Thursday, April 7, 2022

Presenting from a Campervan

Natalie Lloyd, on screen from her camper-van,
in Teaching Lab 1.08, Birch Building, ANU.
Photo by Tom Worthington, CC-BY 7 April 2022 
Greetings from Teaching Lab 1.08 in the refurbished Birch Building at ANU. This the first time, in along time, the research students have been able to get together in person. A panel of experts is answering questions about research in Engineering and Computer Science. Most are in the room, but Natalie Lloyd has turned her camper-van into a mobile office* to take part from WA. Another online panelist, but from a conventional office, is noted Linux guru Kathy Reid.

The New teaching lab

Teaching Lab 1.08, as seen from the window
in the foyer of the ANU Birch Building.
Photo by Tom Worthington, CC-BY 7 April 2022
This is in a general purpose dry lab. There are 20 benches on wheels, each seating  seven students. There is a power board for each bench, on a retractable reel from the ceiling. One wall has six large flat panel displays.  There is a folding wall to divide the room in half. The folding panels are covered with white board material (the end panel can be used when the wall is retracted). 

There are two presenter's stations between the screens. There are two  eyewash  stations at the back of the room. There are windows on three sides, two with views of the garden and one into the foyer. There are adjustable stools on wheels with backrests, although when used for a lab many people will be on their feet.

This is a simple usable space, with none of the gimmicks that many flexible teaching spaces suffer from, such as matrix displays (they break), and benches with power built in (they can't be moved).

Not the First Mobile Office

George Bray, on the TechTrek
In 2001, George Bray, roving ambassador for the Internet Industry Association set out on an Australia wide TechTrek, in a campervan to showcase the Internet to regional Australia. With the popularity of Zoom today, perhaps there should be a green screen option for camper-vans. ;-)

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