Lecture as workstation

Baseline: A master student spends, during her five academic years, approximately 8000 hours at the university. From this, the student follows lectures 3200 hours which means 1600 separate lectures.

Reality: During these 1600 hours on lectures of (supposed) highest academic level of professors, nearly nobody takes notes let alone envisioning the future of the topic, still less planning her own future commitment in the subject.

Manifesto: The academic lecture is the student’s workstation.

Lecture is the student’s workstation


Picture: Lecture is the student’s workstation. If the student makes notes by structuring, visualising and recording the highlights, she gets 1500 pages of academic notes in five years. If the student is passive and phlegmatic, and stares only her laptop, tablet or smartphone screen, her existence on the lecture is not worth anything.

Students-Workstation-at-university-concept-by-Juhani-Risku-architect-NTNU-Trondheim-Norway-PDF-link  16_Students-Workstation-NTNU-In-Action-Trondheim-Juhani-Risku-Outi-Alapekkala-A4-page  16_Students-Workstation-NTNU-In-Action-Trondheim-Juhani-Risku-Outi-Alapekkala-A0-poster

Left Student’s workstation PDF memo. A4 page of student’s workstation basics (middle), student’s workstation poster A0 (right). All free to download and forward.

Student’s workstation concept was developed at NTNU (Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim Norway) during autumn semester 2015 by Juhani Risku and Outi Alapekkala.

Student’s workstation is the quickest and most agile way to improve academic studies in the world’s 17 000 universities. No digital or technological means can replace pencil, paper and good lecture as academic interaction and the way to better undestanding, wider skillsets and innovation.

Student’s workstation basics

The 60-80 cm school desk in the picture seems to be a design, art and architecture students table. Why is it good for everyone studying at the university? The artists, designer’s and architect’s lecture workstation scales to all fields of academic studies, because:

  • … it can be established in one minute anywhere
  • … the costs are between 1 and 10 euros/dollars when founding it
  • … the maintenance costs are less than 5 €/$ per month
  • … you get 3-10 pages of notes, visions, plans, proposals and artworks in two hours
  • … your brains are multitasking naturally between the external context and expressions, between own inner intentions and planned actions, between own impact vs. slave morality
  • … note-making improves your critical thinking and academic independence
  • … you are a productive actor, not a dumb and phlegmatic receiver anymore

How to create a students workstation for every student?


Photos: Designer Tommaso Caldera (left) is sketching and forms and concepts. Tapio Wirkkalas workstation from 1950s (right).

Mr. Tommaso Caldera has an ideal workstation which can be applied for every student: We need paper, notebooks, pencils and colour pens. Scale models and prototypes are easily brought to the lecture. Tapio Wirkkala‘s workstation can also be applied, but one have to be careful not to taking too big prototypes, especially of thin glass, to the lecture.