Purdue Libraries celebrate new interactive classroom, start second of three-phase renovation

November 2, 2009 Jim Bush

Students use a new interactive classroom and computer lab that is equipped with Smart Board Technology in the newly renovated the Management and Economics Library on campus.(Purdue University photo/Mark Simons)

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University Libraries isn't just about books and resource materials anymore.

A new 40-seat interactive classroom aimed at engaging students in participatory activities has been completed in the Management and Economics Library on campus. It is the first phase of a three-part, $4.2 million renovation project that will transform the Management and Economics Library - also known as MEL - into a state-of-the-art business information center.

As Dean James L. Mullins and his Purdue Libraries faculty and staff recently celebrated completion of the first phase, he announced the beginning of a second phase. He detailed the project at the annual fall meeting of the Libraries Dean's Advisory Council.

Students are already taking advantage of the project's first phase. The interactive classroom and computer lab has Smart Board technology, group work stations and tools for instructors to increase student engagement. Work also is finished on the Corporate Study Room, a quiet study area for group work, meetings or individual study.

"The reconceptualization of MEL space from a more traditional book-centered facility into a collaborative student learning place changes the essence of a library," said Tomalee Doan, associate professor of library science and head of the Division of Humanities, Social Science, Education and Business for Purdue Libraries. "The MEL redesign provides faculty with the opportunity to develop new teaching pedagogies and for students to benefit from those new methods. Students are no longer just recipients of knowledge, but also are collaborators and producers of knowledge, and they're much more active participants in their own learning and discovery process. Everyone benefits."

The renovation has drawn good reviews from students using the facility.

"MEL has provided students a much-needed place to study in a comfortable, quiet community setting," said Brett Schwab, a senior in the Krannert School of Management and student ambassador. "It has allowed students to interact with some of the most advanced computer lab technology on campus with the use of interactive screens and other various presentation equipment."

Elizabeth Jenkins, also a student ambassador and senior in the Krannert School, said, "The new Learn Lab is amazing. The professors are able to teach more easily with the high-tech boards, and the computer pods are great for team work. I look forward to having more class meetings there."

The second phase will include several team collaboration media stations, a mulitmedia production center, two semiprivate group study rooms, and a business information mini-classroom to support the accounting and finance curriculum. The third and final renovation phase will include a coffee shop and gathering space.

Writer: Jim Bush, 765-494-2077, jsbush@purdue.edu

Source: Tomalee Doan, 765-494-2928, tdoan@purdue.edu