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Sophomore pre-pharmacy majors Briann Luteran of Tomís River, N.J., (right) and Josh Rickard of Charleston.
Sophomore pre-pharmacy majors Briann Luteran of Tomís River, N.J., (right) and Josh Rickard of Charleston.

Cooper lounge heralds new age of learning

College computer labs are so last century. In fact, many colleges and universities are doing away with them altogether.

Not so at the University of South Carolina.

The university’s Thomas Cooper Library has opened a space that bridges the latest technology and today’s changing college curriculum with needs -- and wants -- of college students. The result is the Cooper Technology Lounge, a modern space that is flexible and creative and fosters collaboration.

“College students today have grown up with social networking and a curriculum that calls for greater collaboration in terms of group study, projects and presentations,” said Alma Creighton, director of library computing services. “We solicited student input for the design of the Cooper Technology Lounge, and we’ve incorporated their suggestions from the soft colors on the walls and privacy screens to the flat screen TVs and comfortable and moveable furniture. It turned out to be an amazing space.”

The Cooper Technology Lounge is the only study and computer lab space of its kind in South Carolina and one of only a few in the country.

Library Dean Tom McNally said the new space wouldn’t have been possible if not for the Class of 1958, which provided the lead gift of $115,000.

Cooper Technology Lounge Dedication Video

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Cooper Technology Lounge

  • Atmosphere: Soft colors and comfy furnishings encourage a climate of learning; most furniture is easily moved to fit the needs of any study group
  • Privacy: Sixty-four individual computer stations ring the perimeter of the facility; main area contains large, opaque privacy screens that can be moved to accommodate any study situation
  • Hi-tech convenience: Large, flat-screen monitors can accept laptop connections; editing stations with oversized monitors allow students to work on presentations that may include video, still images and audio; hundreds of AC outlets enable students to charge laptops, cell phones, iPods and other personal technology
  • Ease of illustration: Plenty of white boards and markers encourage team learning, whether through sharing illustrations or working out equations or discovering new methods.

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