November 14, 2000

Amphitheater Dedicated

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The high-tech distance learning capabilities of the renovated Harriet Stein Mancuso ’73 Amphitheater in Myron Taylor Hall were demonstrated at the dedication ceremony in memory of the late alumna yesterday.

Fully equipped with instructor and student-tracking cameras, a large screen for projecting images and audio-visual recording equipment, the law school classroom will be able accommodate 150 students who can see, hear and interact with other students in teleconference classrooms around the world.

“The video-conferencing capabilities of this room allow us to ignore distance and to view academics, lawyers and judges situated anywhere on the globe as prospective presenters, commentators and mentors for our resident students,” said Peter W. Martin, Jane M. G. Foster Professor of Law and co-director of the Legal Information Institute.

Through this technology, professors can integrate relevant materials from the Internet into their classroom presentation.

Each student’s desk is equipped with a microphone to pick up comments from other seminar participants and speakers. The wall-mounted cameras can track the instructor moving throughout the classroom and zoom in on a particular student called upon to answer a question.

“The technology enriches the learning environment by speeding up classroom interaction,” said Prof. Robert Green, law, who used the monitor to project documents and mathematical diagrams for an income tax seminar he taught in the classroom this semester.

In addition to cutting-edge technology, the law school classroom also displays the only known plaster-cast replicas of the Law Codes of Gortyn, which were the set of rules governing the ancient Greek city during the fifth century B.C., at the entrance.

“Just as this room bridges old and new, ancient and modern, it bridges my past with the present,” said Robert Mancuso ’73, who met his wife Harriet in the classroom 30 years ago. “The story of Harriet’s life will be retold. In that retelling some of those in the classroom may be touched, some may be inspired.”

The transformation of this ordinary classroom into a high-tech teleconference facility will provide for an interactive learning center beginning next semester.

Archived article by Dan Webb