Tag Archives: Classroom Technology

Classroom A/V Upgrades: CFA 221, Chateau 109, La Force 121, and Ross B11

Over February Break LIS upgraded the audio/video equipment in these classrooms on-campus:

Chateau 109

La Force 121

Ross B11

CFA 221

Here is what has changed:
- added a new type of connection (HDMI) but kept the existing video connections
- replaced the DVD player with a Blu-ray player that can play DVDs as well as Blu-ray discs
- removed the VCR (3 loaner VCRs are available at the Davis Family Library and 1 will be available at Armstrong soon; VCRs can be plugged into the auxiliary video input at the rack)
- replaced the aging touch panel with a slightly larger one that we’ve found is easier to use (very similar to the touch panels in many other classrooms)

We’d be happy to schedule an orientation session – just contact us at helpdesk@middlebury.edu. You can also watch a video on how to use the new equipment.

Throughout the rest of 2014 we plan to upgrade the equipment in several other classrooms:

March recess:
SDL 203

May/June recess:
MNR 214
MNR 314
MNR 401
MNR 407

Classroom A/V upgrades: AXT 201, FIC Freeman 1, FIC Cook 1, Gifford Classroom, MBH (several)

In December 2013 LIS upgraded the audio/video equipment in many classrooms on-campus:

  • AXT 201
  • FIC FR1
  • FIC CK1
  • GFD CLS
  • BIH 104
  • BIH 117
  • BIH 161
  • BIH 317
  • BIH 505
  • BIH 632
  • PRS KDR

Here is what has changed:
- installed a new, brighter, high definition projector
- added a new type of connection (HDMI) but kept the existing video connections
- replaced the DVD player with a Blu-ray player that can play DVDs as well as Blu-ray discs
- removed the VCR (3 loaner VCRs are available at the Davis Family Library and 1 will be available at Armstrong soon; VCRs can be plugged into the auxiliary video input at the rack)
- replaced the aging touch panel with a slightly larger one that we’ve found is easier to use (very similar to the touch panels in many other classrooms)

We’d be happy to schedule an orientation session – just contact us at helpdesk@middlebury.edu. You can also watch a video on how to use the new equipment.

In 2014 we plan to upgrade the equipment in several other classrooms:

February recess:
CHT 109
LAFORCE121
MCA 221

March recess:
ROSS B11
SDL 203

May/June recess:
MNR 214
MNR 314
MNR 401
MNR 407

Goodbye VHS (and LaserDisc) – The Analog Sunset

This is a reminder and an update since our post in April regarding removal of VHS and LaserDisc players from classrooms starting January 1, 2014.

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. VCRs were also not added to the new smart classrooms in Twilight (May/June 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.

Helpful Media/AV Tips for the New Semester

The Fall semester is almost upon us. We are checking each classroom and event space to ensure the technology is working so we should be able to proactively avoid most hardware failures. However, put any two pieces of technology together and odd things may happen. Here are a few articles that we’ve written to help ease media/AV issues:

  1. Classroom Tech Tips:
  2. Planning an event? See our Top Tech Tips for a Successful Event post.
  3. The Analog Sunset: Goodbye, VHS

Let us know if there’s a topic that’s missing. Good luck with the new semester!

Best,
The LIS Media Services Crew

Short video – How to use the touch panel in a classroom

More than half of our classrooms have been standardized on one type of touch panel (Extron). By the end of the upcoming academic year, close to three quarters will have the same type of touch panel.

We’ve put together a short video on how to use this type of touch panel in a classroom:

The video shows the touch panel from Davis Library room 140, but other than the room name, the layout is the same across our other classrooms of this type (Extron).

Any questions or feedback are welcome!

Petar

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

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.