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.
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.
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
Lighting was often described as inflexible,
particularly when watching films.
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. 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.
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