Thriving Technology By Jacqueline Puglisi | March 4, 2011 | RSS Technology is thriving at Bluefield College with more advancements on the way in the coming months. BC students have access to several computer labs on campus, an Internet connection in each dorm room and the ability to check grades, assignments and campus events on the MyBC website. The college has also started using SMART boards in several classrooms. SMART boards combine a traditional dry erase board with the features of a modern computer, a technology that allows professors to draw on the board with digital ink and use touch gestures. SMART boards replaced dry erase boards in five BC classrooms in 2004 and are now in 17 classrooms. Most recently, a new SMART board was added to classroom nine in Rish Hall. While students learn through technological advances like the SMART board, professors can incorporate more material into their lectures. Christians Studies Professor Shawn White has used a SMART board since he started teaching at BC and says it makes linking to online content much easier. Another Christian Studies professor, Tracey Stout, came to BC the first year the SMART boards were added to classrooms. Though he had to teach himself how to use the technology, he now prefers it and requests classrooms equipped with SMART boards. Steven Kessinger, director of information services and technology, has been working to bring more technology to BC’s campus. This semester has seen upgrades to MyBC and the school’s phone system. Kessinger is also testing new networking devices in Alumni Hall that give the option of wirelessly accessing the Internet. Kessinger hopes to provide all resident halls with wireless access if testing in Alumni Hall is successful. “So far they are working very well,” Kessinger said. Kessinger also shared future plans for BC technology. “We have been exploring with our leadership team the replacement of all the computer labs on campus,” he said. Kessinger is looking into a technology called desktop virtualization that will allow online access to software that will meet student’s specific needs. “It is very flexible and it also introduces a technology that will eventually allow us to make applications available to students from their dorm rooms or their home computers or mobile devices like cell phones,” he said. “By starting with the [updated] computer lab we will open a big door. We are hoping that within the spring semester we will have at least one lab, and we are targeting Science room 103, and at least one more lab completed by the end of June.” Kessenger added that he is also trying to improve e-mail. “In addition to the labs and SMART rooms we are also working towards a new e-mail solution,” he said. “What this will do for students is give them 1,000 times the mailbox space than we can currently provide. In addition to that you will also get access to online Microsoft Office applications where you can edit and create Word or Excel documents on the web without having to have the software on the computer. Best of all it’s free to the college.” Kessinger plans to start with e-mail and introduce the rest of the features as they become available. He wants applications like Microsoft Word, Excel and Digital Studio to be available to students online and in the updated computer labs. He is also planning to make more upgrades to MyBC this summer.