Collaborative Network Services

As part of the Center for Academic Excellence, Collaborative Network Services in Anne Belk Hall suite 106 has a unique history.

Starting in 1995, these rooms were created by a joint initiative between the UNC system and the Microelectronics Center of North Carolina (MCNC) division called the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN). They were referred to as Distance Learning Services, and served the purpose of providing  a multi-tiered educational experience allowing all 16 UNC campuses to have special rooms that connected to one another, with the end results giving faculty and students an interactive educational exchange across each institution. Around 2008, Appalachian's Distance Learning Services changed names to Interactive Video Services as an attempt to extend beyond the concept that the space could be used for more than just "distance learning.” 

As part of the Center for Academic Excellence team as an administrator of Kaltura MediaSpace and AsULearn-Global, Darrell Laws has begun to transform the thinking around conferencing with technology and online learning. Because the names “Distance Learning” and “Interactive Video Services” tend to  “mislead campus into thinking that it's strictly used for education and some sort of video production facility,” Darrell has now shifted the name to Collaborative Network Services (CNS), explaining that this “emphasizes a wider scope of ideas, with little ambiguity." 

Darrell is the manager of CNS, which consists of four rooms in the Anne Belk Hall, including the lighbaord room and three rooms in Suite 106. These rooms are designed to enhance the video conferencing and technological experience in order to create the best environment possible for teaching, learning, and sharing of ideas. CNS takes the focus away from IT and maintains a hands-on approach to the service model of CNS.

"I know it sounds silly in today's age of attempted automation, but after you go through the process of using one of these rooms there are no guessing games when you enter the space. We discuss what you need in advance, and when it's time for your session, you come in and a support personnel is here to operate the infrastructure and troubleshoot any technical issue(s)... the human element." | Darrell Laws, CNS Manager 

CNS customizes the collaborative sessions based on participants' needs, and works closely with them to assure the smoothest and most successful experience possible. It allows faculty, administrators, and students to focus on their work without dealing with the hassles of technology. 

CNS rooms are used for a variety of sessions, including, but not limited to: 

  • Conferences and/or classes across UNC institutions, nationally, and globally.

  • Guest speakers.

  • International partnerships. 

  • Search committees - limited basis.

To discuss more about CNS service options and reserve a space, please contact Darrell Laws at, or request a customized solution.

Collaborative Network Services
Published: Feb 4, 2022 11:37am