CSU Stanislaus -- October 17, 2003

Language, Music, Geography Laboratories Relocated To New ALS Technology Suite In CSU Stanislaus, Vasche Building

Language students at California State University, Stanislaus have advanced to a new era of technology as part of a laboratory relocation project completed over the summer.

The W.M. Keck Language Laboratory opened in September in the new College of Arts, Letters and Sciences Technology Suite in the Vasche Library Building, providing a state-of-the-art facility that has transformed language learning for students. A $440,000 grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation enabled the University to upgrade its language lab in the new location. The music technology and Geographical Information System (GIS) laboratories have also been relocated to the ALS Technology Suite under the direction of Cameron Pallotta, new College of Arts, Letters and Sciences Lab Support Consultant.

Pallotta earned an engineering technology degree at Modesto Junior College and is a certified Microsoft Systems administrator.

Dr. James Klein, Dean of the College of Arts, Letters and Sciences, points out that more than 30 percent of the courses offered by CSU Stanislaus have some kind of technology content. So having a technician and student assistants with technical expertise on site at the laboratories has been a high priority in the establishment of the technology lab suite, he noted.

“Having the technical support for faculty and students will help them to make full use of the technology while facilitating maintenance of the infrastructure and software, troubleshooting on problems, and monitoring of extended lab hours in the evenings and on weekends,” Klein said.

The Keck laboratory replaced the University’s old language lab facility, built in 1983, that had tape players and no computer technology. The Keck grant funded an interactive computer-based digital foreign language laboratory with 24 student workstations and a teaching station, making CSU Stanislaus one of only eight campuses in the CSU system with a cutting-edge laboratory like this one.

Using headsets and computers with high-quality video capability, students can view lessons, conduct discussions with others in the laboratory, and even interact with students at other universities all over the world. It enables students to link from either their computers at home or from the laboratory to the California State University Virtual Language Project that includes eight CSU campuses and provides access to foreign language classes offered at other universities.

“This laboratory has come to us at the ideal moment,” said Enrique Lopez-Contreras, Chair of the Modern Languages Department. “It allows foreign language students the ability to achieve their maximum potential in the classroom. As we become an increasingly global society, this gives them the tools to reach out to students in other countries and also to foster friendships using their language skills. It’s the second best thing to going to those countries in person.”

In its third year at CSU Stanislaus, the music technology lab featuring 10 stations with piano-like keyboards as part of the computer equipment has been relocated to the larger quarters from the Music Building. Geoffrey Mulder, who teaches music technology at CSU Stanislaus, said the increased lab space at the new location will enable growth of the program that focuses on music recording technology for studios and computer-generated music through the use of Protools, the music-recording program most commonly used in the music industry.

CSU Stanislaus has been among the first universities in the country to offer the music technology major that gives students hands-on experience in taping music performances with state-of-the-art recording equipment in the new Snider Music Recital Hall. The music lab provides software for music composition, arranging, ear training, and orchestration.

Geography Professor Michael Schmandt has pioneered development of the GIS laboratory that includes 15 computer work stations. It has proven to be an invaluable tool for both student training and community planning research.

The GIS lab facilitates faculty and student research that has produced a large general plan land use database for the San Joaquin Valley, a study for NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey showing the rate of urbanization in the Central Valley, and three studies for the University’s Center for Public Policy Studies on welfare reform.

The ALS Technology Lab Suite also accommodates a new media emphasis in the bachelor of fine arts in art program. It provides art students with hands-on experience on the essential forms of digital imaging. Electronic painting, image capture from video, animation, color, and inkjet printing techniques are among the skills taught in the program.

For more information on CSU Stanislaus, go to www.csustan.edu.

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