Anna Ruth Gatlin


When Auburn University faculty were tasked with switching to remote instruction halfway through the semester, Dr. Gatlin wondered how she would shift her interior design studio class online. “Break out rooms changed everything. Students were already working in teams to design a floor plan for a service-based business so shifting online didn’t change their research strategy much.”

What did change was Dr. Gatlin’s delivery of her studio. Dr. Gatlin starts her 3-hour design studio by meeting as a whole group on Zoom to review concepts applicable to everyone. Then she uses Zoom breakout rooms to split her 19 students into their groups to work on their project. Dr. Gatlin joins each breakout room for 20 minutes to see progress from each group. At the end of the studio, she brings her students back together to debrief, answer questions, and wrap up the class.

“Once they enter the workforce, most interior designers will work in a different place then where their project is located. I think switching to Zoom is helping build capacity and skills our students need in this ever-changing, global world. It’s important to work with their teams in a different place but with a common goal.”

When asked if she had anything else to add Dr. Gatlin was quick to note “You can’t manage breakout rooms with a co-host, you have to be the only host!”

Last modified: April 28, 2020