Tag Archives: Media Services

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.

New videoconferencing IP addresses for Middlebury

As of Friday, September 6th, 2013, LIS switched over all videoconferencing rooms at Middlebury to a new, more reliable network for videoconferencing. As a result, our IP addresses have changed. If you schedule and run videoconferences without LIS support, you should be aware of the new IP addresses. The new addresses can be found on this page (login required).

Please contact the Help Desk if you have any questions.

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.

New Computer Lab in Library 140 Supports Quantitative Analysis and Experimental Social Sciences

In September 2012 we opened a new 35 seat computer lab in Library 140. The new lab is designed to support both work in quantitative analysis, and also for use as a space for conducting experiments. Scheduling of the lab is through the Registrar’s office, with preference for courses requiring specialized statistical packages. Kudos and thanks to our colleagues in Facilities and Media Services for their work in getting this built during an already busy summer season.

New Smart Classrooms & Renovations – AXT 305, CHT 110, MBH 305 plus Carr 005 and LIB140

In June and July (and in time for the Language Schools!), LIS installed new audio/video projection systems in four classrooms that were lacking technology:

  • Twilight Hall 305 (AXT 305)
  • Chateau 110 (CHT 110)
  • McCardell Bicentennial Hall 305 (MBH 305)
  • Sunderland 123 (SDL 123)

Thanks to all the hard work from Facilities Services, Sherwin Electric and BTS, we were able to get the equipment installed and operational very quickly. The classrooms are HD-ready and provide both analog and digital computer connections, as well as Blu-ray and DVD/VHS players.

The technology in all the classrooms is virtually the same, with AXT 305 being slightly different. The AXT 305 classroom features a 60″ energy efficient LED TV instead of the more traditional drop-down projection screen. This is our first LED TV classroom, a pilot project to examine the feasibility of using TVs instead of projection screens in smaller classrooms. Using a TV instead of a drop down projection screen saves time and money, while providing a brighter display. Moreover, LED TVs use less electricity than projectors.

In addition to the new smart classrooms above, the technology system in Carr Hall 005 received an upgrade in July, as well. We completed this project in collaboration with UVM and thanks to the efforts of Bob Cluss.

Carr 005 is one of our videoconferencing spaces. It now features a new high definition videoconferencing unit and the ability to share a computer screen or other content during a videoconference. The space can also be used as a regular classroom – the equipment supports computer projection as well as DVD and VHS playback.

Last, but not least, Library 140 received a major renovation – it now has seating capacity for 36 people and features a dual projection system! The new audio/video system features two high definition projectors and provides full digital connectivity, as well as support for older analog formats.

Instructions for using the technology in these space are available here:

Here are some photos from a few of the classrooms (hover your mouse over each photo for a description):
Twilight 305
Sunderland 123
Davis Family Library 140

Media Services Meeting Notes 110409

Dean proposed a template for any/all blogs that we submit reflecting results of the weekly meetings.
Elin Waagen will perhaps give us a few how-to’s on this.

1)Discussion of reduction in services proposals and ramifications.
With the rollout of new website in early 2010 it was determined that important service level updates be included in this
Scott will be writing draft of Videotaping guidelines with cost analysis and brought up possible charging for services
His DLA team is also looking at needs and guidelines
Stewart has been charged with writing a draft on revised screening policy
Possible training of designated students( by professor) in booth projection spaces.
Dean and Charlie will be writing a draft for equipment loans
Each of these drafts will be due on the 18th of November

2) Charlie will take responsibility for meeting with language school directors during the winter around equipment distribution needs in the past /present and future. Will be working closely with a computer tech who will oversee the distribution of computers and peripherals

3) Room 140 was discussed as an upgrade option and several ideas were discussed;
Using slim-clients and a virtual machine.
Black box?
Eliminating laptops in that space entirely and having students ( if needed) take from circ.
The future of ILC 1, 2, 3, 24 hour lab SDL 202 and possible reductions in computer lab space.

4)Emergency line coverage was discussed with the understanding that we will be down to 3 people
The importance of phone coverage from 8 -5:00 pm was discussed with an increased awareness that this is a priority of Media Services. We, as a group, must be aware that emergency phone coverage is crucial.

5)Discussion of the Arts Technical Support group and its impact on us as a group if this becomes a sanctioned process.