By Dana Kastenson - COB Web Intern
Throughout the summer, the sounds of drills, hammers and other power tools could be heard around Schneider Hall. Outside a gray dumpster sat full of cinderblock and other building material. These were remnants of the Missling Business Communication Conference Room, Cargill Technology Center, and Cargill Business Telecommunications Lab and Lab annex. Come this fall semester, these rooms will have a new and updated look.
Originally slated to be updates of the existing labs, a new twist on the Missling conference room and the Cargill Telecommunications Lab came about when several faculty toured Cargill’s Minneapolis headquarters and liked what they saw.
“On the tour, we found what looked like a lounge, but was actually a technology training lab for employees,” said Dr. Thomas Hilton, chair of the information systems department.
“This room got us thinking about an entirely new design for our computer lab – one that maximized human interaction”, said Hilton.
Instead of row, upon row of individual free standing computers, the new lab features small sitting areas with comfortable upholstered chairs and benches, and electronic whiteboards that can be moved and rearranged for individual study or group work depending upon the task at hand. The room is entirely wireless and suitable for laptop use. For students who do not have their own laptops, loaners will be available in the room.
The Cargill Room also has added “connectedness”. The entrance to the Missling Conference Room has been changed and a set of double doors connects the conference room to the newly remodeled Cargill lab. Student groups can use the Missling conference room when they need additional privacy. On the other side of the room, the wall separating the lab from the Cargill Lab Annex has been removed. The test servers located in the annex are more accessible to students as only a hanging curtain of clear acrylic disks separate the servers from the main room.
As for the future of the room, Hilton said he would like to see instructors throughout the college take advantage of the unique learning environment.
“We want faculty to get excited about the room,” he said. “And we want to promote it throughout the college.”
Development team member Dr. Matt Germonprez said that he hopes the room will function as a place to build communication skills and support learning that does not come from a textbook.
Like Germonprez, COB instructional technology coordinator Dawna Drum said she is excited that the lab will bring about a new way of learning for students, especially for those working in groups.
“There aren’t many places like this,” she said.
All three said that the best part about the lab is creating an environment where people and computers can interact in an innovative way.
Once open, the lab officially named as the Cargill Collaboration Center, will function much like other labs with monitors who will be on hand during the evening hours.
In addition to the changes that have occurred in the collaboration center, the Cargill Technology Center now has a new look. Gone are the pink counters and teal chairs. The newly remodeled room features a black and tan color scheme with black ergonomic chairs.