New collaboration stations on Washington St. Campus improve student interaction

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April 11, 2012

By Brooke Self | Ranger Reporter

Amarillo College students have a new way to interact with one another. Collaboration Stations were installed on the Washington Street Campus last week and are expected to become a big hit among AC students, according to Cara Crowley, director of the Title V Project.

“We hope it will be a big hot spot for the students,” Crowley said.

The new stations accommodate several students at once. A total of five Collaboration Stations are located on the first floor of the Lynn Library on the Washington Street Campus. Two of them can accommodate up to four users each, two have the ability to hold six users each, and AC has one that as many as 10 students can use at once.

“The Collaboration Station became available for students’ use, and I have already seen some using them this morning,” Crowley said April 5.

The idea that AC should get some of the technologically driven work stations was presented by Mark Hanna, director of Lynn Library and the Learning Center. Hanna saw a story about the Collaboration Stations that the University of Pennsylvania had installed and decided that AC should have them, so he and Crowley began seeking funding.

“Our funding came from two different sources,” Crowley said, “one of them being the Title V project grant, and the other was the Perkins Basic State Grant.”
Developed by Steelcase, a technology provider, the Collaboration Stations were developed so students can work simultaneously with one another on their projects on a shared big screen by simply plugging in their laptops. The only other thing students need to access the work stations is a Google account.

“Students who do not have a laptop available for their own use may check out a laptop from the Help Center, which is a part of the Center for Teaching and Learning, located here on the first floor of the library,” Crowley said.

The stations do several things, including allowing students to move their desktop to the big screen and capturing a real-time record of information sent between two participants. Students using the equipment can “jump” to the big screen by just moving their mouse past their laptop screen.

“This is going to be a very extreme improvement for those who need to work on their projects, especially when classes are held and you can’t utilize the labs,” said Angel Pilkington, a graphic design major.
Along with the new work stations, 10 Reno lounge chairs with tablet arms designed to accommodate computing devices also were installed to add to the library’s new and technological atmosphere. The chairs were purchased, along with the work stations, for a total of $100,000.
“I think AC went above and beyond,” Pilkington said. “This is just totally awesome.”

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