Maxwell’s Global Collaboratory gets a facelift
Maxwell’s Global Collaboratory gets a faceliftOctober 07, 2003Judy Holmesjlholmes@syr.edu
Twice a year, influential people in the government, military, and the private sector gather in Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs to participate in the National Security Studies program (NSS), a partnership between Maxwell and the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. When the day’s agenda calls for a joint discussion between those gathered in Syracuse and high-level officials located in Washington, D.C., or anywhere else in the world, the technological link needs to be flawless-and it is.
The Maxwell School’s Global Collaboratory, located in Room 060 of Eggers Hall, has been the home of the NSS program since it was established at SU eight years ago. In addition to the NSS, the technological capabilities of the Collaboratory are widely used throughout the academic year by undergraduate and graduate students. The high-tech classroom also facilitates the school’s collaborative relationships in Asia, Europe, and Latin America.
“The collaboratory is Maxwell’s ‘Window on the World,’ ” says Stuart Thorson, director of information technology in the Maxwell School. “Its advanced technology is designed to project Maxwell into the larger world and bring the world to Maxwell.”
Since May, the collaboratory has been getting a facelift-its 10-year revitalization, Thorson says. The collaboratory’s new look and new, state-of-the-art technology will be unveiled in early October when the NSS program hosts its two-week National Security Leadership Course for a group of about 50 high-level leaders in the area of national security.
The technology upgrade project is the result of a University-wide collaboration involving the Maxwell School, the Office of Design and Construction, and Computing and Media Services. “People have worked incredibly well on this project to bring everything together,” says Thorson. “I am not aware of another facility with the capabilities of our Collaboratory at any other colleges or universities. In fact, we receive many inquiries about our capabilities from schools looking for a model on which to build a facility such as this.”
The redesigned Collaboratory will feature three rear projection screens located in the front of the room that will be controlled by separate laptop computers that can communicate with each other on a network. The center screen will also feature a wide-screen format. The Collaboratory previously had only one screen controlled by one computer.
“Among other things, the new screens will enable us to simultaneously project three locations during a videoconference-we can have people in Washington, D.C., New York City, and London up on screens at the same time,” says Christopher Sedore, director of the information and computing technology group at the Maxwell School. “Or, one screen could be used for a PowerPoint presentation, another for video, and the third for something entirely different. The possibilities are endless.”
In addition to the projection screens, the room will include three new plasma screen monitors, which will be mounted on the back and side walls to save presenters from having to turn away from the audience to make sure the proper images are displayed on the projection screens. The monitors will also work independently of each other. Other “bells and whistles” include an increased digital technology capacity, a digital document camera and slide projector, improved Internet connectivity and streaming video broadcast capabilities, six television cameras, improved studio lighting, a new white board,and a new neutral background screen to control visual noise during television broadcasts.
The Collaboratory also includes a portable teaching console from which lecturers can control the technologies selected for their presentations, an operations console that can be used to remotely control the technologies employed during a lecture or event, and convenient Ethernet and power hookups and tiny microphones at every seat. In addition, the heating and cooling system has been completely renovated to eliminate the white noise that had previously plagued the room.