Media Cabinets Help Instructors Spice up Their Lectures

Very few universities in the country offer media technology hookups in every single classroom, but as of June, 2004, UC Davis is proud to be among the few that do. The media cabinets present in all 116 general assignment classrooms are configured to the campus computer network and allow instructors to access the Web, outline presentations, and play music, movies, and files from their laptop computers.

The campus began installing the "plug and play" media models in each classroom five years ago. The design was chosen for user-efficiency and ease of upgrades and technical support. The cabinets are improved as new technology enters the market and as the campus budget allows, ensuring that UC Davis instructors receive the best quality equipment. According to IET Classroom Technology Services' (CTS) Director, Jan Dickens, "the data projectors are currently being upgraded in general assignment classroom across campus."

CTS offers technical support assistance with the use of classroom equipment--as much as each instructor needs. A plaque with the "classroom hotline" phone number (752-3333) is displayed near each media cabinet, and the operators who answer will provide either phone support or in-person assistance, as appropriate. A do-it-yourself troubleshooting guide is also located near each media cabinet. The guide offers help on various topics, such as operation of the DVD player, and assistance with more complex subjects, such as color calibration.

CTS also holds training sessions for lecturers, professors, TAs and departmental technical support at the start of each quarter. Instructors are invited to bring their own computers to the training sessions, which are scheduled in general assignment classrooms. According to Dickens, such training will help professors be ready to go the first day of class. "Our mission is to make the teaching/learning environment the best it can be at UC Davis, both for the teacher and the learner. We survey all teachers at the end of every quarter seeking feedback on recommended improvements."

Faculty members will receive an email announcing the next training session, to be held March 30 and covering such topics as "Laptop Hookup" and "Video Mirroring Versus Extended Desktop." For more information contact the CTS Help Desk at 752-3553 or