IT News

Demonstration classrooms go virtual

The Division of Information Technology is making changes to the Demonstration Classrooms for the 2013 Fall Semester. The changes will affect all faculty and staff members who use an instructor station in any of the Demonstration Classrooms. The changes are being made between August 6 and August 16 to be ready for the start of fall semester classes on August 19.

What is a demonstration classroom?   This is a Division of IT supported classroom with only one computer at the instructor station, along with a laptop input and equipment for presentations such as a projector.  There are no student computer stations in these classrooms. IT also supports public electronic classrooms which have one computer at the instructor station, along with a laptop input and equipment for presentations such as a projector.  In addition, there are student computer stations in these classrooms for each student.  The changes will affect only demonstration classrooms.

The goal of the updates is to create and maintain a virtual environment for the Demonstration Classroom machines. This will give us major flexibility regarding updates and software accessible to instructors who use the Demonstration Classrooms, as well as many other improvements to the processes used to maintain the instructor station computers. The actual equipment in the room will remain the same, and the process of using the computers that are on the instructor carts will be altered only slightly.

The changes being made are based on feedback we received from Demonstration Classroom users who took part in a trial we ran during the 2013 Spring Semester. The basic functions of the computers will remain the same, and instructors will continue to use their same username and password to login to the computers. Microsoft Office and all multimedia (such as YouTube videos, QuickTime movies, streaming audio, etc.) will be played on the local instructor station computers. Curriculum specific applications with higher requirements will now be accessed through the VCAT virtual environment. Examples of these applications include SPSS, MatLab, Mathematica, etc. Access to these software packages will be provided through the VCAT application icon found on the instructor station computers.

A detailed guide will be sent to all instructors scheduled to teach in any Demonstration Classroom during the upcoming semester. We will also be placing a reference sheet on all teaching carts containing detailed instructions on the new changes.

If you have any questions regarding the changes, please contact the Instructional Computing Team. You can do so by calling the IT Help Desk at (828) 227-7487 and asking to speak to someone from Instructional Computing.

We welcome any feedback you may want to share. Please let us know what you think.