Author Archives: Petar Mitrevski

New Smart Classrooms in Twilight

Dear colleagues,

In late May and early June of this year, LIS worked with Facilities Services to add new media equipment in several classrooms in Twilight: 110, 204, 206 and 301. You can now play DVD (or Blu ray) discs on a larger screen or connect your laptop and show a presentation in these rooms. However, due to the industry’s goal to eliminate analog media, we were not able to add VCRs in these classrooms – VCRs and VHS tapes are simply not being produced anymore. We have announced the analog sunset in MiddPoints, but it is worth mentioning again that, as we update technology in classrooms, we will need to continue removing VCRs. Please visit the Analog Sunset page to learn more about what LIS is doing about this and what you can do to prepare. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Why TVs?
Note that in these classrooms we chose to use flat screen TVs instead of a projector & projection screen. This reduced the project costs by close to 60%. In addition (and unlike a projector) the TVs do not need a lamp, which further reduces our operating costs and ensures that a class is not interrupted by a lamp failure. You can see a photo of room 204 here.

Whiteboard in Twilight 204
Please note that during the installation of the equipment in room 204, we had to move the whiteboard to one of the sidewalls. The room has a 12 foot chalkboard and another portable chalkboard. We can certainly add a portable whiteboard to the room, if that is necessary, just let me know.

How-to & Orientation
The equipment in the classrooms is simple and similar to other rooms on campus, however it is new for twilight. There are written instructions in a drawer under the screen in each of the rooms, and the same instructions are online: Using the Media Equipment in Twilight 110, 204, 206, 301. However, if you would like an orientation on how to use the technology in these rooms, please let me know.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

Sincerely,
Petar

New hire in Media Services – David Wright

I am happy to announce that David Wright has joined Media Services as a full-time Media Services Specialist II. David has worked for us since April as a temp, assisting with event support, recordings, videoconferences, web help desk and more. He comes with a great deal of A/V experience which he gained from Full Sail University and while working in NYC for three years as an Audio Engineer. He also worked with the local Hilton and Basin Harbor Club on event setups, including audio and video. David DJs in his free time.

Welcome David Wright

Please welcome David Wright to LIS. David will be joining LIS as a Media Services Temp, working with us from 4/30/13 to 7/22/13.
David comes with a good deal of audio recording experience which he gained from Full Sail University, and while working in NYC for three years as an Audio Engineer. He also worked with the Hilton and the Basin Harbor Club on event setups, including audio and video. David DJs in his free time.

David will start off with a desk behind Circulation and move into LIB202A soon.

Goodbye VHS (and LaserDisc) – The Analog Sunset

Important notice about the analog video format
This is an important notice about the analog video format. It relates to the phasing out analog media and analog players (VCR, Laserdisc [LD] and slide projectors) in the classrooms at Middlebury College. Please review the next sections for information on the reasons behind this and the approach that LIS plans to undertake.

Summary of the analog sunset plan
Analog media (VHS, Betamax, U-matic, etc.) and certain digital media (LaserDiscs) have become obsolete – new media are not being produced, nor are replacement players. For LaserDisc and VCR technology, better, higher quality, and easier to use digital technologies have emerged. By removing these media players players and slide projectors from classrooms, and by replacing these older formats with digital ones, we can ensure that our classrooms will continue to be functional, easy to use, and easy to support, both now and in the near future.

The media and computer industries have chosen to retire certain older audio and video technologies and move to newer digital audio and video formats. This means the imminent death of VHS, LaserDisc, 3/4″ tape and, eventually, even our beloved VGA (and possibly even 16mm and 35mm film, but we don’t know that quite yet). BluRay (using a newer connection type – HDMI) and streaming Internet video are the newer formats intended to replace all of the aforementioned older media formats. The DVD format remains alive, for now.

LIS has developed a plan to address the obsolescence of these older formats and support for the new ones. The process is guided by a combination of technology options, copyright law, and input from our user community. The Copyright and Fair Use Guidelines section of the Handbook outlines some of the copyright intricacies. If you currently have a VHS tape, Laserdisc or 35mm slides that you use for class, you should be developing a strategy for migrating the class material to a different media for use inside and outside of class (see What can you do to prepare.)

