challenges for the remainder of this academic year and beyond include:

  1. Ensure that academic use remains the top priority while also accommodating some important non-academic uses and special events.
  2. Provide a technology infrastructure that supports high-end users without compromising support, ease of use and reliability for baseline users.
  3. Engage more faculty and courses in experiments with promising pedagogies and classroom technologies, especially those already available in the Link.
  4. Develop a seamless, proactive support structure that can scale to support increased use and high levels of Service Desk traffic.
  5. Improve communication and outreach about the Link’s policies and features.
  6. Collaborate with students to identify feasible ways to prioritize group use of group study spaces.
  7. Ensure that lessons learned continue to be captured and shared broadly for the benefit of all stakeholders, including the broader higher education community.

Assessment Report

The Link Assessment report was presented to Duke University senior leadership (including the Provost, CIO and Trinity College of Arts & Sciences Deans) on March 17, 2009. Findings of this report were also shared with the Duke Information Technology Advisory Committee (ITAC) on March 26, 2009. Changes were implemented based on the recommendations in the report prior to the spring 2010 term. Furthermore, Link services staff under the direction of senior leadership will continue to assess the Link design and service model as part of a continuous effort to improve Teaching and Learning resources at Duke.

Contents of this Report

  1. Evolution of LINK
  2. Assessment of the project
  3. Detailed findings
    1. Overall reactions to the project
    2. Formal learning spaces
    3. Case Studies of LINK Courses
    4. Informal learning spaces
    5. Technology in the LINK
    6. Service Desk and other support
  4. Current challenges and future needs
  5. Appendices

Assessment Committee

Ed Gomes, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences Technology Services (Chair)
Yvonne Belanger, Center for Instructional Technology
Jean Ferguson, Perkins Library
Erin Nettifee, Office of Information Technology
Pat Hull, Office of Institutional Research
Cathy Carter, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences Facilities 
Caroline Bruzelius, Art, Art History & Visual Studies
Rick Hoyle, Psychology & Neuroscience 
Pravad Khasibalta, Nicholas School of the Environment
Deborah Reisinger, Romance Studies

Contact Us

To inquire about equipment, request a consultation, or provide feedback about your experience at the Link, contact linksupport@duke.edu.

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