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A Multi-Purpose Computer Lab For A Small College

Darrah P. Chavey, Beloit College

Proceedings of the 23rd Annual ACM SIGUCCS
Conference on User Services,
1995, pp. 67-72.


Small colleges face problems in constructing computer labs that are not shared by larger institutions. Due to moderate usage, it can be difficult to justify a large computer lab used for a restricted purpose, e.g. departmental labs. When only a few classes will use "high technology" presentations, it is difficult to justify equipping a "master classroom," at least until sufficient interest is generated to leverage that construction. With smaller student bodies it becomes difficult to arrange non-credit "computer training" courses that reach enough students simultaneously. Our solution is to use the same laboratory space for several uses. Our lab is designed for, and primarily intended for, introductory computer science classes. Lab sections of CS courses are taught there several afternoons each week, with extensive use of a computer projection system. Student use for these (and other) courses is heavy during evenings. The room is used by other courses for presentations during morning and afternoon hours, e.g. for a course on "Computer Applications in Geology" and for freshmen seminars. The projection equipped computer is installed on a mobile cart and is taken to other classrooms for presentations. Self-training software has been installed, so students can learn to use computers, and most installed software, at their own pace.


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