School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management Goes Hi-Tech

ACANS News & Information Center

School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management Goes Hi-Tech

Students in the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management have even more knowledge available to them than ever before, thanks to the school’s new technology lab.  According to Janet Green, HRTM Director, the new lab is equipped with 31 state of the art computers, projector, television, DVD player, and a MimioBoard.

HRTM Tech Lab Instructor Station with Smart BoardInstructor Station with Smart Board

Green said the School decided to build the new technology lab because they wanted their students to have a place where they could learn how to use the very latest industry specific software.  The School was able to bring this idea to fruition through a lot of hard work, penny pinching, and a legislative appropriation.  The faculty and staff of the School pitched in by making do with their old computers and equipment for more than two years so they could use their equipment budget to purchase new computers for the technology lab.  Green is very proud of the fact that even thought the lab opened a semester behind schedule, it was completed under budget.

For Green, teaching her special events class in the technology lab this past spring semester was truly a wonderful experience; because of the technology available in the lab she was able to teach her class more effectively than ever before.  The powerful computers and innovative software allowed the students to collaborate on their graphic art projects via the MimioBoard.   This allowed them to compile elements from many different student projects into one outstanding wine dinner invitation.  Green said her students never would have been able to create such a document in a traditional classroom.

Other faculty in the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management also enjoy teaching in the new technology lab.  John Hartley, College Assistant Professor in HRTM, said that being able to teach in the new technology lab has been wonderful. “Now, not only can we use PowerPoint in our presentations, but now we also have the ability to manipulate spreadsheets in front of the students, to refer to websites, and even draw out diagrams on a moment’s notice.”

Dr. Chang Lee, HRTM Assistant Professor, prefers teaching in the lab as opposed to a traditional classroom because he can actually teach his students how to use the current industry software instead of just showing them examples of what it will look like.  HRTM Assistant Professor, Elizabeth Albin, also enjoys teaching in the lab because it allows her teach in new and innovate ways.  She also likes to take the lab’s portable computer into the culinary lab so her students can learn how to use the latest food cost software while preparing lunches and dinners.  It gives her the ability to show her students videos on proper cutting, chopping, and food handling techniques.

Having the new technology lab available exclusively to the School of HRTM made it possible for the School to offer the National SERV/SAFE exam online several times during finals week, which allowed more students to take the exam at a time that was convenient for them.  Since the students were able to take the exam online they received their scores much more quickly than in past semesters, now the School and the students receive the grades back in a matter of days instead of weeks.

Currently, the lab is only open to students during class time. However, Director Green is in the process of looking for ways to raise the funds necessary to hire a part-time staff member to run the lab before and after classes.  One way Green thinks she can accomplish this is by renting the lab to other university groups when classes are not in session.

To find out more about the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management and their new technology lab, stop by the HRTM department in Gerald Thomas Hall and ask for a tour, or check out the HRTM website.

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