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Grant to Provide for New Classroom Technology

In this day and age of technology-savvy students Averett needs to be seen as a progressive and modern university. Thanks to a $33,000 grant from the J.T.-Minnie Maude Charitable Trust, the University will be able to do just that. The grant will allow Averett to create a template for classroom design that features new technology.

In order to ascertain what would be the best fit for the university, a committee comprised of faculty, students and IT experts traveled to other universities in the region to see what is available at other schools. These include distance-learning at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research, New College Institute in Martinsville, and the classroom of the future on Cisco's campus, in the Research Triangle Park, in Raleigh. They also researched delivery models and best-practices from the Council of Independent Colleges Virginia (CICV) to determine what Averett needs to be competitive in this environment.

In order to deliver state-of-the-art instruction and provide global access to information, the prototype classroom will be set up with a core platform of technology and menu of options that can be added and customized, based on the faculty needs and topic areas. The committee identified three main areas of improvement:
- Faculty station podium unit with centralized control of all technology including touch screens, projector, monitor, media manager, document camera and lighting controls from a centralized podium (for dimming and presentations)
- Ergonomic furniture and chairs for students
- Innovative technology to include smart boards (with digital pens), video conferencing and web cam capability

"We are creating a completely new environment," said Don D'Alfonzo, IT director. "We want to create an environment that students want to be in and professors want to teach in."

The University has ordered the technology and furniture and plans to put the model classroom together over Christmas break, so that it is available to students and faculty at the beginning of next semester.

While this gift will only fund the creation of one classroom space, this prototype room will serve as a template for future classroom renovations.

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