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Release: Immediate

UI College of Education opens "Cyber Commons"

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Students and faculty at the University of Iowa College of Education have a new, high-tech way to get together in the College's traditional gathering area, thanks to a recent renovation of Jones Commons in the Lindquist Center.

The "Jones Cyber Commons" includes two desktop computer workstations that allow students to tap into the computing resources of the university and the internet. The renovation also includes a series of communications ports for students and faculty with portable computers to access computer networks.

The completion of work will be marked Thursday, Feb. 6 as part of "New Media Day," a series of activities showcasing new technologies at the UI. New Media Day is sponsored by Second Look Computing and UI Information Technology Services.

Richard Shepardson, associate dean for student services in the College of Education, says the "Cyber Commons" is an experiment intended to provide students and faculty with access to computer services without disrupting the original intent of Jones Commons. The Commons was created in 1980 when the Lindquist Center was completed as a gathering area designed to allow students and faculty to meet and work in a quiet, relaxed atmosphere.

"We want the area to continue to function as a commons, a place where students and faculty can get together, eat lunch or snack, and do work in groups," Shepardson says. "But we also wanted to provide the extra benefit that computers and technology bring to those sessions."

Students and faculty can use the workstations and the communications ports to check email, gather information on the internet, or do other computer-based work. They can also access the University's computerized registration system, the UI Libraries computerized catalog and other UI computer systems.

The renovation was sponsored by the College of Education and Information Technology Services.

The Jones Cyber Commons is available to students and faculty during the same hours as the Lindquist Center is open.