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Classroom Seating Considerations for 21st Century Students and Faculty

Eugene J. Harvey, Melaine C. Kenyon


This quantitative, cross-sectional research study explored students’ perceptions of five different seating styles within typical classrooms in an urban public higher education institution. The five seating styles included: modern mobile chairs; tablet arm chairs; fixed tiered seating with tablet arms; rectangle tables with standard chairs; and trapezoid tables with chairs on casters. To operationalize measurement of student perceptions, the Classroom Seating Rating Scale for Students (CSRS-S) was developed from the classroom and seating design literature to measure the dimensions of Comfort & Space, Learning Engagement, and Interactivity. Across all dimensions, students rated significantly highest the modern mobile chairs and trapezoid tables with chairs on casters, while traditional tablet arm chairs and fixed tiered seating with tablet arms scored lowest. Results indicate the need for campuses to (re)consider the purposes and roles of seating styles within the 21st century classrooms, with seating selection based on principles of universal design.

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ISSN: 21586195

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