In the March 24th, 2016 issue, the Blue and Gray Press Editorial Board published an article entitled “Incoming students not getting what they are advertised.” In this article, the Board suggests that some of the university’s features are oversold to incoming students, and cites the Hurley Convergence Center as a prime example.
The Board points out that for any student who owns a “recent MacBook and a personal printer…the Hurley Convergence Center does not offer anything new in the way of technology for them.” This may be true, I’m not really in a place to say; my own MacBook dates back to 2007. But I have some familiarity with the technology available at the HCC, and I feel that some aspects of the building’s available resources were left out of the Board’s account. I will attempt to fill in some of these gaps, and leave it to the reader to decide whether or not a MacBook offers the same level of service.
To begin, the Editorial Board is absolutely correct on one point: the main lobby (though located on the 2nd floor of the building, not the 1st) does contain less than twelve computers for public use. There are eight dual-boot iMacs in the lobby proper, and they are indeed chained to a single network printer.
Also on this floor, however, are three small collaboration rooms and one larger conference room, each containing a desktop PC connected to either a large-screen tv or an HD projector. These rooms are open for reservation, online or at the nearby Info Desk, with the same priority given to all reservations, whether made by students, faculty, or staff. When unreserved, anyone is welcome to use these rooms (or any of the five other conference rooms in the building) to make use of the computers, or connect a personal computer to the rooms’ viewing screens.
If all of these stations are occupied, there are an additional sixteen iMacs, all with the Adobe Creative Suite and many other programs, available in the computer lab on the 1st floor of the building, alongside a second network printer. Just down the hall, another five high-end dual monitor iMacs can be found in the Multimedia Editing Lab, hosting a wide range of cutting-edge audio and video editing software.
But computers are not the only technology available to students at the Convergence Center. The 1st floor also houses a vocal recording booth, as well as a full video production studio with three professional-grade video cameras (two HD and one 4K) and a floor-to-ceiling immersive green screen. All students are welcome to use these facilities, whether for a class or just for fun, after a brief training session.
The Digital Auditorium can also be found on this floor: a flexible-use venue available for student groups to host concerts, dances, meetings, parties, gaming tournaments, and more—any of which can be instantly recorded or livestreamed with the touch of a button. Back on the 2nd floor, the HCC Info Desk presents another technological resource. The friendly student staff here can loan out a wide variety of equipment, including DSLR cameras, HD camcorders, GoPros, tripods, microphones and audio recorders, Xbox Ones and PS4s (with games), headphones and gaming headsets, external hard drives, and even the much-touted MacBook laptops; all freely available to any student, faculty, or staff member bearing an EagleOne.
And if any of this technology is daunting, never fear! Just a short jaunt up to the 4th floor brings you to the Digital Knowledge Center, where student tutors are happy to train all comers on the use of any and all of the technology mentioned above. Tutors can also help with creating and printing projects on the 3D printer, housed here in the DKC.
The Convergence Center is open to students 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (though after 10pm you will need to swipe in with your EagleOne). I encourage everyone to stop in and take advantage of everything the building has to offer. Even the Editorial Board is welcome, with or without their recent MacBooks. Find out more at convergence.umw.edu.
HCC Building Manager