Cal Poly Learning Commons Ribbon Cutting Launches Innovative Environment and Services for Students and Faculty
A first step towards creating Digital Teaching Library, the Learning Commons expands resources and offerings to entire campus
SAN LUIS OBISPO, California November 14, 2005 Cal Poly administrators, deans, faculty, and students were on hand Monday afternoon, November 7, for the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Learning Commons, Cal Poly's newest resource for collaborative teaching, learning and research. Developed by a partnership between the Kennedy Library, Information Technology Services (ITS) and the Center for the Teaching and Learning, the Learning Commons is the showcase of the Digital Teaching Library (DTL), an initiative "to create an environment that will foster creative, flexible relationships among students and professors, resources and technology."
"The DTL initiative provides flexible, multi-use collaborative space to accommodate teaching with technology, promotes cross-disciplinary social interactions that encourages academic and intellectual pursuits, promotes collaborative projects and creates a sense of community where students and faculty both contribute to and benefit from knowledge creation and dissemination process, in keeping with Cal Poly's long tradition of 'learning by doing,'" said Hiram L. Davis, Dean of Library Services, who served as host and master of ceremonies.
A number of ITS labs were transferred and upgraded from various campus locations to form the infrastructure of the Commons. "ITS' involvement with the Learning Commons is a further illustration of how we can support and enhance teaching and learning. We welcome the opportunity to be an active contributor to this new initiative," said Timothy Kearns, Vice Provost/CIO Information Technology Services.
The three computer "smart" labs offer students both Mac and PC environments to complete homework assignments, do online research, and attend classes. In the Mac lab, 20 Apple G5 iMacs with 20-inch LCD monitors connect to a Dell color laser printer. The PC labs offer Dell workstations with LCD flat-panel monitors, and state-of-the-art software, including CAD and other specialty design software. All rooms feature high-resolution document cameras, wall-mounted SmartPanel control interfaces, ceiling-mounted LCD projectors and DVD/VHS players. Two smart labs are scheduled by University Scheduling as classrooms either for quarter-long courses or for ad-hoc lab components of more traditional instruction. In addition, the CAD printing station provides oversized and specialized printing services.
The Learning Commons not only provides library users with access to a modern collaborative workspace, but also expertise in technology, research, and faculty development tailored to support Cal Poly's active learning communities.
"The Learning Commons better situates us to assess campus needs and assist faculty in the use new of technology and information resources to enhance faculty teaching; thus, the real beneficiaries will be our students," said Joseph Grimes, director of the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL). The CTL is partnering with technology experts from ITS and college librarians to identify projects and opportunities to support for faculty interested in the latest computer, print and electronic resources coupled with expertise in technology, research and faculty development.
"The University has plans to expand and renovate the Kennedy Library. The Learning Commons reflects the way in which the library will be re-conceptualized to become a campus center for teaching and learning," said Robert Detweiler, Interim Provost. Future library plans would provide the university with an unparalleled facility and infrastructure dedicated to faculty development and student success.
The DTL Learning Commons is a collaboration between the Robert E. Kennedy Library, Information Technology Services, and the Center for Teaching and Learning. Construction for the Learning Commons was generously provided by the Cal Poly Minor Capital Outlay funds.
Robert E. Kennedy Library has been a major resource for the Cal Poly campus for over twenty years. The Kennedy Library has a print collection of 3.5 million items, including books, journals, senior projects, master's theses, archives and manuscripts, government documents, maps, and special collections. The library also licenses more than 7,000 electronic resources, delivering full-text access to hundreds of journals directly to users via the World Wide Web. Information Technology Systems serves the campus by providing critical infrastructure, application development and user support services. The Center for Teaching and Learning supports Cal Poly's commitment to teaching excellence and faculty development by offering grants, workshops, consultations and services for new and senior faculty.
For more information about the DTL Learning Commons, please see the DTL Learning Commons Web site.