Students were greeted this semester with new and updated technology spaces, designed to make collaborating or connecting easier.
Three classrooms on UB’s North and South Campus got a much-needed facelift for the fall. Norton 112 (Woldman Theater), Kimball 108 and Kimball 126 were all remodeled and given a complete architectural refresh.
Workers gutted and remodeled the rooms over the summer from floor to ceiling, improving the acoustics, and replacing the seating and lighting.
In addition to the floor-to-ceiling remodeling, each classroom was fitted with new instructional technology. Teaching stations have new control systems, upgraded touch screens, document cameras, computers, microphones and access to high definition video.
Laptop display capabilities were also added to ten small classrooms in Bell, Norton, Capen, Cooke, and Talbert. The added technology in these classrooms allows instructors to utilize their own laptops for PowerPoint and other applications to enhance instruction.
Architectural updates around UB’s campuses aren’t stopping any time soon. As UB 2020, the university’s expansion plan, continues to thrive and buildings are added, more construction will occur and with it more technology classrooms.
“We measure success by how many technology classrooms we have, and the goal is to get all classrooms to be technology classrooms,” said John Pfeffer, Technology Program Manager for Learning Spaces with UB Computing and Information Technology CIT).
Classrooms are not the only part of UB’s expansion plan, however, and not the only part of CIT’s summer renovation.
Over the past five years, informal learning spaces have provided convenient places for students to meet and access technology outside classrooms. New informal learning spaces have also been created in Baldy Hall and the Biomedical Education Building (BIOED). Three spaces were added to Baldy’s third floor walkway, in addition to one on BIOED’s third floor elevator lobby, making it more convenient for groups to collaborate outside the classroom. Each space offers a large LCD screen that you can run from your laptop, as well as fixed-floor seating and a desk.
Areas seen as lobbies or stopping points around campus are chosen for renovations and designed to make more comfortable places to learn and work. The new learning spaces are in addition those already in buildings such as Knox Hall, Diefendorf and the Natural Sciences Complex, just to name a few.
Plans are underway to add more in future academic years. Going forward, John and his team are looking for ways to make the spaces a little more private, as well as schedulable like the spaces available in Lockwood Library.
“I think they’re too out in the open, I think students that do want to use them need to have a little more privacy,” he added.
An exciting addition are the colorful new Express Stations in the Lockwood 2nd Floor Cybrary, which are perfect for printing or a quick email check. With monitors mounted on the wall at eye-level, there’s lots of space on the desk for you and your stuff. Bulky computer towers have been replaced by slim "virtual machines."
While work and school can always be hectic, these new and updated locations offer a chance to kick back and enjoy the space and technology you need on the go. Find computing sites and learning spaces on campus.
UB Mobile now offers even more helpful features, including a full, easy to use search of UB websites. Quick links to UBlearns and MyUB are also now available.
Using a touch screen phone? You’ll notice a new landscape mode whenever the screen is tilted horizontally. In addition, campus maps now have improved detection of your GPS location. Visit the iTunes App Store or Google Play to download UB Mobile.
As of September 23, 2013, UB’s Wi-Fi system hit a peak, surpassing 18,000 simultaneous sessions, while wireless access points (WAPS) haven't increased much at all. Take a look at the chart above to see how the numbers have grown.
Computing and Information Technology at UB is more than 40 years old. Here’s a look back at the Interface newsletter from February 1990. (Please note: this PDF file includes perturbations natural to the duplication process at the time.)