Gaines 101 is among the largest classrooms on the MSU Campus. Social distanced capacity is about 100 students, but without social distancing, the room seats 300 students.

Large lecture courses commonly using the room include CHMY 141 and ECNS 101.

Gaines 101 lecture hall, view from rear

General Layout and Features

The room is arranged as a conventional lecture hall, with a large instructor area on the west side flanked by two large projection screens mounted overhead. Students are seated in individual wheeled chairs behind rows of fixed countertop tables.

The floor of the hall is stepped up gradually from west to east so that the back (east) end of the room is higher than the front (west) end.

Gaines 101 floorplan

Instructor Features

As a large conventional lecture hall, the instructor podium is located centrally in the front of the room. Although whiteboards are provided, most instructors find that students beyond the first few rows will have difficulty seeing whiteboard text and diagrams. Instead, instructors generally use the two large overhead display screens for visual information.

View of classroom from Podium:

View of class from instructor's podium in Gaines 101


Instructor's Podium:

The podium is equipped with a computer and display for the instructor's use.  The podium also has a document camera and a large demonstration table with an overhead camera. Wired connections are provided for a carry-in laptop computer or other device (VGA or HDMI). The podium is also equipped with a ShareLink wireless interface, allowing a wireless connection from the instructor's laptop, pad computer, or mobile phone.

Instructor Podium in Gaines 101

Instructor's Demonstration Table with Overhead Camera:

Demonstration podium with overhead camera in Gaines 101

Gaines 101 has dual projection capability, which allows different material to be shown simultaneously on the two display screens. For example, one screen can display a PowerPoint slide from the podium computer while the other screen displays a document camera view or an image from a laptop computer or other mobile device.

Display control screen in Gaines 101

Best Practices Tips for Gaines 101

Since this is one of the largest classrooms at Montana State University, instructors must anticipate the challenge of trying to keep as many as 300 students simultaneously engaged in learning.

  • Display screens are large, but fine detail will not be visible in the back of the hall. Choose images carefully.
  • Speech intelligibility in a large hall with a public address (PA) system is obviously quite different than in a small classroom. Speak especially clearly and consistently using the microphone. This will take some practice.
  • It is possible for students to ask questions in a large class, if the instructor explains how to do so. Some instructors have students raise and wave their arms, or hold up a red card, or even have students shout "STOP" to get the instructor's attention!
  • Engaging the class by asking questions of the students can be tough in a big classroom. Some instructors find good success by asking "raise your hand" types of questions, like "How many of you think the speed of sound increases as the air temperature increases?" This can give a very rapid visual of class engagement and feedback. Other instructors utilize the i-clicker system to have individualized and collective response tallies.

Gaines 101 Classroom Features summary

ADA Desk


ADA Hearing

Laptop (wired)

Two Projection Screens (dual projection)

ShareLink (wireless)

Ceiling Mounted Projectors

Adjustable Room Lighting

Document Camera

Instructor Microphone

Demonstration Camera

Lecture Capture Support

Podium Computer (Windows)

White Boards