Standing and dynamic sitting in the university classroom: Perceptions of students and faculty


There are health risks associated with prolonged periods of sitting. Although alternative workstations have health benefits and do not appear to impact classroom performance, questions still remain on their acceptability. This study investigated university students and faculty perceptions of using alternative workstations (standing, sit-stand, and dynamic sitting) in the classroom. University students (N=1005) and faculty (N=218) completed a mixed-method online survey assessing their perceptions of alternative workstations in the classroom. From the quantitative data, a large portion of students believed standing, sit-stand, and to a lesser extent dynamic sitting options should be available for students in the classroom. A majority of the students also stated that they would use these options if they were available in the classroom. Students and faculty preferred alternative desks to be located in the back of small classes. Faculty members were less supportive of alternative workstations in the classroom. Qualitative themes that emerged from the data included overall perception (supportive, undecided, and opposed), personal factors (classroom performance and health/ injury) that acted as facilitators and barriers, and environmental factors (depends on the day, depends on the location/ availability, depends on the social norm, depends on the class type/ time/ task, and depends on the length/ number of classes). These factors must be considered when designing interventions to reduce sedentary behaviour or when implementing alternative workstations. At this time we recommend providing standing, sit-stand, and to a lesser extent dynamic sitting options in university classrooms to allow students to receive potential health benefits as they learn.