Important Dates

  • Phase I – Beginning January 1, 2013 LIS will no longer add VHS players to new or renovated classrooms. Current status: VHS players were not added to any of the Warner classrooms after the renovations in January, 2013.
  • Phase II – Beginning January 1, 2014 LIS will begin removing VHS, LaserDisc, and slide projectors from all classrooms except for the main auditoriums (Sunderland Dana, Alexander Twilight Auditorium, and Axinn 232). We need to preserve as many of these devices as possible for spare parts and archival purposes.
  • Phase III – Onward and upward. LIS will continue to move forward with digital technology, including investigating reliable streaming options, and strive to accommodate any emerging technologies for the future.

What we are doing to prepare

  • Over the past two years, LIS has replaced a large amount of analog and obsolete media (VHS & LaserDisc) placed on Library Reserves with DVD or Blu-Ray media. Last winter, a large LaserDisc deselection project reduced our holdings by almost 90% and was lauded by staff and faculty as a strong step forward. In the past year we’ve been turning our attention to the VHS collection, targeting those items which have never circulated, which reduced our holdings by over 35%. We are currently in the process of removing VHS copies of works for which we also have DVD and/or Blu-Ray versions.
  • Other VHS titles have not circulated at all in the past seven years (i.e., since our migration of MIDCAT to the current platform), and we are reviewing those titles with faculty input and assistance. Individual departments should check their collection of media titles for VHS items. If any are crucial for teaching or research, LIS can attempt to purchase new copies in modern format (DVD or Blu-Ray) if we do not already have them. If these formats are not available, we will retain the VHS. All other VHS will be removed from the collection.
  • Our classrooms will continue to have the option of bringing in an analog or obsolete digital device (VCR, LaserDisc player, slide projector) for the foreseeable future. LIS maintains an inventory of VCRs, LaserDisc players, and slide projectors in functional condition available for check-out from the Library circulation desk. However, there is no guarantee that we will be able to maintain and repair these devices indefinitely, as new supplies dwindle.
  • We are following similar steps with our collection of aging audio cassettes. Cassettes that have never circulated in the past seven years are being reviewed. Cassettes that have been put on reserve or that have circulated will be replaced, retained, or migrated to a newer format.
  • Please place individual requests to purchase replacements VHS/LaserDisc media at go/requests.

What can you do to prepare
If you currently have a VHS tape, Laserdisc or 35mm slides that you use for class, you should be developing a strategy for migrating the class material to a different media for use inside and outside of class. Look for DVD, Blu-Ray or (legal) Internet video replacements for any VHS, LaserDisc, 3/4″ tape, or Betamax titles in your personal collection. The Library (go/requests) or your liaison (go/liaisons) can assist you with this. If a commercial digital copy is available we will attempt to purchase a replacement; processing times will vary based on availability. Before any in-house conversion of analog or obsolete digital formats is done, however, we need to determine the legality of the duplication request. Expect about 5 business days for the copyright question to be resolved (this can be a somewhat complex issue) and another 5 business days for the actual conversion.

Your input is needed!
We are looking for feedback on the plan, the process and our communications. You can reach out to your LIS liaison or contact me (Petar Mitrevski) directly. You can also post a response right here on the blog and start a lively discussion.

We emphasize the analog sunset whenever we receive a report that a VCR player or VHS tape is broken. We have shared this plan with the Faculty LIS Advisory Group (FLAC) and are working to incorporate their feedback. LIS liaisons will continue to work with each academic department to share this plan and engage in discussion. We have talked about the analog sunset in our December Quarterly Update, April Quarterly Update, and in the context of the recent classroom renovations in Warner. But we need more input from our community. Thank you!

More Information
You can read the entire plan at http://go.middlebury.edu/analog. In addition, we’ve developed an FAQ section based on questions from our community. You can also check what other schools are doing to address the issue.

Fix for a mac computer in a classroom that’s not projecting correctly

Basics:

1. Is the projector on?  A solid green light indicated proper functioning on most projectors.  Blinking reds or oranges indicate a projector issue.

2. Have you selected the correct input?  Occasionally you have to select another source and then re-select the “laptop” source on touch panel

Mac Specific issues:

1. Is mirroring on (click on the picture below for a bigger version)?

mac-mirroring

2. If yes, check the VGA/HD15 cable for a bent pin

HD15

The picture above shows a proper VGA cable

3. Macs all need adapters or “dongles” to project.  A common failure point is these adapters.  Due to the stress put on them from the connecting cables internal connections eventually fail.  Most times you will see odd colors before a total failure.

