New Arrangements of Computing Facilities for Students

by Joe Lee
New arrangements of computing facilities are under way to enhance student learning. The following lists just a few:
Teaching Studios
Two small teaching studios, AC2-5501 and AC2-5502, will be merged to create a 60-seat Teaching Studio to meet timetabling needs.  Renovation work will be carried out in the summer including the removal of a concrete wall, relocation of network/power points and reconfiguration of AV equipment.  The room will be ready for use in Semester A 2013-14.
 Teaching studio AC2-G600 with 108 seats will be divided into two rooms by the installation of a dry wall to improve the teaching environment.  The seating capacity of AC2-G600 will be reduced to 99 while the newly created room will form an open access area housed with 36 computers and two fast printers for general use such that printing can still be served while teaching sessions are conducted in the newly partitioned room.
The area AC2-5802 near the main entrance of the Computing Services Centre (CSC) on 5/F has provided 38 computers and a fast printer for open access since April 2013.  More computers will be installed in this area making a total of 56.
Teaching studios CY-2250 and CY-2251 will be demolished.  The computers, furniture and AV equipment will be redeployed for other purposes.

Windows Environments

Windows 8 64-bit will be set up as a pilot for students to have a glimpse of Microsoft’s most advanced operating system.  This environment will be updated when a stable version of this operating system is available.  All software and applications installed under Windows 8 will be 64-bit in nature providing the best performance.
The Windows 7 32-bit operating system will be maintained with full support.  This will remain as the dominating teaching and learning environment for the coming academic year. 
The Windows XP 32-bit operating system will be removed as Microsoft will formally terminate its support in April 2014 and there had been a significant drop of usage in last two semesters.  All software and applications installed under this environment will be migrated to the Windows 7 environment whenever possible; otherwise, departments have been requested to provide the most updated versions for installation.
Solid-state Drive (SSD) will be deployed to improve the performance of computers on the student LAN.  After hard disk replacement, the average system boot up time and software invocation time will be reduced by more than 30%.
Microsoft Office 2013 and Visual Studio 2012 will replace their corresponding predecessors under Windows 7.
DEC Labs
The 3 DEC labs, AC2-1306, AC2-1400 and AC2-1404, located on 1/F of Academic 2 fit for various modern teaching styles and group discussions, will be released for general booking via the CSC Teaching Studio Booking option under e-portal " Univ. Services (Staff) " FACILITIES BOOKING.  These 3 classrooms are equipped with movable furniture, glass walls and high-end TVs to facilitate small group discussions and information sharing (Ref: Network Computing Issue 74 – December 2012).  They are not Teaching Studios since no hands-on computers are provided there. Users will have to prepare their own computing or mobile devices if needed in class.