The Wesleyan Argus | Jakobson Classroom Opens in Olin Library

Sam Fried

c/o Elias Mansell, Assistant News Editor Over the summer, the University converted the Jakobson Reading Room to the Jakobson Classroom, the first general classroom in Olin Library since the 1990s. The Jakobson Classroom will help meet the demand for teaching, study, and technology spaces on campus. With a maximum capacity […]

c/o Elias Mansell, Assistant News Editor

Over the summer, the University converted the Jakobson Reading Room to the Jakobson Classroom, the first general classroom in Olin Library since the 1990s. The Jakobson Classroom will help meet the demand for teaching, study, and technology spaces on campus.

With a maximum capacity of 36 people, the Jakobson Classroom is equipped with a laptop cart, two projectors, two screens, five Apple TVs, three fixed whiteboards, and six double-sided mobile whiteboards. Additionally, all furniture in the classroom can be moved to accommodate group work.

“[F]or several years, there has been increased demand for classrooms on campus that facilitate collaboration and active learning,” Director of Academic Technology Rachel Schnepper wrote in an email to The Argus. “Unfortunately, we have been limited in our ability to build these classrooms by space constraints.”

In addition to its flexible setup, the Jakobson Classroom helps ameliorate the issue of lost classroom space resulting from the construction on the Public Affairs Center (PAC). 

We were thrilled when Olin was suggested as a possibility [for a new classroom], as it would enable the faculty and students to have the sort of classroom space desired without having to wait for the PAC project or the new science building to be finished,” Schnepper wrote.

According to Caleb T. Winchester University Librarian Andrew White, Olin has also needed a library teaching space for years.

“The two needs came together and the new classroom was created,” White wrote in an email to The Argus.

Before it became the Jakobson Classroom, the Jakobson Reading Room included soft sheeting and shelving for print periodicals. According to White, most periodicals are read online, reducing the need for physical copies. This meant that the Jakobson Reading Room could be repurposed, just as the science periodicals section of the Exley Science Library became the new home of the Resource Center’s FGLI Textbook Collection.

“[W]e had been thinking about refreshing the space for some time,” White wrote. “We moved the remaining print subscriptions to a new reading area on the west side of Campbell (on the first floor) and distributed all the seats throughout the library.”

The University planned the classroom conversion during the spring semester and converted the reading room over the summer, which minimized disruptions to library operations.

“Facility and ITS did their usual fantastic work in getting the space ready for the fall semester,” White wrote.

Three computer science courses and one biology course currently meet in the Jakobson Classroom, but students can also book the classroom as a study space through EMS, the University’s room request system.

“Olin is a very popular destination for students and I am always looking for ways to improve our spaces for their use,” White wrote. “Students have already discovered [the classroom] during evenings and weekends, and I’m pleased to see them using the technology and moving the furniture to suit their needs.”

Elias Mansell can be reached at [email protected]

Jakobson Classroom Opens in Olin Library

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