Information Item #3 - Submitted By The Campus Technology Committee: (2014/2015-Sept)
UNF Faculty Association
CAMPUS TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE
(The Summary of the Survey on Classroom Technology & Classroom Assessment)
||April 18, 2014
||Donna Mohr, Chair
||Gordon Rakita, President
University Technology Committee
During the Spring of 2013, the Campus Technology
Committee cooperated with CIRT and ITS to carry out a survey of faculty
perceptions of our campus information technology. This survey covered
technology as it pertains to teaching, research, and service.
After studying the results, it appeared that a
substantial part of the responses had to do with classroom technology.
Therefore, the CTC produced a summary of that portion of the comments. CTC members, together with representatives
from ITS, then toured a handful of representative classrooms making notes of
issues. Based on these observations, Alison
Cruess, of ITS, developed an instrument to be used in assessing classrooms.
During the Fall of 2013 and the Spring of 2014, CTC members personally
inspected the majority of general purpose classrooms on campus. In many
instances, the members also spoke to faculty who currently or recently are
using those classrooms.
RAISED IN THE SPRING 2013 SUMMARY OF THE FACULTY TECHNOLOGY SURVEY
In this section, we repeat (in italics) the items
listed in the original summary from Spring 2013, then follow with notes on
progress with respect to these issues.
An amazing proportion of the comments relate to the
whiteboards and chalkboards. There was widespread dissatisfaction with the way
the projector screens cover the boards. Further, many boards (both white and
chalk) were reported to be worn and difficult to erase or read. Erasers are
often missing or of the wrong type.
Smartboards were mentioned as a solution by several respondents, but of
course, they would still need to be placed in such a way that they were not
covered by the projector screens.
Progress. During the Fall
2013/Spring 2014 assessments, CTC members noted rooms with degraded whiteboards
or chalkboards. Mohr then met with Mike Maroney of Physical Facilities. Word
orders were done to replace damaged whiteboards and chalkboards in 51/1205,
2/1017, 2/1018, 2/2007, 15/1406, 15/1303. Replacements are expected in the
2014/15 budget cycle. Problems with
erasers were addressed with Housekeeping.
In most classrooms,
there was little that could be done to correct conflicts between boards and
projection screens without considerable rewiring. This should be corrected as
buildings are remodeled.
Separately, faculty in CCEC led an effort to
evaluate Smartboards, and following two demonstrations the CTC endorsed a
limited effort to install one or two Smartboards in selected locations. So that faculty can become more familiar with
them, one or two under-used Smartboards will be moved to classrooms in CCEC
from locations in the library.
|| There seems to be a widespread problem with document
cameras that don’t work properly or are inaccessible.
Progress. During the
classroom assessments, document cameras were a specific item to be checked.
Very few non-working document cameras were found, but there were frequently
problems with furniture stacked up against the drawers. This furniture had to
be moved before the camera could be used. This generally was not difficult, but
did take a few minutes of time before class.
|| The podiums need to support a wider variety of
connections for laptops, including HDMI, Macs, iPads, etc. Some type of wireless mouse or clicker would
be helpful for faculty who prefer to ‘roam’.
Progress. MACs and iPADS take such a variety of
connectors that it is difficult to install them ready-and-waiting in every
classroom, but adapters are available from ITS. The CTC recommended that all
podiums have USB connections available from the podium top. ITS is currently
trying to find budget to make that happen.
Wireless clickers and keypads have a tendency to roam away from
classrooms, the CTC recommended that these be made available to faculty who
wish to be responsible for them.
|| The campus wireless network needs to be more
equipment was placed in the residence halls and the library/classroom
buildings. Internet bandwidth was tripled. Expanded capacity of both types was
immediately consumed by additional student demand, and an increase of wireless
devices (both personal and facilities infrastructure).
|| The audio system in 45/1200 and 45/2809 need to be
repaired or improved.
Progress. During Summer of 2013, ITS improved the sound
system in 45/1200 so that it will produce stereo sound. 45/2809 is the piano lab, not a general
purpose classroom. It was not on the classroom assessment survey. The audio
system in this room is of poor quality, but a decision needs to be made on
whether recording quality equipment will be installed.
|| Logins in general are felt to be annoyingly slow. Some
solution is needed when a previous instructor has left without logging out.
