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Electronic Upgrades Await UC Students this Fall


New and returning Bearcats will find a University of Cincinnati campus with more electronic classrooms, better podcast coverage and expanded cloud computing on the horizon.

Date: 9/14/2010 12:00:00 AM
By: John Bach
Phone: (513) 556-5224

UC ingot   E-Classrooms on Rise at UC
Students and instructors will find even more state-of-the-art classrooms available to them this year, as UC continues its effort to convert all of its centrally scheduled classrooms to full electronic status. Recent work to add audio/visual equipment to more rooms in the Zimmer Auditorium building and Crosley Tower has increased the percentage of centrally scheduled classrooms that are fully electronic at UC to 82 percent, according to Don Rainwater, assistant director of UCIT. Electronic classrooms create an enhanced environment for learning, with tools such as Internet connectivity, data projection, a document camera, video and audio systems and computer touch-panel control for instructors. Six of the recently converted rooms in Zimmer also now include Smartboard annotative technology. “Although Smartboard equipment has been common in the k12 education market for many years, larger displays and improved software has led to growing popularity in higher ed,” says Rainwater.

See which classrooms have gone fully electronic.

UC Lecture Capture Service
Also new this year is the UC Lecture Capture Service (UCLCS), available in 28 classrooms across campus. Using Apple's Podcast Producer server software, this new service automatically records a classroom's projector video and instructor audio, based on the class schedule for the course. At the end of the class, the recording is submitted to the UCLCS servers for processing and delivery as a podcast. Links to the podcast for each participating course can be posted in Blackboard, and students can subscribe to the podcast through iTunes.

Cloud Computing to Expand at UC
UCIT is currently exploring ways to extend cloud computing beyond the network file storage already provided by UCFileSpace, says Rainwater. Cloud computing is Internet-based computing, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices on demand. UCIT's public computer labs provide access to a number of resources, including software applications, printers, and online file storage thru UCFileSpace. All UC students, faculty, and staff already have access from anywhere to their personal and group storage areas on UCFileSpace. “We're now looking to extend that service to include access from anywhere to applications and printing services,” says Rainwater. “You may have your own copies of Microsoft Word, Numbers, Keynote, or Powerpoint, but possibly not high-end apps like SAS, SPSS, or Photoshop. By making these apps available in the cloud, you could use them on your own desktop or laptop computer when it's not possible to visit a computer lab.”