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 settings






















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




















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.


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