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Ohio University Chillicothe's Learning Commons receives rave review

ATHENS, Ohio (Jan. 18, 2007) -- Dean of Ohio University Libraries Julia Zimmerman gave the computer lab in the Ohio University Chillicothe Campus Learning Commons a thumbs-up during a recent visit. Zimmerman toured the facility, located in the Stevenson Center, with the campus' interim Director of Information and Technology Services Patty Griffith.

Ohio University Chillicothe Learning Commons. "This is a creative use of space that advances and supports the campus' educational mission. I love the way the room looks, with an open and friendly atmosphere. It is also extremely functional in that the computer lab opens the doors to such student-centered offerings as the tutoring services," Zimmerman remarked. "The students who are using the computer stations are obviously energized. It is a fabulous facility."

Zimmerman remarked on the forward-thinking aspect of the Learning Commons, which is modeled after a similar facility in Alden Library on the Athens campus.

"While several large universities have a type of learning commons, it is unusual for a smaller campus such as Chillicothe to have this type of facility that meets the students' needs so well. In a commuter campus environment, there is an increased need for a gathering place for students since they do not have residence halls, and this meets that need in a way that helps to establish a real sense of community," Zimmerman said.

The Learning Commons consists of Quinn Library, the Writing Center, the Math Center and the computer lab. 

The spacious computer lab opened fall quarter. With an open floor plan and abundant windows, the room has an open, airy look that creates a comfortable atmosphere for students and encourages them to become engaged with one another in their educational pursuits.

"The design was based on input from students and faculty. We had focus groups and a Web survey to gain insights from those with a vested interest in the effectiveness of the facility," Griffith said.  "While the space was previously underutilized, it has become a hub of campus. This facility offers an opportunity to build a sense of campus community and to expand the college experience beyond the classrooms and labs."

The computer lab features nearly 40 work stations, wireless capability, three small group rooms with tables and seating for six individuals and mobile furniture that allows students to design their own study spaces.

"This is one of the most attractive spots on campus, and we sought to use the space in a way that continues the campus' focus on students," Griffith said.

The computer lab is available for use by OU-C students, faculty and staff. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. The facility is closed on Sundays.

"We wanted to create a space that is essentially one-stop shopping for students and their study needs," Griffith said. "With access to the tutoring services and the multi-dimensional aspect of the computer lab, the lab does serve students of virtually all academic pursuits."

Besides offering a study center for students, the computer lab is used for other purposes such as proctoring tests, online and independent study courses, and entrance placement tests in English, math and reading.

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