Technology innovations help solve educational challenges

A glimpse into the university's new Mansueto Library.

With a high-speed robotic crane that delivers books in the new library and audio response iPad applications in language classrooms, the University of Chicago exemplifies the successful integration of cutting-edge technology within traditional brick-and-mortar education.

For providing small, intimate class settings that allow the faculty and students to engage on an intellectually challenging level and using technology to complement this style of learning instead of replacing it, we’ve chosen the University of Chicago as our “eCampus of the Month” for September—a designation for colleges and universities that are national leaders in using technology effectively.

Here, Klara Jelinkova, associate vice president and chief information technology officer, describes the keys to the university’s ed-tech success. (Editor’s note: To nominate your college or university for our “eCampus of the Month” honor, go to

How does your campus use technology to advance student learning?

As a research-driven institution, we are implementing several new technological innovations to support our students’ needs. One exciting addition to the campus is the Mansueto Library that opened this year. The library has five floors of underground book storage, allowing the collection to remain on-site and available to students within a few minutes of requesting materials. When a student requests a book, a high-speed robotic crane zooms down a tiny railroad track and stops at the right bin. It pulls out the bin and delivers it upstairs to the circulation desk, where a real person picks out the book. The process, which has been used for industrial storage, internet retailers, and smaller academic libraries, is supposed to take five minutes—as opposed to at least a day for getting materials from a remote storage facility.