Connecticut Hall cluster, 70 classrooms get tech revamping

Connecticut Hall, the state’s oldest building, is now home to some of the newest technology at Yale.

The Old Campus building’s computer cluster received a technological overhaul as part of a series of renovations completed this summer to improve and standardize classroom technology. The Social Science Statistical Laboratory and approximately 70 classrooms also underwent renovations, said Charles Powell, director of academic media and technology.

Powell said the renovations were designed to meet demand from professors to use technology in their classrooms. The renovations included adding new computers and software to the stat lab, as well as new computers with flatscreen monitors to the Connecticut Hall computer cluster.

All 70 renovated classrooms have a CD player, DVD player, VCR and computer interface, Information Technology Services Director Philip Long said.

Powell said he hoped the renovations would make technology more accessible to everyone at Yale.

“Every member who wants to make use of enhanced media or enhanced technology may do so,” Powell said.

Powell said that approximately 40 of the newly renovated classrooms are open for students to work in when classes are not being held. The stat lab also has extended hours for students to take advantage of the machines.

“The computers are here for the students,” said Ann Green, director of social science research services.

The renovations in the statistics lab are part of the constant improvements that the lab requires, Green said.

“Every summer we do a complete overhaul of the software,” said Green.

She said upgrades are conducted at the end of the first semester as well. The machines themselves are also replaced approximately every two years.

The demand for better technology reflects the constant dilemma of finding the “fastest, easiest, most cost-effective way” to update systems, Powell said. He added that this is challenging because machines become obsolete so quickly.

Faculty members had mixed reactions to the classroom technology changes.

Matuku Ngame, who teaches French in a revamped classroom, said she was pleased with the renovations.

“It’s easy for us to put all the media together,” Ngame said. “In the whole, it has worked very well.”

Ngame said there had been some small problems with the new technologically enhanced classroom but they were not major concerns.

“It’s a matter of getting to know the equipment,” Ngame said.

Lauren Pinzka, a French professor who uses the same classroom, said the new technology has not been helpful.

“It hasn’t been an improvement,” Pinzka said. “In fact, there have been some problems.”

Pinzka said the speakers in the classroom were not loud enough and the remote control did not allow her to rewind slowly enough for students to review material.

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