Millennial students' and faculty's perceptions of a new generation of learning classrooms
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Today's higher education institutions are experiencing a different type of student population from previous years. They are known as gadget fanatics, social networkers, Internet enthusiasts, optimists, multitaskers, and inductive learners. Their viewpoints and aptitudes about technology and the Internet differ from others who rarely use it (Oblinger, 2003; Frand 2000). This population will present many challenges to American postsecondary institutions. Facilities, faculty, and curriculum will not be prepared to address their habits and expectations. They are called the Millennials. In an effort to start addressing the educational needs of the Millennial student population, postsecondary institutions must transition from the "old generation of learning" to the "new generation of learning" (Milliron, 2006). The purpose of the study is to explore the Millennial students' and faculty's perceptions of a new generation of learning classrooms. There were five research questions for this study: (1) What are the perceptions of a new generation of learning classrooms by Millennial students? (2) How do Millennial students relate to a new generation of learning classrooms? (3) What are the perceptions of a new generation of learning classrooms by faculty? (4) How do faculty relate to a new generation of learning classrooms? and (5) How Millennial students' and faculty's perceptions on the new generational of learning classrooms compare? Since this was a qualitative study, the Interactive Qualitative Analysis (Northcutt & McCoy, 2004) was the research design utilized to collect and analyze data that answered the research questions. A purposive sample for this study included a total of 47 participants: 26 Millennial students and 21 faculty members. One component of the research design involved focus groups for the Millennial students and faculty. Both groups identified the following themes, which were used to create an interview protocol: technology, appearance, teaching style, learning environment, writing/work space, classroom mood, climate, emotions, group assignments, and social networking. Analysis of the interview text included axial and theoretical coding. This contributed to the development of a mind map for the Millennial students and faculty. Comparisons of these two composite mindmaps reveal their perceptions of the new generation of learning classrooms.