Why the Mac Lab renovations have been a huge success

By Evan Bourtis, Staff Writer

One of my last memories of the Mac Lab, before the renovation, was slopping together clips from the movie Dazed and Confused for a narrated movie essay until 3:30 in the morning. I was having some troubles with the audio not aligning with the footage.

Thankfully, I was locked in a box with procrastinators like me, who helped me to match up the video and audio. I called a couple friends over who were seated in the front of the MacLab to the back to help me fix the awkward misalignment of the sound and the video. I felt embarrassed for asking, since the students in the front of the Mac Lab seemed to be in a bubble of their own, focusing on their own assignments and trying to figure out the twists and turns of Premiere Pro by themselves.

The first time I set foot in the Mac Lab after the renovations, I felt like I was in a completely different place. Sure the carpet was different, the tables were organized in a circle, and the projector was in the back of the room, but now I could move to any computer without having to walk across a row of backpacks.  After spending some time working in the Mac Lab, I don’t feel like I’m not trapped in my own bubble anymore, but part of a team.

When talking to Professor Jeremy Sarachan, Chair of the Media and Comm department, about the renovations, he commented, “we wanted to make the Mac Lab a place where people wouldn’t mind working, like students were working at home rather than a typical classroom.”

One aspect that helps to accomplish this home-like feeling is the fact that the computers are set up in groups of four around a circular table. This allows students to move more freely around the Mac Lab and to easily collaborate in groups.

Sarachan noticed a lot more professors have wanted to teach classes in the Mac Lab ever since the renovations. Before the renovations, most classes taught in the Mac Lab were computer-based comm courses, such as Video Game Design, Interaction Art, Photography, Intro to Web Design.

However, after the changes, many professors who teach less computer based classes have requested that they can use the Mac Lab. New Classes that may be taught in the Mac Lab this fall include Media Research, Media Entrepreneurship, and some computer science classes.  

Sarachan notes that the ease at which instructors can move around the Mac Lab, as well as the four projectors, is what makes the room more pleasing to teach in as opposed to a regular classroom. Sarachan, who teaches Interaction Art in the Mac Lab, said, “I feel like you don’t lose people in the back and are closer to all your classmates.”

He claims that the design of the room takes away from the hierarchy.

“You don’t have people who sit front and people who sit in the back like a traditional classroom,” he added.  

This is mainly because students are completely surrounded by projectors, giving all students a good view of the board. Rather than having one projector in the front, the new Mac Lab has a projector on every wall. The projector on the left wall is a Smartboard, making it easy for students to interact by writing notes on the screen.

 I really look forward to taking more classes in the Mac Lab in the future. The new renovations will greatly help students at Fisher to create art and the less confined environment will encourage more group collaboration.

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