Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Fiber on Campus Gives Instructors Full Control

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Fiber on Campus Gives Instructors Full Control

Article excerpt

When the University of Akron went to a base-band fiber optics system, using Fiber Options' Learning Link units to connect their media distribution setup to fiber, they got more than they expected. While having a state-of-the-art distance learning network - with the ability to send and receive the highest quality signals to and from classrooms -- is undoubtedly nice, having your instructors rethink the way they teach is something that is all too uncommon.

But that's exactly what happened after the university implemented their new media distribution system. "If a professor does a better job, students have richer experiences in the classroom," says Tom Bennett, director of audio/visual services at Akron. Because the university has invested in this kind of a high-tech program, Bennett feels that cognizance of teaching technology has gone up significantly.

Instructors are now becoming interested in new teaching technology. Setting up this new system gave them a perfect opportunity to look at what kinds of tools are available for teaching, which has caused them to rethink their methodology. "Anytime teachers take a look at the way they teach," says Bennett, "they will do a better job." And, freshening up learning materials and presentation necessarily follows from rethinking methods. In short, instructors seem to have adapted to the new system quite nicely, and are also taking advantage of its many time-saving techniques.

Time-Saving Control

How does the system save instructors' time? By allowing them to focus on teaching instead of running an assemblage of hardware they never seem to become familiar with. Using an AMX Synergy media retrieval system, instructors have complete control of media in the palm of their hand, using an infrared remote. This means they can pre-plan media for lectures, without worrying about hardware hassles while standing in front of a classroom.

"In the past, to show two videotapes, for example," says Bennett, "you had to walk to the player, push stop, push eject, switch the tapes, press play and hope the new tape was queued up correctly," all while putting the lecture on hold. …

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