CTS Brown Bag Luncheon

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.

Please subscribe for more information about General Purpose Classrooms!

The Circuit of Life: Breathing New Life into GPC Technology

Classroom Technology Services is always hard at work improving the technology experience for instructors in our GPC classrooms. Recently, CTS have been making some improvements to the existing systems in General Purpose Classrooms. The goal is to eliminate as many issues as possible by making each system more intuitive for the user. During the winter break, they started work rebuilding the technology in the podium to solve some of the issues that have come to their attention.

CTS have been making improvements on the user interface for instructors. There were several GPCs in MCOM that were identified as having the most issues with their user interface. These rooms included 57, 75, 83, and 281. Over the winter break, CTS started overhauling the software and hardware in the rooms. Much of their attention was focused on MCOM 83 and 281 in particular.

The biggest change to the technology came from updating the GUI for the Extron Touch Panel. Extron is one type of touch panel in the General Purpose Classrooms. GUI stands for Graphical User Interface. The interface is what allows users to interact with the technology in the classroom via visual icons and buttons. In MCOM 83 and 281, the technology was descaled, cleaned and rebuilt. Unnecessary hardware was removed from the podium. The rebuild began before the start of the winter break and completed after the break ended.

Here are a few examples of the new interface:

Interface Start Page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The buttons on the right were streamlined to make the interface more user friendly. The goal is to make this system as intuitive as possible for instructors whether or not they’ve ever used a system like this before. Eventually, all of the GPC panel buttons will resemble this one with a few exceptions due to the type of technology in the room. Included in the new interface are icons displayed for what device has been activated by the instructor such as PC, HDMI, VGA, document camera, and the microphone. Visuals for HDMI and VGA cables are especially helpful for instructors who have not had experience using these cables.

 

The PC option:

 

PC option

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laptop HDMI:

 

Laptop HDMI

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laptop VGA:

 

Laptop VGA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Document Camera:

 

Document Camera

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Microphone Level:

 

Microphone Level

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mediasite option:

 

Mediasite technology is also an option for instructors who teach in classrooms in which this software is available. It’s available in Holden 104 & 155. The interface below was redesigned to make the interface more intuitive for the user. The stop, record, and pause functions are clearly delineated. The microphone volume options is also clearly displayed in the new interface.

 

Mediasite

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mediasite settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Auxiliary:

 

Auxiliary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Connection Lost:

This page appears when an issue occurs in the system. Classroom Technology Services’ contact information (phone and email) are provided to aid in solving the issue as quickly as possible for the instructor.

 

Connection Lost

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Starting Up, Shutting Down, and Confirmation:

The startup and shutdown screens were reformatted in order to signal to the instructor that the system is starting up or shutting down. The new interface programming also includes a confirmation page for shutting the system down.

 

Starting Up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shutting Down

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Confirmation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DVD or Blu-ray Popup:

 

DVD or Blu-ray Popup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mediasite Camera Popup:

 

Mediasite camera

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CTS also performed cable management in the podium during the system rebuild. The tangled cables were organized and labeled. This makes servicing the technology much simpler for technicians. This will be applied to all of the GPC podiums on campus. Here’s a look at the podium rack before and after CTS’ cable management:

 

MCOM 281 Before

MCOM 281 Before

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MCOM 281 After

MCOM 281 After

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As part of the rebuild, CTS also created a demo panel that can be used as a backup should one of the touch panels int he GPC rooms have any issues. This particular panel has the new interface created by Timothy Honeycutt. It was used during the beginning of the semester GPC Training to show instructors what the new interface would look like and how it would function. Instructors were invited to try it out to familiarize themselves with the setup if they were new to using GPC technology or just new to the changes made to the panel. The new user interface is intended to present instructor with cleaner, straightforward menus to eliminate any guesswork. Any changes that have been made to the technology and user interface, will be updated in the booklets kept at the podium for instructors.

 

Please subscribe for more information about General Purpose Classrooms!

