A large part of the planning that goes into updating classrooms and labs is assessing their current state. What’s working, what’s not, and what can we be doing better? In some cases, it’s not just the technology that needs to change. For most of the last decade, our labs were just rooms full of computers with students stationed onsite to answer questions and report problems back to our main office. Some rooms could be scheduled for classes, but when there were not any going on, they became public spaces for anyone on campus who needed access to a computer. While most people here have pretty basic needs—like checking Facebook and email, or using Office to work on homework—some assignments demand a more robust experience and can only be completed by using more complex (and often more expensive) software. In order to better serve our users and best utilize resources, we split our computer labs up into three distinct types:
Computer-rich Classrooms (Central Classrooms 311, Derby Hall 029, Hagerty Hall 186, Campbell Hall 119) These rooms can be scheduled for classes through the Registrar just like any other room in the classroom pool. Each student station has a computer with our full software suite installed, as does the instructor podium at the front of the room. All computers are equipped with SMART Sync software, which allows the instructor to monitor and control all student computers and helps to facilitate group work. In Derby Hall 029 and Hagerty 186, Cisco video conference units have also been installed and integrated into the system controls. The only major difference between them is that Derby 029 and Central 311 are PC labs, while Hagerty 186 and Campbell 119 both have Macs.
Digital Unions (Science and Engineering Library 370, Hagerty Hall 171a) Students and instructors working on some of those more complex projects can go to these locations for access to Adobe Creative Suite, other media editing tools, and general support for teaching and learning with technology. The DU’s knowledgeable staff is there onsite to help, so if you have questions or need more personal assistance, you can stop in, or contact them here in advance. These locations cannot be scheduled, so access to computer workstations is first come, first served. Since you’re reading the DU blog right now, you should already have a pretty good idea what I’m talking about.
Public Computing (Baker Systems 590, Science and Engineering first floor, Thompson 160, all other libraries) Since most students now are familiar enough with computers to solve the majority of their own problems, the amount of public locations we staff has been cut down to three. Those looking to kill time on Facebook, write a paper, or print something out, would be best served going to any of these. The software available is more limited, but you’ll still find everything necessary to handle basic needs (browsers, MS Office, etc.). Public spaces have a lot of traffic, which means more wear and tear on the computers and more technology to replace. If you ever notice a problem, please let us know by sending an email to email@example.com.
While these are the only rooms that currently fall under these descriptions, over the next few years, you’ll be seeing more and more of each as we move along with planned upgrades. For more details, virtual tours, and news about these and other new or experimental classroom and lab spaces, check out http://go.osu.edu/featuredspaces.