The prototype has three major components.
The first is the Information Resources Center or IRC. Four functions, previously located in three different buildings - library circulation, library reference, technical help desk and classroom support, for when faculty need audio visual equipment in their classroom - are now in one location.
The second piece is the Collaborative Learning Zone. This group study space for students takes up one half of the prototype. Flexible, movable furnishings allow students to regroup tables and chairs to serve their needs. Plasma screens on the wall enable them to pull up a table and chairs and hook a lap top to the screen to work on a group presentation together in comfort. Tables and chairs can also be pulled apart if someone wants to work independently on a lap top.
The third piece of the learning commons prototype is made up of three different parts. A learning studio, faculty lounge and a digital production room make up the Center for Teaching Excellence. The learning studio is the focal piece. Faculty can come into the learning studio and use technology in experimental ways. Xavier also anticipates it being used for workshops and for seminars.
One of the goals of the Learning Commons is to accommodate different learning styles. Students today are very familiar with technology and use it in presentations and group work.
“We are hoping that by having a place on campus that no other universities have, we can draw them in, help them be better prepared for their classes and let faculty use state-of-the-art programs in their classes,” says Alison Morgan, assistant IRC director.
A coffee cart will be stationed in the back of the first floor, adjacent to the patio area. The garden off the patio will also be open in case students want to take advantage of a nice day to meet outdoors using Xavier’s wireless connection.
“This Learning Commons is Xavier’s response to the changing needs of twenty-first century learners,” says Associate Provost for Academic Affairs Kandi Stinson.
The Learning Commons is supported by a generous gift by alumni Beth & Phil Gasiewicz. Phil said, “I'm convinced the Learning Commons is a project that will light a great way forward in efficient education--we're very pleased to have been able to support it.”
The ribbon-cutting launches a week full of events to introduce the Xavier community to the Learning Center and its unique characteristics and qualities. Events will continue throughout the week.