Looking Ahead: Goals for the New Year

The New Year is full of new goals and resolutions for the coming year. This is the time of year to set new goals or continue to pursue them. For this coming year, the General Purpose Classroom project is continuing to strive to provide instructors and students with classrooms and technology to improve their teaching and learning experience. While we are continuing to fulfill our long term goal of maintaining the General Purpose Classrooms on campus, we have also set new goals for ourselves.

Our major goal for this year is to start moving away from the proximity locks (keypad) and replacing them with Global locks. Currently, the only rooms left that still have proximity locks are Holden 28, 33, 38, 104, 106, 109, 111, 154, 155, and 225 as well as Agricultural Science 214. There are many benefits to making this switch, besides increasing the uniformity of the classroom access.

By switching to the Global lock system, we’ll be better able to manage access to the rooms. The Global locks allow us to remotely unlock doors. If there is an issue with an instructor’s proximity card, he or she will not have to wait for someone to come to them to unlock their room. Instructors will also have more door unlocking options. By swiping their card through the card reader or holding their proximity card up to the chip reader twice, they will be able to keep the door unlocked for the duration of their class. This ensures that their class will not be interrupted by students being locked out. Or if instructors want to keep the room locked during their class, they can just swipe or present their credentials once. This unlocks the door for a few seconds to allow their entry. Afterwards, it will unlock.

For access to these rooms, we just need instructor R#’s to add access. Instructors can contact us with their R# and we can add their access to the room they will be using. Even though regular magnetic cards can be used to gain access, we encourage instructors to get proximity cards from the ID office. Using the proximity function of the global lock keeps the card from wearing out as quickly. Using the card slide on the side of the lock can create more wear and tear on the card and force the user to replace the card sooner. Classroom Technology Services has created a video detailing how to use these global locks which can be viewed here.

More information regarding this latest project goal will be forthcoming. We’ll be keeping everyone up-to-date on the progress of this change.

Please subscribe for more information about General Purpose Classrooms!

End of Semester Brings New Changes

For most, the close of the semester means the end. End of semesters usually herald graduations and good-byes. However, for our office this will be a time of new and exciting beginnings. Academic Support and Facilities Resources has recently become a part of Operations Division at Texas Tech. We will no longer be known by our previous moniker: ASFR. We are now under Space Planning and Inventory within Planning and Administration.

Along with the name change, we are also changing locations. On the afternoon of December 15th, we are relocating to the Physical Plant, 3122 Main Street on campus. We will no longer be located in Suite 5 of the Administration Building’s east basement. Our offices will be located on the first floor of the Physical Plant in 120.

Even though we are changing locations, we will still be able to offer the same services and answer the same questions about GPCs or events that you may have. To pick up temporary access cards and keys for events, you can visit JP Williams in 120. Any questions regarding events can be directed to him. There will be signs posted to guide you in the right direction. For any questions regarding General Purpose Classrooms, room access, or lock programming, you can contact us at (806) 742-3658 or email us at asfr.facilities@ttu.edu.

We are looking forward to these new and exciting changes as the Fall semester ends and the Spring semester begins!

Please subscribe for more information about General Purpose Classrooms!

 

New Location Map

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November Announcements!

This Fall semester has seen many changes so far in the academic school year. Two of which have occurred for our office and Classroom Technology Services. We are pleased to announce and congratulate JP Williams and Timothy Honeycutt on their new positions.

Filling the role of Events Coordinator for our office is JP Williams. He joined our office this past October. In his role as Events Coordinator, he will be in charge of event scheduling. He is the go-to person to answer questions about event requests through Ad Astra. He will also be checking out temporary access cards for events. JP is a Texas Tech Alumni, graduating with a B.S. in Exercise Sport Science in 2013 and a M.S. in Sport Management in 2015. In his off time, he likes to work in his shop, ride his motorcycle, and spend time with friends and family.

Congratulations are also in order for Classroom Technology Services. Timothy Honeycutt is now the Section Supervisor for CTS starting the first of November. Formerly, Tim occupied the position of IT Support Technician with CTS. He has done a phenomenal job providing service to instructors as well as ensuring the hardware and software in the room runs smoothly. We know  he’ll continue to make great contributions to the General Purpose Classroom Project. Congratulations to Tim for his new promotion!

