La Fetra to get ‘smarter’ podium
Posted Nov. 16, 2007

Sher Porter
News Editor


A new high-tech podium will be installed in La Fetra auditorium to better meet the “smartclassroom” needs of University instructors who use the lecture hall.

Faculty use these high-tech podiums, loaded with various computer and audiovisual capabilities, for teaching.

After numerous problems with La Fetra’s, however, a new streamlined $15,000 one should be installed before the new year.

“We’re wanting to update the campus,” said Lisa Rodriguez, director of the Center for Teaching and Learning.

The new podium will have better air flow so that the equipment does not get overheated, easier access to equipment and improved wiring so that it does not get in the way of teaching.

It will contain some of the components of the old podium like Internet connection, an electrum and a DVD/VCR player. There will be some new features like the Elmo, which works like an overhead projector. Papers are placed on an overhead on the podium and projected onto the screen.

It will also be smaller than the previous podiums. The podium is used as an optional tool for professors to use. Some professors prefer not to use the podiums to teach so the larger podiums would sometimes become an annoyance. The smaller podiums will hopefully be less of an issue for those who prefer the old fashion way of teaching.

“If we didn’t think they were going to like it, then we wouldn’t have built it,” Brian Tresner, assistant director of networks and telecommunications, said.

For those who do find the podium helpful, it will still be in the classroom for use.

The extra features will allow them to use different forms of technology as teaching tools.

“I try to factor in those who are pro-technology and try to factor in those who are not,” Rodriguez said.

She wants to send out a survey to both faculty and students to see how the teaching styles and learning styles match up.

This way she will know how to assist both needs better.

“I just want to know what faculty want to reach their students,” Rodriguez said.

The goal is to install smart classroom podiums in 67 classrooms across campus.

So far 60 have been done.

Chief Information Officer Clive Houston-Brown said ULV has one of the highest percentages of smart classrooms in Southern California.

“It feels good to have a lead in something,” Houston-Brown said.

Completing the goal has not been easy, considering the age of some of the buildings.

One of the issues that they are having with building the podium in La Fetra is the building’s old ceiling.

There are still more podiums that as well as other features such as the SP controls that are needed to create more smart classrooms. The project so far has cost $250,000.

Sher Porter can be reached at sporter4@ulv.edu.

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