(photos by Maddy Adams during a walkthrough with the Honourable Patricia Hajdu — Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour)

Today, BCIT officially opens the doors on a brand new tech learning space at its Downtown Vancouver campus. The newly renovated fifth floor space will be open to all students, but will be the main home for the Computer Information Technology (CIT) program.

The opening of this space coincides with the federal government’s recent initiatives to encourage more tech industry workers to come to Canada; the space is also part of the push to train future tech workers in BC to meet the demands of the growing industry. Working in the space allows students to form teams and simulate real-life work situations.

“This is really critical, what’s happening here at BCIT,” praised Patricia Hajdu, Federal Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, during a recent tour of the space before the official opening. “I was immediately struck by was the link to real-time clients and the real applicability of what they’re learning to the current workforce.”  During my conversation with her she lauded BCIT’s efforts to invest in the students, and noted the immediate relevance of students’ skills once they go out into the industry. “One of the things that BCIT is doing so well is integrating the learning with the needs of actual clients.”

The high-tech learning environment was designed with collaboration in mind. Included in the spacious floor plan are floor-to-ceiling windows to let natural light in, plus tables and chairs grouped together around wall-mounted screens where students can work together in an open-concept conference room. For big group projects, students can connect to the screens and see the results of their coding projects in real time as they build websites at their desktop computer stations and laptops. Some wall panels are made of moveable glass to be used like a whiteboard.

Jap Johal, a student in the Computer Information Technology program, says he really likes the large common area in the middle of the room, which feels like a great place to sit together and work on projects. Johal says the abundance of the study and collaborative space is what makes the floor unique and helpful.

The space also comes complete with accessible outlets throughout, which makes working on group assignments more convenient. Instructors will benefit from the space as well; no longer having to stand in front of a class for long periods of time, instead letting students work on their own, checking in with them on their progress from time to time. All students will be able to access the 5th floor at any time, including the weekends, using their ID cards starting in September.

 

Visit the new high tech learning space located inside BCIT’s Downtown Campus (555 Seymour St., Vancouver). There will be an open house tonight at 5:00 PM, followed by remarks to officially open the floor. Spaces are limited, so click here to register.