Bright Ideas

Using Cinemas as Lecture Theatres

Institution: , Toronto, , Canada

Project Partners: AMC Theatres

Ryerson University is a master at striking partnerships with downtown Toronto businesses to augment their facilities and services.  In 2008, Ryerson struck a deal with AMC Theatres that gave AMC “air rights” to build movie theatres over Ryerson’s Yonge Street parking garage. In exchange, Ryerson will get to use 12 large cinemas on weekday mornings (8am until 1pm) and 4 on weekday afternoons (1pm to 6pm) for the next 20 years. This will accommodate 12,200 students and 260 classes.

The cinemas include cupholders at each seat, and Ryerson has specially-designed writing desks that attach to the cupholders during classes. Students are reportedly more comfortable and less restless in the theatre-style seats, and the large high-definition screen is ideal for displaying intricate details, and Ryerson’s Radio and Television Arts students love the opportunity to screen their work on a real screen. The theatres are also fully accessible and convenient to the TTC subway.

“The Ryerson Lecture Theatres provide an excellent environment to teach in. Students are comfortable in their seats, so they are less restless and they concentrate more. Attendance has even increased since moving to the new space. In my Manufacturing Fundamentals class we work a lot with metrology. The large screen and high-definition projector really help engage the students. Even the students at the back can see all the gradations on the ruler, which enables them all to participate in the class.” - Dr. Krishnan Venkatakrishnan, Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Early Researcher Award recipient

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