Thanks to a federal government grant, nearly half a million dollars will be spent on installing video conferencing equipment in various spaces inside Laurier Brantford’s newest campus building. The $466,145 grant from the federal government’s Community Adjustment Fund will help provide a 2nd-floor classroom and several 3rd-floor spaces in the Brantford Research and Academic Centre (BRAC) with impressive sound systems, a large screens, and multiple cameras and microphones placed around the rooms to facilitate discussion amongst larger groups.
Kevin Klein, External Relations Coordinator for Laurier Brantford, says that university IT staff has described the equipment as “spectacular.”
Laurier hopes this addition will allow professors to reach out to potential course contributors that might not have the time or means to come to Brantford. Nipissing has been using its communication technology in a similar fashion with great success.
The installation is also an obvious way to promote integration between Laurier Waterloo and Laurier Brantford. With a relatively wide geographical gap between the campuses, the community divide has been a constant issue for the past 11 years of Laurier Brantford’s existence. But this new technology may help to close that gap.
“This is the next step, a technological connection,” says Klein.
The implications are significant. This system will allow students in two different cities to attend the same class at the exact same time, both groups with equal access to the professor and course content. This could allow for real-time cross-campus debates, conversations, connections and idea sharing. This change, which seems rather expensive, has the capacity to impact the way we learn here on campus and possibly even the way we view or define learning.