During the summer, OIT was busy making changes to more than 40 rooms, compiling a full classroom AV inventory, building a webpage that allows faculty and staff to locate rooms that match their technology requirements and installing two new lecture capture solutions in 7 rooms. We also added the upgraded rooms to our automated control system to notify us in advance of major issues. This brings our total to 145 rooms now configured in the monitoring tool.
Last spring, the Academic Technology Governance Council vetted and approved the list of technology upgrades to be covered under the University Technology Fund. This list included 26 rooms that received major upgrades and 14 rooms that received minor upgrades or repairs. Building upon the success of the prototype classroom project last summer, we deployed 25 additional Mersive Solstice Pods and 7 Epson interactive projectors. We installed two different solutions for lecture capture and video conferencing in 7 of the rooms.
Fondren Science 123 and 133 are among the few large capacity classrooms on campus. The technology in these rooms was antiquated. The lighting controls for the area are now built into the podium which has made it impossible to replace the various components. Working closely with the faculty who are routinely assigned to those rooms, the design was finalized to meet specific requirements. These rooms are now incredible spaces offering a wide range of technology and functionality including Mersive Solstice wireless collaboration devices, Epson interactive whiteboards/projectors, lecture capture, multiple document cameras (for showcasing experiments and demonstrations), side monitors for visibility in the back of the classroom, lighting controls, and more. Although there is an expected learning curve to utilize these components, faculty participating in the various training sessions have been enthusiastic about the upgraded rooms.
In addition to the upgrades, we initiated a separate project to identify the AV components and configurations in the various classrooms, labs and some conference room spaces on campus. We gathered details on the various components and took several photos of each room. This data was then used in two ways. First, schedule.smu.edu was updated with the various room features and a link to the photos. Secondly, a new web page (smu.edu/oit/classrooms/roomsearch) was built that allows you to filter and search for rooms that meet your technology requirements. For instance, if you need a room that supports video conferencing or interactive projectors, you can simply search by those features and locate the various rooms. We will add photos and other information to this list over the next several months. Finally, this inventory will be a valuable resource as we begin planning for the Technology Fund upgrades for next summer.