Jeffrey McClurken Interview

-I’m Jeff McClurken I’m a professor of history in American studies and I’m the special assistant of the provost for teaching and technology of the HCC

(Can you summarize your involvement with the HCC?)

-About four years ago I was asked by John Morello to join the building committee. So I work to help plan the building from that point forward. And about 18 months ago I was asked to take on this role and I have been in charge of The operations.

(What features bets showcase the building’s potential?)

-Well I think this room we’re in is one of the most impressive once the wraparound green screen the HD cameras ability for students to be able to come in and create documentaries is something that stands out for me. I also think the two-story video wall is it impressive feature and I laugh a little bit because it’s actually something that I have posed the designing of the building. It seemed I didn’t really understand how it would be used it it seemed we could use that money for the building in another way but it is turned out to be an incredible beautiful feature.

(How do you see the building used in 10 or so years?)

-Well I think anytime you are dealing with new technology you have to be a little bit concerned about how well you’ll be able to pay for ongoing maintenance and operations. So that’s a concern although it is concern that is frankly my problem in this role to figure out. But we’re taking steps now to ensure that there’s annual funds for maintenance. My goal in 5 to 10 years from now is this will continue to be a building that will have the attention of the students and will still have large numbers of students hundreds of students coming in each day this building will continue to serve its role as a place for students to work and a place for students to learn and a place where we can continue to push the boundaries of what it means to do and use digital technology and a liberal arts environment.

-That’s right everything about the building was designed with flexibility to upgrade whether it’s the raised floors that would allow us to pull those tiles off and to lay something new so if there is some new technology to come along we would be able to add it to this building in a way that it would be difficult to add to a conventional building. But also the notion that as we were planning the building we tried not to be so arrogant as two imagined we would know exactly how students would use it today or how students would use it 5 to 10 years from now. And so we tried every way possible to build that kind of flexibility of being able to change and adapt to students needs into the building.

(Do you think the way in which students learn has changed since the HCC’s debut?)

-Yes I think first of all one of the things I think a lot of us as faculty and staff see is simply being able to see student study in a way that when they were in the residence halls or when they were in some parts of the library we could always see them so that we actually see students engaged in studying. I also think were seeing students studying groups in ways that even when they’re not working on the same project but they want to study together at the same place and that they really work to make this place as their own. In the winter time when you see six or seven students in a conference room studying and they got a video recording of a log burning on the TV they really sort of made it their own. So just in the way that student study in the way we see student study this building has changed a lot away the faculty and staff sees it. And then there’s the ability to do kinds of projects like this one where students are engaged and sets of documentaries. Whether it’s a documentary like this one taking full use of this particular recording space where for doing recordings with their cameras and sell phones and coming in and using the editing space next-door we have the capability of integrating digital media into our classrooms in ways we simply have been in the past. Part of that’s about the physical space part of that’s awesome about the fact that the digital knowledge center allows us to provide training for students and away we could do before but not on the same scale.

(Do you think curricula are adapting to the resources in the HCC?)

-I think they’re beginning to I think you were always going to have those who are on the cutting edge of technology. Like faculty who are willing to push change and those have already begun to integrate these tools in. And then I think we’re going to see over the next five or 10 years and increasing change and the expectations of individual major programs as they begin to realize they can take it vantage of the technology that’s here and the support for technology here in a way that they simply couldn’t have realistically expected all of their majors to engage in what they may see as digital fluency, ability to consume and analyze and produce digital media in the context of the disciplines. So that’s something I think we’re going to see a lot more in the next 5 to 10 years as more more faculty recognizes this is something that they can integrate right in to the classes and also integrate right into their curriculum.

(Any last thoughts on the building?)

-Just that a lot of us spent a lot of time working on it and it’s been immensely gratifying to see students really take hold of it and embrace it as a place that they enjoy and like spending time and that they can get something out of. When you work for years on something and you can see it come to fruition it’s a pretty amazing thing.