iLab Immerses Students in Multimedia Environment
The introduction of faster and better information technology tools, such as personal computers and laptops, has been constant since their arrival on campuses over the past two decades. So it’s not unusual that as tools have changed, the facilities, such as the campus computer center, have too.
Howard University’s $5 million, 21,000 square-foot iLab updates the concept of the old-fashioned computer center. The iLab houses Howard’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, which assists faculty members in incorporating technology into their teaching. It serves both faculty and students while providing an impressive array of computing machines — from Silicon Graphics, Inc. workstations to colorful Apple Computer iMacs.
Unlike the old model of the general computer center, the iLab, which opened in the spring, supports a variety of specialized functions, such as distance education and faculty information technology training. The availability of high-end computing machines such as the workstations reflect the fact that computer centers are needed less to provide general computer access and more to support students who need tools to do advanced design, engineering, scientific, statistical and programming work.
“[The iLab is] designed to address the needs of the general student, as well as the student who has advanced computing work to do,” says Dr. Charles W. Moore, director of user support services and iLab at Howard University.
Converted from an old bakery, the two-floor iLab’s interior design places an emphasis on comfort and multimedia. Barbara Laurie, a Howard University professor of architecture, served as lead draftswoman for the renovation.
Banks of television sets endow the central computer room with an ambience of multimedia saturation. Students can also plug earphones into wireless audio ports, allowing them to further cocoon themselves in multimedia bliss.
— Ronald Roach
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