Progress. Login time was
checked during the assessment of each classroom. Most times were found to be
under 90 seconds, which was felt to be acceptable. An exception is 14D/2001
which is an older computer scheduled for replacement in 2014/15. In the
meantime, ITS found a way to shorten the login period.
The problem with lockouts is difficult to reproduce, as in most
cases a simple ‘switch user’ seems to work. The CTC suggests placing signage on
each computer that might help.
Several respondents requested more computer friendly
classrooms, with furniture and power plugs so that students could use their own
Progress. This is something that takes considerable
budget and should be part of a comprehensive classroom strategy.
Lighting was often described as inflexible,
particularly when watching films.
Changing the lighting also requires budget and should be part of
a comprehensive strategy. However, there are some classrooms (for example,
14D/2001 and 2/2212) where the lighting problem is created simply by inadequate
window shades. Following discussion with
Maroney, Mohr submitted a Capital Project Service Request to get new shades in
14D/2001. This request was approved, and as of 3/28/14 Maroney assures us that
the matter is being worked on. A second
CPSR has been submitted to request shades in 2/2212.
|| Many faculty strongly praised ITS and CIRT for their
support of classroom technology. However, there were complaints that when there
was a problem in a classroom, ITS could not move fast enough.
Progress: Need to
check signage in every classroom so that faculty are aware the x2909 will put
them in touch with ‘emergency’ line for acute AV and other technical issues
that would prevent instruction from taking place. ITS has two new technicians working with
Decato Burke, so there should be a more pro-active approach to AV maintenance
issues. In addition, ITS is reviewing escalation steps for computer hardware and
software issues to better address response times during an emergency situation.
FURTHER ISSUES RAISED
DURING THE 2013/2014 CLASSROOM ASSESSMENT
Occasional minor issues were observed during the
classroom inspection (corrupt computer image, keystoning projector images, cut
Progress. ITS fixed
each problem as it was found.
|| Several classrooms were found where the power cables
to the computer podium constituted a trip hazard (for example, 3/1381).
Progress. Where possible, ITS replaced these with conduit that
would run along the baseboard. In other cases, ITS installed a heavy
runner. ITS has added this item as
something that should be part of the routine inspection of every classroom.
Faculty who teach film classes in the Robinson ‘pod’
(14A/1312) report serious difficulties with the projection and sound quality.
Progress. A current ITN
to address projection and sound in the main auditorium of 14A was expanded to
address the pods. An acoustical
engineering firm was hired to review the problem areas. Their study is due back in early May at which
time an ITN will be issued to address the acoustics and well as digital
projection and surround sound in the main Robinson Theater. The pods will require replacement of speaker
systems, projector screens and possible projector lens upgrades. A plan is under development for addressing
the pod areas.
Public speaking classes that use 45/2610 need a webcam
and software to record presentations.
Progress. ITS found
budget to meet this need.
Several classrooms were found where there were an
inadequate number of whiteboards or blackboards (for example 2/2008, 9/1411).
Progress. Adding boards
requires a Capital Project or Service Request (CPSR) with budget and an account
number. Following discussion with
Maroney, a CPSR was submitted to put boards at the front of 2/2008. There are
other rooms where additional boards are needed
but we need a more comprehensive list before submitting requests.
is wandering away from its location. This is particularly a problem for faculty
with disabilities who in some cases have specially designated tables and/or
chairs assigned to their classrooms.
Progress. None. Signs attached to the furniture have not been an
effective deterrent. We have no ideas. This is not a technology problem, but it
is an ongoing aggravation so we take the opportunity to mention it here.
Overall, the status of the technology in the general
purpose classrooms seems very good. Here are some observations.
- Faculty reporting is important;
both for issues that fall under ITS and those that fall under Physical
Facilities. Faculty need to be made more aware of their ability to request
- ITS has a well-developed
system for requesting major improvements and finding budget when they are
made aware of a need.
- Physical Facilities has a
system, but it is less well-known and more difficult to use. Improvements
ranging from adding whiteboards to improving lighting are frequently not
requested because faculty and department chairs are unaware that it is possible.
- Remodeling done in Building
2 several years ago missed opportunities for coordinated improvements in
the technology. For example, the
lighting is oriented differently than the projection equipment in several
rooms. Light switches and projector screen controls are frequently in
- Classrooms need a central advocate – someone with
at least some budget who can integrate all issues related to classrooms at
whatever end of the technology scale. This person should help plan all new
and remodeled classrooms, as well as address issues in existing