ITS is updating eight classrooms with new instructional technology. Work began on Meredith Hall rooms 229, 233, 236, 237, 202 and 206 in December and early January. Fine Arts Complex (FAC) rooms 304 and 336 will be updated during the spring semester. This article explains why and how these classrooms were selected and how we identified which audio/visual components to install.
Historically, ITS included every conceivable technology and connection in a room, resulting in high costs and unnecessary complexity. As a result, classrooms are both confusing and often don’t align with pedagogical needs. We wanted a way to cost-effectively modernize the most classrooms without affecting functionality. We determined that:
- Room control interfaces are challenging.
- Faculty need to project content, preferably using a projector.
- Faculty need amplified sound for video playback.
- Whiteboards are as critical, if not more critical than, projection.
- Wireless display technology frees the instructor from having to be at the front of a classroom.
- Multiple computer connection cables cause confusion and expense.
- Many faculty members want to easily allow students to project from their personal technology.
In order to compare rooms objectively, ITS created a classroom quality index based on the Educause Learning Space Rating System Initiative. With the help of this index, ITS staff reviewed every classroom and rated them to determine which rooms were most in need of upgrading. We identified 34 rooms that were at or near the point of immediate failure. View a complete list of the classrooms in need of updating
ITS staff met with individuals from the Registrar’s office, the faculty senate information technology committee, facilities planning management (FPM), and the classroom advisory group, comprised of a representative from each school/college. The purpose of these meetings was to ensure we were being fiscally responsible, that we had correctly identified the most urgent spaces to update, and that we had selected appropriate technology. We were given the go ahead from these groups to move forward with the upgrade plan as quickly as possible. We will continue to keep campus informed on the progress of these updates and the timeline for future classroom upgrades.