JMU innovation earns high praise

X-Labs a winner of Governor's Technology Award

Science and Technology

by Eric Gorton

Govs. Technology Award for X-Labs

SUMMARY: X-Labs, which is housed in Lakeview Hall, received one of two awards for innovative use of technology in education.

A JMU maker space that encourages and facilitates cross-disciplinary courses where students address real world problems using a variety of technology has received a Governor's Technology Award.

X-Labs, which is housed in Lakeview Hall, received one of two awards for innovative use of technology in education. JMU faculty also are involved in the other project to win an award for innovative use of technology in education, the Virginia Cyber Range. The awards were presented Wednesday, Sept. 6, in Richmond during the annual Commonwealth of Virginia Innovative Technology Symposium.

In recommending X-Labs for an award, the staff stated, "employers want newly hired graduates to have hands-on experience, be able to start solving real problems on Day One, effectively work with others on a team, and produce value for their companies. The courses and student projects that come out of JMU X-Labs produce just that — experienced problem-solving teams that are trained in the latest technology.”

In addition to technologies that students can use to craft their solutions, X-Labs is equipped with video conferencing technology that enables subject matter experts to teach classes from remote locations and for classes to be shared in real time between JMU and other Virginia universities with compatible technology.  "The right technology is an absolute requirement for JMU X-Labs,” the award application states. “Many of our courses require knowledge and expertise from remote professionals or faculty. The only way to get them into our labs as regular participants is with video telepresence. We rely heavily on Cisco Systems TelePresence, WebEx and the Suitable Technologies Beam robot, which allows students to interact with remote experts as if they were talking face-to-face with them."

The Virginia Cyber Range is a Commonwealth of Virginia initiative with a mission to increase the number of fully prepared students entering the cybersecurity workforce in operations, development and research. The Cyber Range provides an extensive courseware repository for educators and a cloud-hosted exercise area environment for hands-on cybersecurity labs and exercises for students.

Dr. Edna Reid, an associate professor of intelligence analysis at JMU, is a member of the Cyber Range executive committee.

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Published: Thursday, September 7, 2017

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 1, 2023

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