5.4.2 Classroom Resources

Background

Effective planning and maintenance of technology-rich classrooms involves a variety of concerns. These include the redesigning of traditional classrooms into electronic classrooms that need initial installation as well as regular maintenance, upgrades, technical support, and security. Planning for electronic classrooms in new or renovated buildings is also essential. Additional concerns about effective planning and maintenance of classroom resources include scheduling and access to technology systems requiring log-ins as well as installation of software for particular classes. Finally, effective planning of classroom resources includes consideration of new technologies, like wireless and mobile computing, Internet2, and videoconferencing.

Redesigning traditional classrooms as electronic classrooms. In the past five years, SCSU has been very successful in redesigning and equipping traditional classrooms as electronic classrooms with a basic level of instructional technology, including the following:

  • an instructor’s station with a built-in multimedia computer
  • a projection screen
  • a means of projecting materials from the local computer onto the projection screen
  • a sound system
  • an Internet connection
  • a VCR and/or DVD

As of Fall 2003, 103 of the 144 classrooms that Academic Affairs currently schedules for courses will be equipped as electronic classrooms; a request that an additional 20 rooms be equipped through a MnSCU capital improvement initiative is in process. Our goal is to redesign the remainder of these classrooms as electronic classrooms during the life of this five-year technology plan. SCSU has been successful in developing electronic classrooms with the assistance of the Student Technology Fee Committee. This committee has budgeted for total cost of ownership (TCO) in its authorization of the renovations of 15 of these traditional classrooms into electronic classrooms spaces.

Currently, as new installations are completed, phones have been added to these electronic classrooms so that teachers have a direct connection to technology support during class times. Approval of the new phone system this spring should enable SCSU to expedite installation of phones in all computer classrooms within the next two years. (See 5.20.2.)

Existing concerns about classroom resources include the following:

  • 30-40 classrooms with equipment that is five years old should be upgraded and the TCO figured into the replacement/maintenance plan for these spaces.
  • Nine first-generation projectors that are seven years old should be replaced.
  • Another issue is lamp replacement. As more electronic classrooms come online, factoring lamp replacement into the TCO is especially important.
  • Some computer and projector equipment has been lost to theft; replacement equipment as well as the security systems to protect against such theft — security cages, sonic alarms on cables, and costs for special locks or card swipes — must be factored into the TCO.
  • Given the current budgetary pressure that is pushing up class sizes, more large classrooms are needed with media (projector and computer) and sound systems (including microphones) to meet demand.
  • Given the increased use of collaboration in classrooms, electronic classroom configurations (with student workstations and connectivity) that support group work and collaboration are needed.
  • Given the potential for technology failures, every electronic classroom should have a low-tech backup (such as a whiteboard and markers).

Planning for technology in new and renovated buildings. In addition to concerns about classroom technology resources in current classroom buildings, we should plan for technology every time we construct a new building or renovate an old one. Indeed, classroom technology should be a part of the overall SCSU Facilities Utilization and SCSU Physical Master Plans. Presently, Lawrence Hall is being renovated, and Centennial Hall and Riverview are included in MnSCU’s requests for capital improvement. When these renovations (and others) are being planned, it is essential that primary users be involved in the design of technology spaces. In addition, every time SCSU renovates a space, the university should build into the renovation plans the costs of infrastructure for telecommunications, power outlets, lighting, acoustics, and ergonomic furniture so that retrofitting for technology is minimal. Maintaining and supporting that technology (TCO) should also be part of the planning.

Scheduling, logins, and classroom training. Additional issues concerning classroom resources relate to campus-wide scheduling and to teacher training:

  • A scheduling system, perhaps a centralized scheduling system, is needed
    • to facilitate effective use of classroom space and
    • to enable departments and programs that do not "own" electronic classrooms or large classrooms with presentation equipment access to such spaces.

    • A committee currently working on Resource 25 may be addressing these issues.
  • When faculty from other departments or adjuncts use department or program systems with logins (such as the Novell network in ECC), they need access to logins. Developing a common log-in system (perhaps Campus Desktop) might take care of such access problems.
  • Faculty should be trained to teach in these electronic classroom spaces: they should be trained to integrate technology into their pedagogy (see 5.4.3) and trained so they are able to trouble-shoot equipment problems during class; they shouldn’t simply be trained to set up the classroom by pushing buttons (see 5.17).

