New Extended Learning Building a Gateway to Innovation
By Trisha Ratledge
The kinesiology lab on Level 1, for example, is designed for biomechanics research with an 18-foot ceiling and an industrial roll-up door that opens to a wide, paved pathway.
“In kinesiology, we haven’t had a lab that’s been big enough to study some of the things we want to look at,” said Jeff Nessler, professor of motor control/biomechanics. “You need a lot of space to be able to study movements like running and jumping. Now, we can have people start outside the lab and run in so we can acquire data. The lab also allows us to bring in large pieces of equipment like a skate ramp. There is very little research on skateboarding; this opens up new opportunities.”
Kinesiology is a research-intense discipline, Nessler adds, and the needs of the grad students, faculty and undergraduate lab sections have overwhelmed the available lab space. Last year, a temporary lab in The Quad helped alleviate some scheduling issues. This year, the two new kinesiology labs in the ELB increase the hours available for student and faculty research, and Nessler says the location in North City with an adjacent parking structure makes the program highly compatible with community-based research.
Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) also works closely with the community in both its research and its programming. During 2018-19, SLP graduate students provided more than 4,800 hours of free consultation in speech-language, communication, cognitive or swallowing services to more than 170 individuals in the community, despite having offices and classrooms spread across campus and a speech-language consultation center located 3 miles off-campus. To run simulation exercises, SLP staff accessed the simulation theater and medical manikins from the nursing program when available.
In the ELB this year, the SLP program has a centralized suite comprising offices, classrooms and the speech-language center. The area also includes a dedicated simulation space with SLP manikins, a simulation kitchen and the flexibility to add virtual-reality learning soon.
“We are almost doubling the number of simulations we are doing with the students because of the dedicated space,” said Lori Heisler, chair of the Speech-Language Pathology Department. “Having better access to equipment and materials to practice skills definitely enhances learning for our students.”