New Sage Hall Learning Commons Features State-of-the-Art Collaboration Technology
By Dr. Elizabeth Hinkle-Turner, Director - Academic Computing Technical Services
University community members coming in to Sage Hall to either conduct business at the many new student academic offices located there or just to sneak a curious peak at the building's ongoing renovations should pay a visit to the second floor to glimpse one of the greatest new features of the facility: learning commons study areas for students. A little over a year ago, the first 'learning commons' facility - the Eagle Commons - was opened by the library and has proven to be a great success with students. Showcased in this Benchmarks Online article last year, the library learning commons area has cozy study areas, technical work facilities and individual rooms for meetings and study groups. The learning commons areas in Sage Hall aim to provide the same atmosphere and some similar services.
Dr. Celia Williamson, Vice-Provost for Educational Innovation, is excited about the new facility and states,
"The library . . . has been very helpful in our work on this project. We'll have a dedicated kiosk to help students connect up to the library - and a 'hotline' to facilitate that, as well. Of course, students can connect with the library from their own devices - but we're hoping a dedicated 'station' will help students remember that resource and recognize the important role of the library in their collaborative learning experiences here at UNT.
We are also hoping that what we learn at this location will inform our work as we establish as many as two other areas in Sage Hall."
Completed only a few days ago, the Sage second floor commons is a smaller area with comfortable study alcoves and plenty of wall outlets for laptop use. This area also offers some exciting collaborative technology for students with two Steelcase media:scape collaborative work spaces. These workspaces contain a large flat-panel display and a table unit where up to 4 laptops can be connected. Laptop users can easily switch their display images on the larger screen for work and study purposes. The media:scape laptop connectors work with both Macs and PCs. Mac users will need to have their display adaptors handy to hook into the unit. It is hoped that such a display feature in a comfortable work environment will make those group project assignments a more rewarding and creative learning experience. There is no need to reserve the unit or use any specialized equipment. You just sit down, hook up, and go!
In addition to the technology, comfortable and attractive furniture and wonderful task lighting is featured in the space. All UNT community members are encouraged to check out the new area and communicate its location and features to students. A larger learning commons area is planned for the first floor of Sage Hall once funding becomes available. Below is a photo gallery of the new Sage Hall learning commons:
The Sage Hall second floor learning commons features comfortable and attractive furniture and study spaces
Furniture can be moved around into different groupings as needed
Each of the two media:scape units can accommodate up to four laptops
It is easy to hook up your Mac or PC laptop and view it on the larger display
Some members of the Facilities and UIT staff enjoy checking out the media:scape