Potomac State Opens Teaching, Learning Commons to Enhance Faculty Teaching, Deepen Student Learning

Potomac State Opens Teaching, Learning Commons
Having just cut the grand opening ribbon in the doorway of Potomac State College (PSC) of West Virginia University’s (WVU) new Teaching and Learning Commons (T&LC) in the Mary F. Shipper Library were from left: Karen Diaz, WVU associate dean of libraries; Charles Julian, Ph.D., PSC library director; Tracey Beckley, WVU executive director of T&LC; David Miller, PSC multi-media specialist; and Jennifer Orlikoff, PSC Interim President.

Potomac State College of West Virginia University (WVU) recently celebrated the grand opening of its Teaching and Learning Commons (T&LC) – Keyser Affiliate in the Mary F. Shipper Library. The overall purpose of the T&LC is to help faculty enhance their teaching, whether on campus or online, and to deepen student learning through the integration of technology into curricula and classrooms.

David Miller, a T&LC multi-media specialist, summed up his job as “interpreting what faculty wants and needs to teach more effectively and then collaborating with them to make it happen.” This process incorporates creativity, collaboration, innovation, and balance explained Miller.

Thus far, new resources available to faculty through the T&LC include:

  • · a three-dimensional (3D) printer that was used to print water-tight components used to build a hydroponics set-up
  • · green screen video technology that Criminal Justice Instructor Nicklaus Goff  used to overlay images of himself in a multimedia integrated Power Point presentation to his class
  • · video equipment and green screen techniques that Criminal Justice Professor Heidi Samuels used to deliver online course lectures

Dean of Academic Affairs Gregory Ochoa announced during the event that the T&LC would be acquiring an unmanned aerial system drone in collaboration with the Agriculture, Forestry and Equine departments.  He explained that the drone would be used to create precise 3D maps and imagery for crop planting and monitoring, study animal behavior by providing a new aerial perspective, and monitor animal health, among other applications.

During the event, Physics Professor Joan Vogtman explained how she integrates motion pictures and hands-on activities into her class curriculum and Sociology Assistant Professor Mary Snider provided insight into integrating literature review and ethnographic research into undergraduate classwork.

A highlight of the event was when WVU President E. Gordon Gee and Associate Provost Sue Day-Perroots, both skyped in from the Morgantown campus via the beam+, a telepresence device, described as Skype on wheels. The device has video and audio capabilities and can be driven around remotely.

Tracey Beckley, Executive Director of WVU’s Morgantown-based Teaching and Learning Commons then announced that the beam+ would remain on the Potomac State campus for future use.

Associate University Librarian and Shipper Library Director, Dr. Charles A. Julian, noted, “Today’s classroom instruction and library instructional support services have dramatically improved over the talking head instructors of the past.  At the Mary F. Shipper Library, we are continuously engaged in innovative, active learning techniques and student-centered modalities to improve our students’ teaching and learning experiences.”

Potomac State Opens Teaching, Learning Commons Potomac State Opens Teaching, Learning Commons
During the grand opening of the Teaching and Learning Commons (T&LC) at Potomac State College (PSC) of West Virginia University (WVU), PSC Library Director Charles Julian explains the capabilities of the 3D printer to Tracey Beckley, WVU executive director of T&LC.  One of the new technologies available through Potomac State College (PSC) of West Virginia University’s Teaching and Learning Commons is the green screen video technology. Observing how it can be integrated into faculty curricula and classrooms are PSC employees from left: David Miller, multi-media specialist; Nicholas Gardner, library technical assistant; Dean of Academic Affairs Gregory Ochoa, Interim President Jennifer Orlikoff, and Virginia Kline, librarian.