Representatives from the 407 ETR visited York University’s Keele campus recently to celebrate the dedication of the 407 ETR Learning Laboratory at the Lassonde School of Engineering. Supported by a donation of $250,000, the new space leverages the very best in learning technology, enabling York’s engineering students to learn, collaborate and solve problems alongside their professors and peers.
407 ETR President Jose Tamariz and his colleagues had the opportunity to view the new lab and experience its features, design and functionality. “We understand the great value of investment in education and what that investment can grow into,” said Tamariz. “As a direct service provider in the transportation field, we see first hand the economic, social and community benefits that come with the provision of a best-in-class transportation solution. At the base of all these great things is education and, more importantly, an education within an environment designed for learning and greatness. That is, and will be, Lassonde; and we will be there to support it.”
The 407 ETR Learning Laboratory is an expression of the culture of the Lassonde School of Engineering. The school is designed to be the home of the “Renaissance Engineer,” where students are meant to be free to explore their individual passions and gain a real-world perspective.
One of the foundations of the Lassonde School will be a “flipped classroom” model, where more and more lectures are viewed in the cloud and face-to-face classes are focused on problem solving. Students will increasingly view content away from class, and come together in small groups to interact with peers, professors and professional mentors in spaces that will be modelled on the newly created 407 ETR Learning Laboratory.
Desk pods in the laboratory are arranged in an X shape, each with their own media:scape mobile unit at the end of the pod. As students collaborate, they can plug their laptops into the screen to share their work with their group; the instructor in turn is able to recognize the students’ ideas and broadcast them across all screens in the room, where they can then be shared and discussed.
“The Lassonde School of Engineering is built on partnerships with organizations like 407 ETR, which share our determination to be leaders not followers, to be early adopters of the latest technology and to be unafraid of taking risks,” said Janusz Kozinski, founding dean of the Lassonde School of Engineering. “The Learning Laboratory will truly be a prototyping space for our students, where they have the freedom to test new thinking, to make mistakes, to fail fast and to work with those who see the same thing differently.”
After viewing the new lab, Kozinski took the 407 ETR representatives for a tour of the construction site for the Bergeron Centre for Excellence in Engineering, Lassonde’s new home at York’s Keele campus. On schedule to be completed by summer 2015, the new 167,500-square-foot, five-storey facility is built for hands-on, interactive learning and working. With no lecture halls, the building has ample space for individual study and group collaboration, and workshops where students can build, test and showcase their work.
This new lab is the most recent in a series of donations made to York by 407 ETR. Most recently in 2007, they donated $125,000 to establish the 407 ETR Graduate Student Award, in appreciation of the thousands of York students, staff and faculty who make use of 407 ETR every day.
“We appreciate the investments that the 407 ETR has made in York University to create opportunities that will prepare our students to excel today and lead tomorrow” commented Wade Hall, assistant vice-president, development.
For Tamariz, the 407 ETR’s partnership with York is a win-win. “The ability to combine our desire to invest in the education of future engineers and innovators – and to do so with a truly exceptional school that is well placed right along 407 ETR – makes for a perfect match.”