What is Standardized Technology?
Every general purpose classroom in the College of Natural Sciences contains a common set of A/V equipment operated through a standardized user interface. If an instructor knows how to operate the technology in one classroom, they know how to operate the technology in every classroom. Additionally, standardized technology simplifies troubleshooting, maintenance, and the variety of spare equipment that must be kept on hand. A history of the standardized technology classroom project can be found here.
The standardized technology includes:
- One or two 4000 lumen LCD projectors and (motorized or fixed) projection screens.
- A Crestron control system including a touch panel for operating the technology.
- A WolfVision document camera operating at 30 frames/second - for working problems in class, for displaying pages of a textbook, for showing specimens (e.g., plants, fossils), for demonstrating the operation of small equipment (e.g., a scientific calculator), and for displaying 35mm slides.
- A Dell PC running the Windows 7 operating system and having a standard set of applications including Microsoft Office.
- An Apple computer running the OSX operating system and having a standard set of applications including Microsoft Office.
- A VCR/DVD combo player for easily playing VHS tapes, DVD movies, and music CDs without the use of a computer.
- Cabling for connecting user-provided devices to the system, such as a laptop or a flash drive.
- A sound system which includes speakers throughout the room and - in larger rooms - a microphone for the instructor.
- A receiver and software for the eInstruction radio frequency CPS student response system.
- A web camera which - together with Crestron's RoomView software - allows remote testing, managing, and troubleshooting of rooms from the help desk.
Differences Among Rooms
With standardized technology, there are very few differences among rooms. These differences include:
- Rooms are either single projection rooms (with one LCD projector and screen) or dual projection rooms (with two LCD projectors and screens).
- The smaller classrooms, seating 50 or fewer students, will not usually be equipped with an instructor microphone.
- Some auditoriums have legacy 35mm slide projectors - not integrated into the system - in their projection booths. In all rooms, the document camera can be used to project 35mm slides.
- Select auditoriums include the capability to automatically record class lectures for review by students using the web.
Users will notice other differences that do not affect the functionality or operation of the rooms: the number and location of audio speakers is customized to the size of the room, the models of computers in the consoles depend on the year in which the computers were purchased, and the location of the LCD projectors (hung from the ceiling or located in a projection booth) varies from room to room.
Technology Excluded by the Standard
A conscious decision was made to exclude certain technologies from our classrooms:
- Old-fashioned overhead (acetate sheet) projectors are no longer provided in classrooms. They have been replaced by the more versatile document cameras.
- Electrical power and wired networking are not provided to the audience seats.
- All classrooms have high-speed (54Mbps, 802.11g) wireless Internet access. However, coverage will almost certainly not support every student simultaneously connected to the Internet.
- All classrooms have chalk boards. There are no marker boards (i.e., white boards) in our classrooms. The rationale for this decision can be found here.
A Second Standard for Teaching Labs and Conference Rooms
Teaching labs and conference rooms often do not have room for a technology podium. A second, zero-footprint standard was developed for these rooms. This standard includes the same ceiling-mounted LCD projector and motorized screen, and the same Crestron control system. But, input devices (computers, document camera, and VCR/DVD player) are provided on an as-needed basis. The touch screen and input connectors are mounted on the front wall of the room. The user interface is similar to that in the standardized technology classrooms.