Fact Sheet: Integrated Teaching and Learning Laboratory

Published: April 6, 1997

* The ITLL facility was designed by the Denver architectural firm of Klipp, Colussy, Jenks and DuBois with assistance by NBBJ Architects of San Francisco and Sheere/Leese Architects of Denver. It was built by M.A. Mortenson Co. of Denver.

* ITLL will accommodate up to 1,200 students a day, about one-half of the undergraduate engineering student body population at CU-Boulder. The building will be open for use 16 hours a day, seven days a week with the goal of having every engineering undergraduate using the facility every semester.

* More than 150 computers, including PCs and workstations, will serve as the “brain power” of the building. Capabilities of the computers include simulation, multimedia instruction, data acquisition and analysis, and control of experiments.

Students will be able to access their lab work from home via computer.

* All of the computers will be linked via two high-speed networks, allowing students to take data at any location and access it from any other location for analysis and printing. Students, for example, could ride around campus on mountain bikes toting portable, computer-based data-acquisition systems in their backpacks to measure the effectiveness of the bike’s suspension system.

* All undergraduates will have the opportunity to design, build and test projects from scratch. They also will learn through “reverse engineering” -- an educational process that involves examining and disassembling unfamiliar devices and instruments to determine their original use and function.

* A simulation lab with 25 high performance workstations will allow students to accurately model the performance of a design before it is built. The students will be able to predict stresses, measure heat transfer and model complex fluid-flow systems.

* Each section of the first-year design courses in the college is limited to 30 students. Currently, five sections focus on various topics, including creating devices for people with disabilities, designing novel air quality sensors and building zany contraptions to perform surprising functions. Each team will have one computer loaded with computer-aided design software, spreadsheets, word processing, scheduling, presentation graphics and dynamic simulation software.

* Engineering college administrators plan to replace from 15 percent to 20 percent of the ITLL equipment each year to ensure that students are working with the latest technologies. They plan to update curricula accordingly to keep up with rapid changes in the field of engineering.

* The “inside-out” design of ITLL exposes concrete and steel structural systems, fire protection and plumbing, and electrical and communication systems. Steel columns, beams and trusses are equipped with strain gauges to measure loading and deflection, and different types of window glazing allows students to study differences in solar gain and heat loss. Students will be able to measure the building’s response to wind, settling, heat and cold. Students can even manipulate the climate of a classroom on an experimental high-speed computer network.

* The building also includes 10 team study rooms, each with a dedicated computer. Both large lab plazas in the 34,400 square-foot-facility have break-out spaces for team meetings and group problem-solving sessions. The ITLL also features a large "active learning" classroom with high-tech equipment to facilitate student collaboration.

* The ITLL team is working with a number of elementary, middle and high schools to bring K-12 teachers and students to ITLL for summer training programs. In addition, they have created an alliance with the American Indian Science and Engineering Society through the Upward Bound Program to bring in American Indian high school students for summer workshops at the facility.

* A 10-foot-by-10-foot, wind-driven kinetic sculpture made of 10,000 small Mylar disks marks the northeast entrance of ITLL. The disks, which move freely on rivets, allow the wind to generate a variety of patterns on the sculpture’s face. Designed by noted San Francisco artist Ned Kahn, the sculpture is interactive, allowing passers-by to pull a lever and create their own artistic patterns with the disks.

* An indoor gallery will house science-based, high-tech kinetic exhibits that will be interactive. They include a chaotic pendulum that demonstrates nonlinear dynamics and allows students to chart plane phase trajectories, a chaotic fountain, a Taylor Column illustrating fluid mechanics and a visualization of a bubbling aquifer. A large audio-kinetic “ball machine” demonstrates concepts in dynamics. Such exhibits reinforce basic engineering concepts like dynamics, fluid mechanics and vibration.