On November 23, 2004, the UW Library officially opened the RBC Information Commons located in the recently renovated Davis Centre Library. With the aid of a $1 million donation from RBC Financial Group, the University of Waterloo is able to provide its community with the needed equipment and technology to promote an enriched e-learning environment.
The RBC Information Commons assists with the learning and research needs of students, faculty, and staff by providing access to advanced multimedia resources. Located on the main floor of the Davis Center Library, near the Information and Circulation Desks, the structure of this workspace allows for individual and collaborative learning. Several different designs for this space were initially created by students in Systems Design 348. These designs by the students served as a starting point for the architect.
Equipped with 38 multimedia workstations with an extensive suite of supported software (including Microsoft Office) and research tools, the RBC Information Commons is a technological space that promotes the scholarly use of information resources. "Because of the digital environment at UW, students can initiate a complete series of learning tasks in the RBC Information Commons all from a single networked computer workstation," writes Anne Fullerton, Librarian and Chair of the Davis Centre Information Commons Planning Team. "The spatial design of the Info Commons makes it easy for a group of students to share a computer while working on a group project, a frequent requirement in Engineering and Science." Other features include 38 express workstations, 84 Internet and power connections at study tables, and 109 silent study carrels.
RBC Financial Group's Senior Manager of Knowledge Based Industries, Michael Moore, states that "This state-of-the-art facility will be instrumental in providing e-learning opportunities to UW students, and enhancing the fantastic research work that is already being done at this fine school." University Librarian, Mark Haslett, commended RBC and other contributors for their help "with the first phase of creating the next generation library - a library that inspires, informs and educates."
In a previous news release, UW provost Amit Chakma stated that "Through the RBC Information Commons, students and researchers have access to a multitude of resources and to the technology that will allow them to think critically about the world around them." Additionally, according to UW President David Johnston, the RBC Information Commons in the Davis Centre Library "will be instrumental in changing the way e-learning takes place."
Recent positive feedback from students about the RBC Information Commons in the Davis Library includes compliments towards the physical layout of the space. Beverly Bradley, a 3B Systems Engineering student, stated that she "likes the layout and new decor—it is more vibrant." She also likes "the increase in the number of computers," a sentiment shared by fellow peer, Di Wang, a third-year student in UW's Actuarial Science Program. Another student noted that he and his peers were happy that the new computer workstations in the Information Commons provide access to a variety of software applications.
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