Generally speaking, today’s college classrooms are pretty tricked-out with technology. The days of blackboards and overhead projectors are gone, replaced by “smart” boards and screens, and computers to play videos and surf the Internet.
It makes teaching and learning easier, but as with any new technology, if anything goes wrong, it can really hamstring the class.
But not at the Lowcountry Graduate Center. The LGC employs a full-time IT manager who is uniquely qualified to help instructors and students solve their IT problems and enjoy a smoother pedagogical experience. And his work schedule is tailored to the late afternoon and evening schedule of class time for graduate students on this campus.
Of course, wherever a technologist exists, there is bound to be some cutting-edge technology. That’s true at the Lowcountry Graduate Center too.
Serving as a staging ground for classes taught by various South Carolina universities, the LGC occupies a modern facility at the crossroads of the Lowcountry with 21 state-of-the-art classrooms featuring HD projectors, digital document cameras, SMART interactive whiteboards and more. Video conferencing capabilities and computer classrooms with printers and copying allow students to access everything they need.
A 150-person conference center also boasts the latest technology, hosting industry and educational meetings.
The jewel in LGC’s technology crown are the 14 classrooms enabled to record lectures and upload the files to Mediasite®, allowing students to review whole classes or catch up on anything they missed.
The IT Manager
A graduate of The School of the Performing Arts, Justin Wooton is still completing his degree in computer science at the College of Charleston, but he has a Ph.D. in hands-on learning. Starting at the IT Helpdesk seven years ago, he learned about computer systems and software-related issues. He’s worked as a PC replacement technician and A/V support technician, deepening his knowledge about the hardware and classroom support. He honed his customer service skills along the way.
“I don’t know if someone would be able to do this job without all those other experiences,” he said. “I use all those skills in this position.”
Justin is the go-to guy for anything computer-related at LGC. He works late hours so he’s available to students and professors in their evening classes. He handles a lot of requests to get printers working and connect students to the WiFi.
“When students have questions I like to not just fix it for them but show them how they can help themselves the next time,” he said. “They’re really appreciative; I’ve gotten cards from students, and even a box of chocolates from one.”
The Big Value Add
Justin spends a lot of his time on strategic planning with respect to information technology. The LGC is moving to more remote teaching, so students can attend LGC classes even if they’re not at the LGC. “If someone lives an hour away, it can save them two hours of driving.”
Five classrooms at LGC are Skype- and Zoom-enabled, so students can join remotely from their own computers. They can communicate with the professor and classmates as if they were in the classroom, and see the classroom as well as what is on the screen. It’s the future of college, on display at the Lowcountry Graduate Center today.
“It’s the #1 thing here that you can’t do elsewhere,” he said.
Great Customer Service
Students and instructors alike appreciate all the technology at their fingertips at the LGC – and the expert on site to help them when things inevitably go sideways. And Justin points out he doesn’t have to be on site to be of service.
“Even if I’m not in the office, I tell people they can call because of my office phone transfers to my cell. I’m always willing to help even if it’s off my shift.”