What is a Collaboratory?

Image_Library_WEBWhere do great ideas come from?

While traditional models of scholarship (particularly in the humanities) emphasize the individual genius of lone artists or researchers, many great ideas are developed collaboratively, and arise out of the give-and-take of spirited group discussions or participatory research. Such group innovation is especially frequent in our increasingly networked and technological world. In fact, employers report that they seek to hire innovative thinkers with the ability to work productively and constructively in teams.

A “collaboratory” blends physical and virtual environments to foster experimentation and innovation in both teaching and research

Collaboration is one of the defining characteristics of a liberal arts education, and a central aspect of Whittier College’s curriculum, which has long emphasized students and faculty working together across disciplines, in small seminar classes, in laboratories, and in student-run organizations. Our collaboratory embodies this aspect of our traditional liberal arts ethos, and recognizes that technology now enables new kinds of collaborations both within and beyond the walls of the college.

Wardman Library will host a technology-rich space designed to foster innovative teaching and research

The new collaborative space will be a centerpiece of Wardman Library’s main floor. Flexible, reconfigurable, media-rich, and designed to change as technology changes, the new space in Wardman Library will enable many modes of collaborative inquiry: co-located, synchronous, asynchronous, virtual, or a combination of all. The purpose of the redesigned space is to enable faculty, staff, and students to work together to create and critique digital technologies that address the great questions that motivate study in all fields of the liberal arts.