The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

CBTF unveils new laboratory in Chemistry Annex

Damini Rana
The CBTF sign posted in the Chemistry Annex at 601 S. Mathews Ave. in Urbana.

The Computer-Based Testing Facility opened a new lab on April 1 on the second floor of the Chemistry Annex. The facility can accommodate 110 students, and it is the fourth CBTF location to open since the project’s inception in 2014.   

The lab is a collaboration between LAS and the Grainger College of Engineering, but LAS is the main fiscal sponsor and overseer of the space. Tests have been administered at the facility since its opening day. 

Julie Baker, LAS liaison for the CBTF, and Jim Sosnowski, assistant director of the CBTF, discussed the rationale behind the new facility and how it will improve computer-based testing at the University. 

“The main reason for this new lab is we were at capacity,” Baker said. “For the past year, we’ve had to turn instructors away while waiting for the new space to be complete.”

The new testing facility also features unique amenities, such as a waiting room, brand-new furniture, tall ceilings and large windows for natural light. 

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“We really wanted to focus on making it a friendlier testing experience,” Baker said. “We worked very closely with a designer from Facilities and Services to make sure that it was a more comfortable space.”

“We made sure that the aisles were wide enough so that proctors can walk through without bumping into people,” Baker added. “We also added colorful blue walls to try to make the room more inviting, friendly and hopefully less intimidating for students.”

The pair further discussed the logistical aspects of the new facility and how it differs from other CBTF testing centers.

“The new furniture is a very nice feature,” Sosnowski said. “Not only that, but the cables are managed better, and the environment overall just looks cleaner and more well-kept.”

“When you come in, you’re not seeing cords on the floor and other things you might see in one of the older labs,” Sosnowski said. “It looks like a clean, calm space, and you can come in and sit in a nice, comfortable chair in a bright, sunny room.” 

Sosnowski said that the new testing space is the culmination of the CBTF’s “best practices.”

“We’ve taken these ideas that we’ve learned about running CBTF for the past 10 years and applied them to the Chem Annex,” Sosnowski said. “We truly feel that it represents our current understanding.”

The pair also discussed the collaborative effort between LAS and Grainger.

“I think that this effort has set us up for continued growth,” Baker said. “We’re expecting this to be the case for both colleges.”

“It’s been a learning process for all of us, trying to think and grow and figure out how we make this a better experience for students,” Sosnowski said. “We also collaborated with ATLAS to develop the security system, and we plan to transfer that system to our other CBTF labs.” 

Sosnowski added that this inter-college partnership exemplifies a growing desire between schools to collaborate in enhancing student experiences at the University.

“Collaborating across colleges is often very, very difficult,” Sosnowski said. “It’s been a great experience learning from other colleges and benefiting from all the resources available here.”


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