September 28, 2004

Collaborative Learning Computer Lab Opens

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Welcome to the Cornell Library Collaborative Learning Computer Laboratory (CL)3 where the days of strictly solo and stationary computing are over.

Yesterday was the official opening of (CL)3, a new computing laboratory in Uris Library featuring nine computers, each with two monitors, keyboards and mice.

“This is an interactive space where students can collaborate,” said Sarah Thomas, university librarian.

Thomas and Provost Biddy Martin introduced the laboratory opening with Prof. David Schwartz, computer science.

Schwartz came up with the idea for the unique laboratory.

“There are shape-shifting tables so that groups of 2, 4, 6, or even 8 people can be working on one project simultaneously,” he said. He then helped move the tables around to show how they can be rearranged.

“It’s a new type of lab on campus specifically designed for students to work together.” said Steve Weidner, instructional designer for Cornell Information Technologies. He said that after getting the grant for the laboratory in late 2001, he helped build the full size mock-up of the lab with tables built out of pink foam insulation sheets in the summer of 2002.

“The lab is almost a learning playground.” said Schwartz.

Two classes are currently taught in (CL)3: COM S 100: Introduction to Programming and CIS 300: Introduction to Computer Game Design.

According to Colin Campbell ’05, a CIS 300 TA, “It’s fantastic because we can show video games on this big screen while we’re teaching the class.”

“There is a lot involved in making video games and everything you need is in this lab,” he added. “When the students do get into their groups they seem to be more productive now that they can move the tables around,” said Mohan Rajagopalan, computer science.

RJ Meyers grad, senior student lab operator, said that the lab is open to public use and hardware such as digital video cameras, still cameras, tripods and a projector can be loaned out for 24 hours. “It’s essentially the same as checking out a book, but you should probably make a reservation,” he said.

The lab has wireless internet in addition to DVD+R burners on all of the computers so that students can burn the projects they are working on. The lab also has equipment for transferring digital mini tapes to analog VHS tapes and vice-versa as well as moving a computer video file onto a VHS tape.

He said that the lab is starting to attract groups making music videos.

“This kind of equipment costs thousands, the software alone probably costs $10,000 and you wouldn’t have access to it unless you went to a lab,” said Zachary Zito ’05.

Tony Cosgrave, manager of (CL)3, said, “we were able to expand on the old lab which had 3 computers to the one now with 9 computers.”

He said that there is a possibility of getting additional equipment in the future such as wacom tablets, which allow students to draw on a pad and then have it show up on a monitor.

Archived article by Vanessa Hoffman
Sun Staff Writer