Requesting software. Computers in electronic classrooms are loaded with a bundle of core software to meet general student and faculty needs. In some cases, however, faculty need additional software to be installed on the instructor's and/or students' computers to achieve classroom goals, and the process and timeline for making such requests isn't always clear. Therefore, the system for requesting software needs to be reviewed and communicated to faculty to ensure that software is available on classroom computers during the class times students and faculty need to use it. This formal system should enable faculty to make software requests once classrooms have been scheduled and in plenty of time for technologists to install the software.

Integrating new technology in the classroom. Finally, SCSU needs to plan for the integration of new technology in the classroom. For instance, an important new technology is Internet2, a separate pipeline from the ones used by current commercial and educational users with a much greater capacity and speed, linking over 200 universities worldwide. Internet2 is useful

  • for access to huge databases (of bioinformatics, for instance) or data, images, and digitized collections (like the Smithsonian)
  • for applications like remote control of scientific instruments, such as mountaintop telescopes and electron microscopes
  • for real-time access to high-definition quality video broadcasts of live performances for media streaming, etc.

In addition, videoconferencing over Internet2 is critical for connections outside of the state since videoconferencing requires a steady pipeline and is free if Internet2 is already available. MnSCU Office of the Chancellor (IT) should be asked to facilitate this application of technology. International videoconferencing and internationalization of programming would be possible via Internet2, and ITV in this way could be incorporated into every classroom.

Another relatively new technology with potential for classroom use is wireless and mobile computing. (See 5.11.1.)

Goals

In the next five years, SCSU will

  • fully fund the replacement/maintenance plan for classroom resources (targeting a three-year replacement cycle for computers)
  • expand the number of rooms with presentation equipment, targeting large classrooms
  • expand the number of technology-enhanced spaces for teaching (student connectivity)
  • plan for the total cost of ownership when planning for technology in new or renovated buildings
  • explore means of addressing theft in electronic classrooms, including prevention (i.e. security systems, communication about security, and training about security) and planning (replacement costs and security systems as part of TCO)
  • provide on-call support during classes (by including a telephone in every classroom)
  • define the role of LR&TS technologists, college technologists, and student workers in supporting electronic classrooms
  • provide training in the effective use of these spaces
    • integrating technology with pedagogy
    • trouble-shooting equipment during class
  • explore centralized scheduling and logins for computer systems to facilitate effective use of classroom space and to enable departments and programs equal access to electronic classrooms, including large classrooms with presentational technology
  • formalize a system for requesting software installation in electronic classrooms and communicate that system to faculty
  • explore integration of new technology (like Internet2 and mobile computing) into classroom spaces

Specific Actions and Timeline

A committee comprising technologists supporting electronic classrooms, faculty, students, and other stakeholders will be developed to focus on classroom resources for this plan.

  • The committee will follow the standard timeline (see 5.0) for carrying out and reporting on specific actions necessary to accomplish the goals for classroom resources in this part of the technology plan.
  • During the 2007/2008 academic year, the committee will produce a final report on assessment of the effects of technology on student learning and classrooms and a planning document for the next five-year plan. These will be submitted to TLTR by February 1, 2008, for review.

Resources

Resources to support electronic classrooms should be well defined in order to provide consistent and reliable service in these areas. Specific support should be tied to particular cost-centers, and all stakeholders should be aware of their obligation to support all types of electronic classrooms.

Evaluation

  • Has the committee planned for full funding of the replacement/maintenance plan for classroom resources
  • Has the university allocated resources to support full funding of the replacement/maintenance plan?
  • Has SCSU expanded the number of rooms with presentation equipment, including large classrooms?
  • Has SCSU expanded the number of technology-enhanced spaces for teaching (student connectivity)?
  • Has SCSU planned for the total cost of ownership when planning for technology in new or renovated buildings?
  • Has the committee explored means of addressing theft in electronic classrooms and made recommendations concerning prevention and planning (for equipment loss and for security systems as part of TCO)?
  • Has the university provided on-call support during classes (by including a telephone in every classroom)?
  • Has the committee defined the roles of LR&TS technologists, college technologists, and student workers in supporting electronic classrooms?
  • Has the university provided training in the effective use of electronic classrooms?
  • Has the committee explored and made recommendations concerning centralized scheduling and logins for computer systems to facilitate effective use of classroom space and to enable departments and programs equal access to electronic classrooms?
  • Has the committee formalized a system for requesting software installation in electronic classrooms and communicated that system to faculty?
  • Has the committee explored integration of new technology (like Internet2) into classroom spaces?
  • Has the committee completed a final report?
  • Has the committee developed recommendations for the next technology planning cycle?

Revised: May 2003