Summer always brings a number of changes to classroom and lab computing, and this year is no exception. Many things got updates this year, including some classrooms, software in both classrooms and labs, our licensing structure for Adobe products, classroom support, and Moodle.
SIGNIFICANT CLASSROOM CHANGES
New prototype teaching podiums have been installed in LDC 202, LDC 205, and Olin 141. These prototypes are height-adjustable and are being evaluated for use in the new science complex. The sound systems in Weitz 230 and 231 are being upgraded now and will be ready for the start of classes. All other planned classroom upgrades have been postponed until Winter Break.
First, we’ve updated a number of applications, such as Chrome, and Firefox, to their current versions. The Macs are all running MacOS 10.13 High Sierra, and the Windows computers are all running an updated version of Windows 10. Microsoft Office is unchanged at version 2016. We are no longer installing Flash, Java, or Silverlight on the Macintosh side of refreshing computers, unless one or more are required for one of the other apps installed. Chrome has embedded and automatically maintained versions of the Flash and Java plugins; they are not present in Safari, Firefox, or Microsoft Edge.
CLASSROOM TESTING FOR START OF TERM
We have reworked our classroom support procedures to emphasize issue prevention and improvement of our emergency response. We have thoroughly checked the functionality of all 90 rooms on campus with teaching and projection equipment and will be performing preventative maintenance several times throughout the term to keep the equipment functioning properly and to prevent most common issues. This maintenance includes regular rebooting of all the AV components. In addition, we’ll be following up with faculty for feedback. We have also increased the number of professional staff members trained to respond to classroom emergencies.
Adobe has fundamentally changed its licensing model, which has made it too expensive for us to maintain as many licenses as in the past. As a result, we have reduced the number of labs that have the Adobe Creative Suite installed to those where it was most heavily used. In addition, we will be migrating faculty and staff users to the new Adobe licenses over Fall Term.
Moodle was updated to the newest version in June 2018, bringing with it a number of exciting improvements including a new mobile-friendly look and feel, improvements to the Moodle calendar and other streamlining of the interface. This brief video introduces Moodle’s new look and points out a few tips for navigating the new interface.
As always, if you’re interested in talking with us about integrating technology into your teaching or research, about problems you are having, or about things that aren’t working the way you expect, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.