Morell donation helps expand computer labs in Baker Systems

Posted: August 17, 2022
Morell Computer Lab

BuckISE students are benefitting from new, expanded computer labs in Baker Systems thanks, in part, to a donation from the Michael and Dina Morell Family Advancement Fund of American Endowment Foundation. 

ISE Professor and Associate Chair for Research Güzin Bayraksan says the new lab space provides a much-needed solution to accommodate ISE students and the Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) Department, which also was in need of additional lab space. 

“Unfortunately, our lab capacity was far below what was needed,” she says, adding that previous lab sessions had to be repeated several times to accommodate a single class. “The ISE and CSE departments came together with the help of the College of Engineering to create a new, large computer lab.” 

Baker Systems classrooms 470 and 480 are now shared during the week by ISE and CSE students, with ISE students having after-hours access. Bayraksan says the labs also are intended for use in conducting hybrid or distance-learning industry trainings and to provide expanded research capabilities. She says both labs offer video and audio capabilities.  

“Note that the distance-learning capabilities for these labs were well-designed before the pandemic,” she says, adding that, “We were ahead of our time.” 

The labs feature classroom management and monitoring software allowing instructors instant broadcasting capabilities, the ability to view student screens in real time and opportunities for collaborations. “Such software can help improve learning in computer-based classes in both in-person and hybrid/distance modes,” Bayraksan says. 

Computer lab photo

The lab in Baker Systems 470 features 80 computers, while the lab in 480 offers 40 computers, and is named for the Morell Family, donors of $150,000 to the project. The remainder of the $900,000 renovation was jointly funded by the College of Engineering, CSE and ISE. 

“The labs have high-end computers with general and domain-specific software that the students can use to enhance their learning, complete projects – like senior projects that they work with an industrial partner – and also conduct research activities,” Bayraksan says. 

“The new labs provide an exceptional opportunity to improve how we teach a number of classes. They significantly expand our teaching capabilities. This is especially true for courses that heavily use computers. And these are typically the courses that our students will likely be using the most in their future careers. In addition, the labs also add to our research capabilities by adding state-of-the-art computers and software.” 

Story by Nancy Richison

Category: Student