Tips for the layout of flexible learning spaces

Movable furniture and other equipment can be configured for multiple uses in CAEN’s flexible learning spaces and classrooms. An advantage is having a room that is able to be used for lecture-style teaching, student group collaborative work, or a course discussion. Wall-mounted monitors and movable whiteboards in the rooms can also aid the student learning experience.

The recommendations below are based on interviews with College of Engineering instructors, and observations of courses utilizing flexible learning spaces.

Movable Tables and Chairs

Instructors have the opportunity to use several different layouts in flexible classrooms, and depending on their teaching needs, they are encouraged to think about the different ways the furniture can be used. For example, small group layouts allow instructors to interact directly with students, particularly during collaborative group work, as may be done in design courses. It is also important to set classroom norms at the beginning of each term, and explain the room layout(s) you will use, so students know how to arrange the furniture. Creating an image or slide, and displaying it at the beginning of the class, will aid the students in arranging the furniture to conserve class time (see our example PowerPoint template).

Example Furniture Layouts

Chrysler 133:

GFL 224:

Wall-mounted Monitors and Movable Whiteboards

Monitors around the periphery of a classroom can be connected-to in a few ways. For example, they can be used by instructors to project slides and other class content to all displays in the room, allowing students to see the material even if their back is to the instructor or the main projection screen. Students may also connect a laptop to individual monitors for collaborative work, allowing instructors to easily view and evaluate a group’s progress. Refer to our main Flexible Learning Spaces page for instructions on connecting to the monitors and changing the display settings.

Each flexible classroom also contains movable whiteboards for students to use during collaborative group work. Similar to the monitors, these can allow faculty to see student work, and offer hands-on instruction as needed.

Chrysler 133 (Lecture – Double tables) Layout

Equipment Checkout Service available to CoE students, faculty, & staff

“CAEN Chromebook”

Starting Monday, January 21, an equipment checkout service will be available to College of Engineering students, faculty, and staff. The program is administered by CAEN, and checkout will be performed at the Library Reserves Desk on the second floor of the Duderstadt Center. Chromebooks will be available for checkout by requesting a “CAEN Chromebook.” Possible future equipment includes presentation remotes, portable document cameras, microphones, assisted listening devices, USB web cameras, and VR headsets. The type and quantities of equipment may vary over time.

Refer to our Equipment Checkout Service web page for updates on the types of equipment that may be checked out, and maximum checkout duration.


MATLAB now licensed for all available toolkits

Now available in CAEN computer labs for the start of the Winter 2019 term is a new release of MATLAB that includes access to all available MathWorks toolkits. This new release of MATLAB can be accessed by selecting the version that starts with “MATLAB 64-bit R2018b” (note the “R2018b” in the name).

Later this term, ITS will make this version of software available for download and installation on student-owned computers. See the ITS MATLAB License for Students website (requires login) for details.


Shapiro CAEN Lab to be renovated and expanded over Spring Break

The CAEN Lab in Shapiro B000 will undergo renovations, and be closed from February 25 until March 11, 2019. Most of the renovations are being scheduled during Spring Break to minimize disruption. After the renovations, the number of computers will increase to 50. The renovations will include an expanded space with new modern furniture and chairs, as well as new carpet and paint. The new furniture will feature both conventional and sit-stand workspaces, and will have a mix of collaborative and individual workspaces with some acoustic and visual privacy.


Remote access to LS-DYNA will be removed in Winter 2019


Starting Friday, January 4, students and faculty will no longer be able to access the LS-DYNA software application using CAEN’s remote access services. This includes both the Windows Remote Desktop Service and the Linux Login Service. Due to vendor licensing terms and conditions, access to the software must be removed from these remote access services.

LS-DYNA will continue to be available locally in CAEN computer labs, and on computers in the Duderstadt Center that use the CAEN Lab Software Environment (CLSE).

Questions about this change can be directed to the CAEN Help Desk by phone at (734) 764-2236, or by email to


Flexible Learning Spaces now available in some College classrooms

Some College of Engineering classrooms, including two CAEN computer labs, are now equipped as flexible learning spaces through the use of highly flexible furniture and integrated technology. These classrooms can be reconfigured for multiple uses, such as lecture-style teaching, allowing students to collaborate and work together in groups, and engaging in a whole-class discussion. Many rooms also have wall-mounted monitors that can be used to display content from the instructor lecturn, or individual student laptop connections at each station.

Classroom Capacity Movable Furniture Movable Whiteboards Perimeter Whiteboards Wall-mounted Monitors
Chrysler 133 84
Dow 2150 62  
EECS 4440 35 (w/CAEN computers)
FXB 1008 60      
FXB 1032 25  
GFL 224 48 (w/CAEN computers)
G.G. Brown 1025 24  
G.G. Brown 1045 24    
G.G. Brown 2147 56
G.G. Brown 2153 56


Training & drop-in help sessions for the Flux to Great Lakes HPC migration

As announced by ARC-TS, the Flux high-performance computing (HPC) cluster will be replaced in early 2019 with a new computing cluster named Great Lakes. Since there are a number of differences between Flux and the new Great Lakes environment, a test cluster named Beta has been created and is now available for researchers who would like to get started learning about the new environment.

In order to assist researchers, CAEN will be holding two training sessions in November for experienced Flux users who would like to get an early start learning the Great Lakes environment. Seating is limited, so we encourage users to register for a training session using the following links:

Three drop-­in help sessions have also been scheduled to assist researchers who are migrating their data and code to the new environment. There is no need to register for these drop-in sessions, which will be held at the following times and locations:

  • Tuesday, November 20 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. in Beyster 1620
  • Tuesday, December 4 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. in GFL 224
  • Wednesday, December 5 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon in EECS 4440

Anyone who has questions about these training sessions or the new Great Lakes environment, or would like to schedule an individual consultation, may email us at coe­-research­


Updated VNC client now available for download

Due to the change that Duo Two-Factor Authentication will be required for all CAEN remote access services starting Wednesday, October 3, CAEN has released an updated version of our VNC client for connecting to the Linux Login Service. Along with this change, the names of the available servers have also been updated:

  • When connecting from an on-campus network (excluding U-M VPN networks), select:
  • When connecting from an off-campus network, select:

For a link to download the newest version of the VNC client, and instructions on using it to connect, refer to our knowledge base article: How do I connect to the Linux Login Service using the CAEN VNC client?


Locations of the newest computers in CAEN Labs

Approximately 220 new HP Z2 computers will be installed during this Fall term, in the following CAEN student computer labs and learning centers:

  • Duderstadt Center
  • IOE G610
  • NAME 134
  • Pierpont B521

The new computers will have the following specifications:

  • Combination of Small and Mini Form Factor case sizes
  • CPU: Intel Core i7-8700 6C 65W
  • RAM: 16 GB (2×8 GB) DDR4 2666 NECC
  • Graphics: GFX NVIDIA Quadro 4 GB P1000 mDP(4)
  • Disk: SSD 512 GB Z Turbo Drive 2280 TLC

Approximately 20 HP Z38c 37.5” LED monitors (the largest individual displays in a CAEN Lab so far) will be installed as they arrive over the Fall term in:

  • Duderstadt Center
  • FXB B085