Fall 2020 Central Pool Classroom - Face-to-Face/Remote Teaching & Learning

Instructors and students—approximately 8,000 people per hour—rely on classroom technology to facilitate the teaching and learning experience in the 110 centrally scheduled classrooms supported by Classroom Technical Support (CTS).

This year, with the COVID-19 pandemic hitting the world, CTS was able to pivot to provide the campus with 10 classrooms equipped to teach in a synchronous mode with broadcast capabilities for students attending face-to-face and online courses.

CTS also equipped six classroom studios to be used by faculty members to record and broadcast lectures remotely in both synchronous and asynchronous formats. The expertise of CTS technicians made this possible under complex conditions and with limited resources; they had to navigate the critical environment and supply chain delays and shortages, but were able to successfully achieve their goal.

In Fall 2020, CTS assisted the CourseLink Support team by coming up to speed on the Level 1 support services offered, and engaging students and instructors with the support requests. This helped to share the load at a time where there was an increased amount of support calls. 

Infographic showing CTS data.

Infographic showing CTS data.

Infographic showing CTS data.

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Instructors and students alike have come to depend upon OpenEd to provide them with resources, guidance and materials to support teaching and learning. In March of 2020, we quickly moved towards helping instructors think about what was needed to conduct course instruction from their homes. Through simple, yet innovative solutions, the instructors conducted their courses with guidance from our expert staff.

Throughout the summer, we developed a Classroom Technology page for the Remote Teaching & Learning website to provide instructors with tips on how to use classroom technology. When instructors returned to campus in the fall, they were better prepared and capable of successfully delivering their course content with technology.

Academic Support with Technology for Alternate and Continued Online Delivery

CTS evaluated conferencing equipment for classrooms, seminar rooms and meeting rooms that utilize cameras, microphone systems, USB capture, recording and streaming, and AV bridge. The following list of upgrades were completed:

  • Macdonald Hall 218 - full audio-visual upgrade to encompass broadcast capability with upgraded microphone and web conferencing capability
  • President’s House - web conferencing upgrade
  • Crop Science 121b - installation of web conferencing setup
  • Macdonald Hall 232 - installation of web conferencing setup
  • Lang - Clickshare upgrade in Active Learning classroom
  • College of Biological Science - redeployment of equipment to facilitate remote delivery of courses and labs
  • College of Biological Science - Powell Labs upgrade (This audio-visual upgrade enables professors to showcase and demonstrate team teaching and active learning for human kinetics.)
  • CSAHS Marriage and Family Therapy Clinic - full project of AV design
  • Library Room 300 - learning commons AV upgrade

Future Strategy and Vision of Classroom Technology

CTS has engaged in a strategic design process for the future of the classroom by engaging stakeholders, support resources, and partners to solve critical problems in the classroom infrastructure.

  • Partnered with CCS on networking requirements to use the Campus Network as a transport mechanism to integrate as an industry best practice for classrooms
  • Built a Crestron Fusion server and integrated over 25 classrooms gathering data from classroom usage
  • Started a laptop loan program for students, staff and faculty—students can borrow laptops free of charge, enabling digital access to their coursework

Repairs of Existing Spaces

Digital Signage

Committee Participation

Repairs to installed audio-visual areas on campus:

  • Athletics
    • Gold Pool - audio system
    • Athletics Centre - Broadcast Room
    • Football Stadium Presentation Space
    • Athletics Centre 3201
    • Athletics Centre 3203
    • Athletics Centre 3212 - Dance/Aerobics Studio
    • Athletics Centre 3213
    • Athletics Centre 3216 - Spin Studio
  • MAC 232 - Active Learning Room projector failure
  • College of Arts - document camera
  • Library 120 - decommissioning of equipment
  • Lab Services Board Room - projector
  • Pathobiology 1813 - microscope repair

For 10 years, CTS has partnered with the Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics (Lang) to successfully support more than 40 digital signs across campus.

CTS and Lang have recently relinquished support of these operations due to a shift in institutional strategy—a dedicated CCS analyst will assume support of all digital signage moving forward.

Prior to the transition, CTS worked with its stakeholders (Lang, College of Arts, College of Social and Applied Human Sciences, School of Engineering and Physical Sciences) to plan, manage, and successfully cutover the Tightrope Carousel digital signage server with the vendor to the University’s new virtual server environment. Subsequent to that, CTS replaced all remaining Windows 7 digital signage players with upgraded BrightSign players, ensuring that the CCS department has a fresh and newly-upgraded environment.

Over the past year, CTS staff have enthusiastically participated in the following committees:

  • OpenEd Wellness Committee
  • Joint Health and Safety Committee
  • Classroom Advisory Committee
  • IT Strategic Plan Committees
  • Campus IT Leaders Group
  • IT Special Interest Group
  • Accessibility Built Environment Committee

CTS staff have also joined several leading industry associations and committees.

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Academic Space Audio-Visual Upgrades & Maintenance

The following academic spaces were upgraded as a part of the Audio-Visual Evergreen program:

  • Richards 2520 - programmed, installed and refreshed projector
  • War Memorial Hall - replaced and reprogrammed projectors
  • Alexander Hall 200 - replaced screens