Improvements are always under way all over Walla Walla University’s campus. With this constant activity going on, some improvements go unnoticed. One recent development on WWU’s campus is the renovation of an old engineering lab into the new STEM computing lab in room 348 of Kretschmar Hall. It features 34 new work stations with flip-top desks, meaning students can have their monitor flipped out when computers are needed in class or flipped in when they need a flat surface to write and take notes on. The lab is meant to be more of a teaching lab for classes rather than a lab for individual student work outside of class.
“The new computer lab was a cooperative endeavour between the computer science department, the School of Engineering, and information technology,” says Jonathan Duncan, chair of both the math and computer science departments. “The CS department has needed a ‘teaching lab’ which would allow us to have students access computers when needed and pay attention to lectures at other times. We've also wanted a lab that would be more conducive to group work than the standard PC labs which have a cubicle for each workstation.”
The three departments met last spring to talk about repurposing and expanding the engineering lab at the time into a teaching lab with a larger capacity, which could be used for CS classes during the mornings and engineering labs in the afternoon.
“Students seem to enjoy the new teaching approach, and this interactive learning environment is more effective for computer science. The versatility of this lab reinforces interactive learning with lecture without distraction and hands-on lab in one room,” says Susan Alexander, visiting professor of computer science, who currently teaches two classes in the new STEM computing lab.
Posted November 30, 2016