Classroom Technology Services is constantly looking for ways to improve instructors’ user experience with our General Purpose Classrooms’ technology. Every semester CTS holds a GPC technology training session for instructors who are new to using the technology in our classrooms. In addition to this technology training, CTS hosted a brown bag luncheon for GPC instructors. This luncheon is an informational session meant to inform instructors about the current technology as well as the changes being made in the room. This session also had a round table component to allow instructors to ask specific technology questions they may have since the semester started.The goal of this brown bag luncheon is to provide instructors with an update on any technology changes, as well as answer any questions that may have come up after they began teaching in the classroom.
The first half of the session was informational. They began the session with general overview of our General Purpose Classrooms across campus and an introduction of the CTS staff. They also announced their new weekend hours. There will be someone in the office on Saturday from 8am to 2pm to answer any weekend event calls. The general overview included everything from the types of systems in the rooms (Extron or Crestron) to how many times a week each room is serviced by their staff and student assistants.
CTS also discussed current projects on which they are working. Some of these projects include updating the interface design to make it more intuitive for the user as well as the organization of the cables in the podium. The more streamlined interface is meant to make the system more user friendly for instructors. The other ongoing project is to organize the cables in the podium. Organized and labeled cables make maintenance on the systems easier and more efficient for the technician.
The second half of the session was opened up for instructors who had questions technology questions. Below are the questions/concerns that professors had about the technology in their classroom.
Q: Is there a digital note pad to draw on the screen instead of the whiteboard?
A: Yes. Open Sankore is a software program with a shortcut on the desktop. Instructors can write on the monitor with the stylus provided at the podium. With this program, instructors can write on the screen within a PowerPoint presentation. Human Science 169 does not need a stylus to write on the monitor within a PowerPoint presentation. If instructors would like a demonstration or assistance from CTS, they can set up an appointment to have one-on-one training. They can come to the CTS office or one of the CTS staff can go to the instructor’s office to demonstrate how to use the software.
Q: What can be done about the PC shutting down in conjunction with the projector?
A: While this feature is intrinsic to the Crestron system, CTS has developed a strategy to address this concern. Members of their staff are getting training with the Crestron system. This certification process will allow them to make changes to the programming themselves according to what the instructors’ needs require. The CTS staff already has training the Extron System, which allowed them to make programming changes to the system to improve the instructors’ experience with the technology.
Q: Human Science 169 – impact of customization of lights on preset options
A: The preset lighting options are designed to meet all needs. Ideally, the system was set up to be able to be customized without affecting the presets. However, when someone customizes the lighting, it alters the preset lighting options. CTS knows how to fix the changes that other instructors make to the lighting options and is willing to help instructors set the lighting back to the original preset options.
Q: Why isn’t there a VGA cable provided in MCOM 353?
A: Originally, VGA cables were provided in this room, however, it was not attached to the podium like the cables in other GPC rooms. Because it was not attached, the cable was moved around and often not readily available for instructors’ use. Now, CTS encourages professors to bring their own VGA cable when teaching in this classroom so that there will not be a delay to their teaching.
At the end of the information session, the professors were encouraged to bring more questions or concerns to their attention as they come up. Classroom Technology Services is more than willing to answer questions or provide instruction on how to utilize some of the technology in GPC classrooms.
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