Students Staff

28 September 2018

Essex STEM Centre – putting Essex in the lead with 21st century facilities

Filed under: Campus news, Latest news — Communications, CER @ 3:30 pm

Professor Anthony Vickers is the Head of the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering (CSEE). Here, he talks about our new STEM Centre and the difference it will make to teaching and learning within CSEE.  

Professor Anthony Vickers, Head of the School of CSEE.

CSEE will be using the exploratory space within the STEM Centre – can you tell us more about the facilities in that space and what you’ll be using it for?

CSEE will make use of the computer laboratory floor which includes the new Exploratory Space, specifically designed for team working. The School has three core modules running in years 1, 2, and 3. These are team work modules in years 1 and 2. The ability to teach a large group (~150 students) of teams on one floor, supported by academic staff, and graduate laboratory assistants, using top class computers and AV facilities put us in a leading position regarding 21st century facilities. We are very excited by the new exploratory space and will be using this both for team work and for a break out area to enable staff to guide groups with similar blocks in their understanding. We will use the floor for the whole of Week 2 as a base for our 1st Year Challenge Week, recently presented an Excellence in Education award. Later in the year the whole computer floor and the Event Space on Square level will be used for our Final Year Project Open Day, an event designed to showcase capstone project work to companies and recruitment agents.

Is this an improvement on the facilities you had before? What difference will it make to the type of work you can do with students?

As a growing School, and one focussed on the use of computers, the added facilities in STEM gives us additional top quality machines for students to use 24 hours a day. In addition to STEM we have completely rebuilt our electronics/embedded systems/electronics laboratory in the Networks Centre Building, and created a new student centred computer laboratory across the Square from STEM. This new laboratory will also be open 24 hours and will not be timetabled for teaching, providing a true 24 hour availability for CSEE students. This laboratory will also house a new Techical Support School Office, providing 9-5 support on a range of technical matters from coding to 3D printing, to PCB design.

What sort of events will you be running in the event space? What do you hope to achieve with them?

We will use the Event Space for applicant Days and later in the year the whole computer floor and the Event Space will be used for our Final Year Project Open Day, an event designed to showcase capstone project work to companies and recruitment agents. Out of term time the event Space will be used for Conferences, such as our locally run CEEC conference, which celebrated its 10th anniversary this year in September.

Do you think a dedicated science square will help encourage more young people to study science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects?

Square 1 will become known as the Science Square as all Schools and Departments in the Faculty of Science and Health utilise the Square and create events using it. In Week 2 we will have a marquee in the square acting as a point of contact for all CSEE first year students undertaking our Challenge Week. We look forward to working with colleagues across the Faculty to develop whole Faculty Science Square events.

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