IT Interface Newsletter Spring 2010
Last November, the ITS department undertook a project to outfit 80 classroom with technology systems. After months of hard work, the team has finally met their April deadline and completed this classroom technology project.
This was no easy task for the ITS team. The bulk of the installations were completed during winter break, since the classrooms were not in use. Once the spring semester began, however, the team had to work around class schedules to get into the rooms and complete the project.
With the completion of this 80 room outfitting, a total of 175 classroom spaces now contain some form of teaching technology. 159 of these 175 classrooms are fully outfitted with either Tier 1 or Tier 1+ technology. Tier 1 technology consists of a PC computer, LCD flatscreen, DVD/VCR player, document camera, and MediaLink Control system all assembled into a cart which can act as a teaching podium for faculty members. Rooms with Tier 1 technology also have full internet connectivity and audio systems. Tier 1+, has everything a Tier 1 classroom has, but with a few added features. Classrooms with Tier 1+ technology feature a Smart Sympodium and LCD Touchscreen, where any work performed on those devices can be saved to a website or as a PDF file for later access.
At the end of the spring semester, the ITS department will be outfitting the remaining classrooms that do not have classroom technology. Information Technology’s goal is by the beginning of the July, 100% of UMass Lowell classrooms will be technology enhanced.
This technology greatly benefits both the teaching experience of the faculty members and the learning experience of the students. Having technology in all of these classrooms means faculty members will no longer have to worry if technology will be available to them when they are assigned to teach in a certain classroom. With classroom technology, faculty can use electronic resources to show educational material to students that they could never do prior to this technology. For example, professors can show their students a video or an image from the internet. Faculty members can use the document camera instead of a white board, and save their notes, unlike a white board that must be erased. All of these resources are made available to the faculty right in the room at their fingertips, and everything is designed to be as user-friendly as possible.
One of the main goals of this project has been to increase the reliability of classroom technology and to always find more ways to maintain a high level of reliability. Another upcoming project reinforcing the reliability of this technology is the Computers on Wheels, or COWS. The COWS will be strategically located on campuses so replacement components can be wheeled into a classroom if the technology in the room is not functioning correctly. This way, faculty members can avoid losing valuable class time. These systems will be implemented in July.
Technology is an important part of this modern day, and it is certainly an important part of UMass Lowell. Having sophisticated technology in the classroom means that teaching, and therefore learning, can be much more efficient, allowing both faculty and students to get the most out of their educational experience at UMass Lowell.