Please subscribe and learn more information about other upcoming GPC news!

Time to Take a Bow: GPC Media Shout-Out!

Congratulations everyone! Our GPC Project made the DT and was featured in an article by Media Communications. The GPC classrooms held the spot light in an article featured on August 24th of this year. The article highlighted the ongoing goals of the GPC Project since its inception as well as the popularity of these rooms among Tech faculty. The article from Media Communications goes into further detail about the selection process of room locations, technology, as well as the interior/furniture and how they are all geared to improving the teaching and learning experience of the faculty and students.

The technology in the classrooms is a big draw for many instructors, however, it can often be intimidating. Many instructors not only appreciate the rooms’ versatile technology, but also the service that is provided when a problem arises. Instructors find Classroom Technology Service’s response to issues prompt and helpful. Several instructors commented that CTS staff demonstrated rapid responses to problems as well as professionalism whenever they are needed. They also included a short video that gives an overview of the versatility of our GPC classrooms.

Thank you all for the hard work and determination that has gone into keeping this project running. The success and popularity of these rooms with students and faculty is entirely attributed to your efforts. Your work does not go unnoticed by the people who have classes and events in GPC classrooms. Congrats to CTS for their trouble shooting work over the phone and in person!

Keep up the good work everyone!

The full DT article can be read at: http://www.dailytoreador.com/news/gpc-project-creates-better-classrooms/article_fb493f3e-4ad9-11e5-a0e5-b75fd5497e01.html

The full Media Communications article can be read at: http://today.ttu.edu/posts/2015/08/general-purpose-classroom-project-upgrades-facilities-technology

Please subscribe and learn more about GPC classrooms!

We’re Going Global: GPC Classrooms are Getting New Locks

Academic Support and Facilities Resources (ASFR) is always looking for ways to improve the learning environment for not only students, but also the teaching staff at Texas Tech University. The new Global Locks which are being installed on GPC doors are part of this process. The purpose behind these locks allow for greater customization for the instructor as well as to increase classroom security.

Instructors using classrooms with Global Locks will be able to decide whether or not they want to leave their classrooms locked or unlocked during their lecture. 1 swipe of their proximity card will unlock the door for a short amount of time for the instructor to gain access to the room. This can enforce attendance policies if the instructor chooses this selection. 2 swipes of their proximity card will leave the door unlocked for the duration of the class period. This feature is especially useful during exams. Instead of having to keep the door propped open for students who come in late, instructors can simply leave the door unlocked. This minimizes the level of distraction to the students  in the middle of the exam. Not only are they not distracted by noise from the hallway, but they are also not distracted by late arrivals knocking on the door.

Another improved feature of the Global Locks is that they can be controlled remotely. ASFR can lock or unlock a door from their computer. This saves time and resources. Instructors will not have to wait on someone from ASFR to physically come to their room to unlock it. Since these locks can be programmed and controlled remotely, they can serve as a back-up incase of an emergency.

To access a locked door, an instructor holds up their access card to the card reader to unlock the door or they can use the card swipe on the side. When the lock turns green, the door is open. The handles on doors with Global Locks do not turn when unlocked. Instead of trying to turn the handle after unlocking the door, just give the door a push or a pull. There will be reminders posted about how to access these rooms printed above the Global Lock. If the door lock is red, this means the door is locked. If you swipe or use the proximity chip in your raider card and are unable to access the room, please contact ASFR. Our office’s contact information is also located under the door number of the room.

The GPC rooms which currently have Global Locks are Holden 127, 128, 130, 152, 255, Science 112, Human Science 273, and Math 12, 108. The GPCs in Media and Communications are in the process of transitioning from proximity locks with keypads to Global Locks. Until the Global Locks are up and running, proximity locks will still be in use. For this reason, we encourage all instructors to get proximity cards to use with the Global locks. Constant use of the card slider can wear out your card. However, proximity cards can just be held up to the lock’s sensor. This ensures that the card lasts much longer.

Classroom Technology Services has also created an excellent informative video that demonstrates the Global Lock’s usage. The video can be viewed by clicking here.

Please subscribe and learn more about GPC classrooms!