TCC getting ‘smarter’ classrooms

The Aegis Business Technology Classroom, named for the Tallahassee business that contributed $25,000 to the TCC Foundation for its complete renovation, in the College’s Academic Computing Center. This is one of the 20 classrooms that is fully renovated as part of TCC's "First Class Project."
Picture Courtesy of Tallahassee Community College.

Tallahassee Community College has started the new year with a host of new changes. In a tweet dated Jan. 2, an official statement read “Students are our priority! Over the past year, we have been making plans to create a student-centered college community with [students] in mind.”

The leading project of this new plan is called the “First Class Project,” which was originally part of TCC’s “We Rise” campaign that launched in conjunction with the college’s 50th anniversary in 2016.

Classroom renovations include new technology, such as interactive touch screens, mobile device support, smart boards, an improved projection system and even “talking” whiteboards that aid professors while teaching.

The campaign specifically made for the classroom renovations has an estimated cost of $2.5 million, which would be split among 50 classrooms; This prices each classroom at $50,000 for a complete renovation. For each donor contribution of $25,000, it will be matched by the TCC Foundation, which is leading this fundraising effort.

According to the Foundation’s Executive Director Heather Mitchell, the renovation project is being intentionally implemented to move TCC into the future.

“We’re never going to have the most updated technology that a student is going to bring in a classroom because it just moves too fast,” Mitchell said. “But, what we can have is a platform by which it can be used and I think that is where we’re finding the most success.”

While all the classrooms are receiving the same technology upgrades, each classroom still has its specific needs for repair. This could include issues of carpentry, air density and humidity, or electricity.

“The biggest challenge has been the construction piece of the classroom,” Mitchell said. “While the furniture and the technology have been consistent, some rooms require significant infrastructure repair before we could move forward with what we want to do with the room.”

It was reported earlier this month that TCC’s new initiatives included a sharp decrease in class sizes to 20 students per classroom. TCC spokesman Al Moran explained that this decision was made to ensure the success of the students.

“The college has drastically reduced class sizes and is converting classrooms into technology based engagement centers to enhance student success,” Moran said.

The renovation project is still underway, with about 20 of the 50 classrooms completed thus far. TCC Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Feleccia Moore-Davis is confident that this wave of student-centered changes will benefit the entire university.

The overall goal is to provide an engaging experience and to give our students at TCC a better opportunity for deeper learning,” she said. “We want to increase retention and graduation rates and better prepare students for jobs that do not even exist right now.”