Students working in theHub

Explore the Art of the Possible with theHub

by Stephanie (Coartney) Dulaney '10
theHub


If you can imagine it, then you can achieve it with the help of theHub, McKendree’s newest learning facility that blends the latest in technology with a one-of-a-kind think tank style idea lab. From virtual reality to 3-D printing, theHub offers students, faculty, and staff the chance to collaborate with those in different fields and majors to accomplish meaningful projects with the help of exciting, high-tech mediums. At McKendree, you bring the vision; we bring the opportunities. Discover the endless possibilities that await you at theHub!

 

 


How It All Started


It first began as a way to transform under-utilized spaces on campus. Students in the Management Information Systems class set out to improve campus facility usage in one location and enhance student learning at the same time. By creating 3-D designs of their idea, formulating budgets to estimate costs, and surveying the campus community for feedback, the students saw their hard work pay off when university administrators jumped on board with their proposal to bring the Active Learning Center (ALC) to life.

“The result was a space designed around collaboration and active learning, open 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said George Kriss, instructor and director of information technology. “We immediately saw the ALC used over 50 times the amount it was prior to the renovation.”

With such a successful student-led initiative, the McKendree IT Department set out to replicate the process at the heart of campus in the lower level of Pearson’s Hall. The team of IT staff, faculty, and students envisioned this central hub of the university as not only a collaborative space, but also a potential technology powerhouse. As a result, theHub opened in April 2018, providing the entire campus community with the space and tools to transform innovative thinking into reality.

 

 


3D Printer in the HubTools That Make the Impossible Possible


What’s the best way to explore the possibilities in your field of interest? Seek out new perspectives different from your own. Whether your goal is to become an educator, software developer, biologist, or business manager, working together with people from different fields and skill sets creates the opportunity to apply your talents in ways you never imagined.

At theHub, examples of this kind of learning abound. Computing students and education students may come together to develop new virtual learning programs that change the way teachers conduct remote classes. Art students and business students might combine their skills to create animated media that transforms a company’s marketing strategy. One critical component of all industries today is the use of technology. Consequently, theHub blends this theme of collaboration with several of the latest tech tools, such as drone building, virtual reality, and 3-D printing and modeling.

“theHub gives students the opportunity to learn how to best use the technology within their discipline while simultaneously opening the door for them to discover new ways they can implement it in their daily lives,” Kriss said.


Quotation Graphic“We view this space as a ‘living space’ that will flex and change as technology shifts. These pivoting capabilities will allow students to have exposure to the most cutting-edge tech at the time, in order to further their marketability beyond the classroom.”


The prevalence of portable devices like laptops, tablets, and smart phones means technology is always at our fingertips, and stationary computers are becoming increasingly outdated. As a result, theHub’s digital capabilities enable students to cast their personal device to any monitor or projector. The facility’s 24/7 access and seating capacity of 50 includes three conference spaces separated by glass walls, complete with a fogging feature that creates more privacy or displays a projection when needed.

 

 


The Range


Within theHub, an area known as the Range occupies the large curved space overlooking the Quad. This home of McKendree’s 117th Regiment Cyber Defense Team gives student competitors a practice area with their own network of servers to simulate an actual competition setting.

 

 


The Makerspace


This component of theHub features many of the center’s application tools, including a 3-D printer and the technology for work in virtual reality, 3-D modeling, and drone design.

 

 


Vangampler Room


A large meeting room, group study area, or classroom, the Vangampler Room can serve many functions with its top-to-bottom whiteboard wall and digital presentation technology. The space was made possible through the donation of Glen and Loretta Vangampler and named in memory of their son and computer science alum, Glen Arthur “Artie” Vangampler ’89.

 

 


theHub SignageFuture of theHub


With such an original facility, it’s no surprise there are already countless plans for utilizing theHub to enhance students’ McKendree experience. One such use is the Cyber Academy, an exciting program that connects students from all fields with leaders in business, law enforcement, and government to delve deeper into applications of cyber security in the real world.

“Partnering with leading cyber security companies, government, and law enforcement, the Academy will integrate educational opportunities with community service, cyber competitions/games, conferences, symposiums, and workshops to create a regional platform for cyber education at McKendree University,” said Daryl Hancock, chief of staff and executive director for McKendree Worldwide.


Quotation Graphic“We see theHub as being a central location for all of these types of activities to enhance the learning that the Academy will bring through a space that complements the subject matter.”


As the home base for the university’s Cyber Defense Team, Cyber Academy, and collaboration among all majors, theHub promises to bring even more opportunities for creativity and innovation that are unique to McKendree.


 


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