IT News

New Student Technology Commons area in development

By Zaneta Summers, Manager of Class TIPS, Instructional and Student Computing Department, and William Frady, Manager of Instructional and Student Computing

The Division of Information Technology is taking a fresh look at the needs of WCU students and evaluating what types of IT-related services they really want. As a result, the Student Technology Commons is a new area in development.

Currently, students seeking IT assistance have to go to several locations such as the Student Computing CRIB, IT Hardware Services, Class TIPS (Technology Instruction/Peer Success) or the Help Desk. Our goal is to combine these services into the new Student Technology Commons, which will become “The Place” for students to seek technology assistance. Most students know of or have used the IT computer lab at Hunter Library, but we are working to expand what was once a standard computer lab into a new collaborative area or Commons.

The Student Technology Commons will be home to services such as Class TIPS. The goals of Class TIPS are as follows:

  • Provide training to students on the responsible and professional use of Web-based and social networking tools.
  • Engage students in the creative use of digital media tools such as movie editing, imaging and web design for course assignments.
  • Empower new learners by offering introductory workshops on office productivity tools and an orientation to onlinetraining.wcu.edu while continuing to support all students with more advanced tasks in office products.
  • Streamline services in the use of self-help tools such as wikis and other online tools.

Services such as access to computers and black-and-white or color printing will remain in the Commons, but IT will be working to add additional services such as:

  • Collaborative areas with large LCD displays for group work.
  • Comfortable furniture for students when they gather together to work on projects.
  • Technology assistants to help students with a computer software or hardware problem.
  • A drop-off location for computer evaluation (rather than taking it up to the CRIB or going over to the IT Help Desk).

IT also is working to relocate the IT Help Desk walk-up counter to the Commons. In this way, faculty, staff and students can visit the Commons for IT assistance and IT can centralize its services to better promote collaboration. Additionally, we will be evaluating when services are provided throughout the day, evenings and weekends and looking at expanding our service hours as much as funding and resources will allow.

Watch for more announcements on the Student Technology Commons or, if you have questions or suggestions, contact William Frady at frady@wcu.edu. For more information on Class TIPS, contact Zaneta Summers at zsummers@wcu.edu.