PULLMAN – Significant Pullman campus classroom upgrades were completed in Todd, Wilson and College halls last summer, and work is continuing over winter break.
The upgrades are part of a long-range plan by the Provost’s General University Classroom Committee. Given adequate resources, the committee has planned projects that upgrade all classrooms within a given building at one time. There are 129 general use classrooms on the Pullman campus.
Faculty feedback attests to the improvement the new equipment has made in teaching.
“Everything has worked more smoothly in Wilson 6 than in my other classrooms, and the technology allows me to adapt to student questions,” said Sarah Hentges, instructor in comparative ethnic studies. “A few clicks and I can show them exactly what we are talking about.”
In late December Academic Media Services distributed an annual survey to Pullman teaching faculty. Results will provide valuable feedback that the committee will consider in short- and long-term planning.
Last summer, faster standardized instructional technology was placed in 37 centrally located classrooms, including the 539-seat auditorium in Todd Hall, the largest classroom building on the WSU Pullman campus.
Fixed podiums were installed with touchscreen controls for lighting, screens and projectors, side-by-side displays of multiple images and high-definition video capabilities. Chair rails were installed and rooms were painted.
Over winter break, Todd and Hulbert rooms upgraded in 2006 are being modified to make the equipment operate like the classrooms upgraded last summer. Two Wegner Hall classrooms are getting new podiums and technology.
The 120-seat Bustad auditorium is scheduled for upgrades after spring semester.
Assuming adequate resources next biennium, the highest priority in the committee’s long-range plan is equipment upgrade for the 13 general classrooms in Sloan Hall, said chairperson Deborah Carlson, director of capital budget.
WSU Information Technology Services also is working on an upgrade that will provide wireless service in the major academic areas and classrooms across campus. (See earlier article at WSU Today ONLINE
Spearheaded by the 12-member committee, projects are closely coordinated with staff from Facilities Operations, Educational and Public Media (EPM), Academic Media Services (AMS), the Registrar’s Office and Information Technology.
“We are always thinking ahead to the next iteration of hardware and software, as well as how the classroom culture is evolving,” said committee member Joe Watson, classroom facilities director for EPM.
“We also think about assisting students with special needs. For instance, assistive technology for hearing-impaired students is standard at WSU. This is quite a change from just a few years ago.”
AMS provides day-to-day technical support for classrooms. Find photos, locations, seating, equipment and services available in each classroom ONLINE
The Registrar’s Office schedules academic courses in the general university classrooms. The main challenge is matching the size of the course section with the appropriate size of classroom while also providing the technology required. State government is watchful of efficient use of classroom space. Balancing this use with required technology can be a difficult task.
Fac Ops staff performs classroom custodial and maintenance services. Because the committee often combines classroom technology projects with preservation work like painting, seating, flooring or other furnishings issues, close coordination with Fac Ops is essential.