The design of electronic teaching spaces can have a substantial impact on their use. The equipment has to be transparent -- predictable, simple to understand and easy to use. Anybody who uses these instructional spaces should be able to expect support and training.
In addition, the technologically rich spaces SCSU currently has are not well suited to teaching and learning. Better environments have a low level of ambient noise and sophisticated lighting controls. Because the equipment itself adds to the noise level and because they may be doing more cooperative and collaborative projects, students in a technological instructional space need to be able to hear and see everyone in the class. Also, once they are more accustomed to using computers, students are more likely to begin bringing computers to class, which means the small tablet desks will be inadequate for all the materials needed for class.
When technological instructional spaces are designed, attention needs to be paid to ergonomics. The electrical, networking, atmospheric and furniture needs of technologically rich instructional spaces are different from the requirements of traditional classrooms, which means that budgets for instructional spaces must include money for the ambient environment. Budgets must also include money for technical support personnel, who may need to be in the room during classes, who may need to provide ongoing maintenance and who may need to assist instructors as well as the University itself in the design and maintenance of these rooms.
At present, audio-visual equipment (VCRs and monitors) must be transported across campus, an inefficient and costly method of supporting the instructional process. With the telecommunications infrastructure currently deployed throughout the campus, we are well prepared to implement a new approach in the delivery of instructional support materials to the classroom. An campus-wide Electronic Media Delivery system is designed around a high-speed digital server upon which instructional support materials would reside. This server should be capable of storing video, graphics, audio files and any other materials that could be coded to the digital domain and then accessed from classrooms over the campus data network. This Electronic Media Delivery system would support simultaneous, multiple users accessing the same materials at random locations within the program.
We recommend that over a five-year period all commonly used classrooms be equipped with a basic level of instructional technology, including the following:
In addition to the technology available in the "basic" or traditional classroom, smart classrooms need to have technology that allows the teacher or leader to broadcast or project materials. Such additional technology might include the following:
In addition to the technology available in smart classrooms, computer classrooms need to have technology that allows students to work at their own computers. Such additional technology might include the following:
For rooms able to be used for distance learning, some or all of the following to the basic and smart classroom level of technology would be needed:
For SCSU to successfully implement virtual classrooms, the following list of tools is needed: