Impact of Giving: Western Security Bank

Harnessing tech for synergistic learning

Montana State University Billings College of Business and MSU Billings Foundation launched a state-of-the-art

Technology Enhanced Interactive Learning (TEIL) Room October 5, 2016, thanks to a generous gift by Western Security Bank, a division of Glacier Bank. “At Western Security Bank we’ve had a long relationship with MSU Billings,” said Western Security Bank President Mike Seppala at the ribbon cutting. “We look to this institution for our staffing needs and for a lot of other needs, too. The impact this University can have is so great.”

The TEIL Room mimics an environment similar to what students will encounter in their careers – team-based groups utilizing technology to innovate and leverage solutions. Six collaborative tables with six seats, each outfitted with Cisco SX20 and WebEx integration, allow students to share documents and presentations. This is the second time Western Security Bank has supported a major technological development to benefit students at MSU Billings.

“Isn’t it great we’re involved with a University that wants to give its students the opportunities and tools they need to succeed? And that’s really what this is all about,” said Seppala.

Western Security Bank’s support of the TEIL Room is a natural fit for the bank group given its long-standing history of community involvement and roster of MSU Billings alumni in its employ. The room was christened the Western Security Bank TEIL Room in MSU Billings College of Business.

“We know from our experience with the other TEIL room that students are more engaged in a facility like this. They are not only more engaged, they learn better. And when they learn better, their grades are better,” said Dr. Barbara Wheeling, Dean of the College of Business. “But it’s more than just learning the content. You can see by how this is configured that students are learning in groups, so they’re learning how to collaborate and engage in teamwork. These are the kinds of things they’ll take to the workplace.”

Wheeling said her vision would be that every student in the College of Business would have at least one class in this room.

Bryan Kern, a senior accounting student, said the room helps students gain “soft skills” – learning how to discuss and present to a group, while using technology, and work as a team to resolve conflict. It also affords students the opportunity to get it wrong. Western Security Bank gift harnesses tech for synergistic learning.

“I think it’s important to note students need to make mistakes here where the costs are low and learn from those mistakes,” said Kern. “I know the TEIL Room is enhancing my education and I know it’s enhancing other students’ education.”

Chancellor Dr. Mark Nook noted the TEIL Room is just one piece of building a prepared and capable student. Nook commended MSU Billings instructors for “stepping up and learning that technology and figuring out how they can make a difference in students’ lives through that technology, through their teaching techniques, through their pedagogy. Our faculty makes sure the students aren’t just ready to take that first job, but are ready to move into leadership positions because of the experiences they’ve had here at MSU Billings.”

The Future of Learning is TEIL

The TEIL (Technology Enhanced Interactive Learning) Room provides an active learning environment within the classroom and additionally connects faculty and students outside of the classroom. This builds a virtual collaboration group consisting of classroom students, content providers, and students from off-campus. It enhances faculty resources in a flipped classroom where the faculty can spend valuable time with the students solving problems.

The design is distinctive by combining the established idea of collaborative group problem solving, adding the notion of video connectedness between the student collaboration groups, faculty member, and off-campus students. The student is then connected to their collaborative group, other classroom groups, off-campus students, faculty member, and other off-campus content resources.

This is accomplished by collaborative furniture containing document and video sharing technologies, telepresense equipment connecting and managing all the work group tables electronically, and faculty development.

Room specifications:

  • 6 collaborative tables with Steelcase furniture with 6 seats and pucks, one Cisco SX20 per table.
  • 6 Virtual pucks to connect to video system for document sharing.
  • 1 SX80 at the front of the room for instructor and general presentations.
  • WebEx integration with the room as a whole and each table.
  • Technology support for each classroom during sessions.
  • Pedagogical support for the faculty in developing their teaching methodology.

For more information about contributing to this forward-thinking project, please contact the MSU Billings Foundation at 406.657.2244, 888.430.6782, or

Ribbon Cutting

A ribbon cutting was held October 5 to launch the cutting-edge learning space.


Bryan Kern

Bryan Kern, a senior accounting student, shared his experience using the TEIL Room.


Student Group

Students learn in groups, collaborating and engaging in teamwork.