4. Changing your resolution:

We recommend a 1024X768 as a reliable resolution.  Feel free to choose others that fit your eye but note that a higher resolution will make the text smaller.  Below is a quick guide on how to change the resolution

  1. Minimize or close all currently open windows.
  2. Go to the Apple menu (the apple icon on the left side of the tool bar) and select “System Preferences…”
  3. Click on “Displays”
  4. In the Display tab, select the resolution you would like to test.
  5. Test your web pages in the new resolution.
  6. When you’re done, go back to the “Displays” window and change back to your preferred resolution.

 

Trouble projecting from a podium computer or your PC laptop?

Have you recently had difficulties projecting from your laptop or the podium desktop computer?

Here is an easy tip to try on a Windows 7 or Windows 8 computer:

  • Press and hold the Windows button + P.
  • This window will pop up for Windows 7
  • http://www.mymegabyte.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/windows7screenshoot3.png

  • Choose the Duplicate option.
  •  

  • This window will pop up for Windows 8
  • Connect External Monitor or Projector to your Windows 8 Computer

  • Choose the Duplicate option.

If you have a Mac or an older version of Windows you can visit our go/projection website for more projection tips.

We are looking into ways in which we can make the “Duplicate” option be default on podium computers. If you prefer to use one of the other options (e.g. Extend) you can always temporarily choose that.

Next week we will show you how to do the same on a Mac and we will also publish an article about using PowerPoint’s Presenter Mode. Stay tuned!

Please don’t hesitate to contact the helpdesk if you need more help! We are happy to schedule a help session for a larger group or meet with you one on one!

Best,
The LIS Media Services Crew

Orientation session for new classroom technology

LIS is offering orientation sessions for the new audio/video technology that is scheduled to be installed in several Warner classrooms. We hope that these sessions will help make a smooth transition from the old technology to the new one. Anyone is welcome to attend and there is no need to sign up, you can just come to any of the sessions.

1. There will be two sessions on Wednesday, December 5th in Sunderland 123:
1:00pm – 1:30pm
1:30pm – 2:00pm
Note: The equipment installed in Sunderland 123 is identical to what will be installed in the Warner classrooms.

2. There will be two sessions on Friday, January 11th in Warner 202:
1:30pm – 2:00pm
2:00pm – 2:30pm

Please visit our previous blog post for more detail on the upgrades in Warner. If you cannot attend these sessions but would like an orientation (either before January or after), please contact the Helpdesk and we will schedule an appointment. If you have any questions about the workshops or the upgrades, please do not hesitate to contact me at x2833 or via email.

Smart classroom renovations in Warner this December & January

Lighting and audio/video renovations will take place between Dec 16 and Jan 6 in all Warner classrooms except the Hemicycle. LIS will offer orientation sessions prior to December in identical classrooms, as well as during the first week of J-term (orientation dates will be posted on the LIS blog, soon).

As part of the renovation, Facilities Services will upgrade the lighting systems in Warner 202, 203, 207, 208, 506 and 507. The new lighting system will use LED lights which are more energy efficient and longer lasting. This upgrade will begin after the end of exams, on Dec 16th. The lighting upgrade will be completed before J-term starts. As each room gets an upgraded lighting system, LIS will also upgrade the audio/video equipment. If there is a delay in any room, the upgrade will be rescheduled for the February recess and the existing lighting and A/V will remain in place and will be functional.

As part of these renovations:

  • The VHS players from the classrooms will be removed. Please see our Analog Sunset web page for more information on the future of VHS players.
  • A new Blu-ray/DVD combo player will be installed.
  • The option for connecting a laptop with a VGA cable will remain, and we will add an option for connecting a laptop digitally (via HDMI).
  • The podium computers will remain, as well.
  • The existing document cameras will remain and they can be moved from classroom to classroom as needed.
  • The existing screens will remain in place, so no chalkboard space will be lost.

Due to the extensive electrical work required for Warner Hemicycle, this space will not be part of the lighting or audio/video upgrade. We are working with Facilities Services to make this a project for 2013-2014.