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An integrated approach to technology within Lecture Room Services
3 The users' view of Lecture Theatre 2's facilities
The Learning Technology Centre carried out a survey of staff who had used Lecture Theatre 2 since its facilities were upgraded. This asked for comments on how satisfactory staff had found the teaching environment to be and on the ways in which it might be improved.
3.1 The survey
The Lecture Theatre 2 room-bookings for courses over the previous year were taken as the basis for this sample, and departments were contacted to identify which staff had taught on these courses. This resulted in a list of 25 staff, each of whom were sent a questionnaire. The questionnaires were readministered after a period of three weeks. The survey resulted in 15 valid replies, one refusal and nine non-responses.
This survey gives an indication of the users' views on Lecture Theatre 2's facilities, with useful written comments elaborating on the main points.
To set the context for this survey, staff were asked what kinds of teaching they did in this Lecture Theatre. The majority of lecturers brought prepared materials with them to supplement their verbal presentation (Table 1/Figure1). Many also used the boards or acetates to write notes on as they went along, at least from time to time. A minority used the lecture theatre for interactive discussions with their students, or to demonstrate experiments or simulations.
Table 1: What kinds of teaching did you use Lecture Theatre 2for?
every most once or not at time times twice all 9 4 1 1 verbal presentation, supported by prepared materials (e.g., overhead slides or computer presentations) 1 3 5 6 verbal presentation, with materials written on board or acetate as you went along 1 0 0 14 verbal presentation, unsupported by visual aids 0 1 3 11 interactive discussion with students 0 1 1 13 demonstration of experiments or simulations 0 1 0 14 something else (please say what)
A third of the lecturers used the networked computer frequently (Table 2/Figure2) with video and slides being added occasionally by about a fifth of these lecture theatre users. The overhead projector was the piece of equipment most in demand. The context for this was given in written comments, which pointed to the different facilities available in teaching rooms and the difficulties in managing to be timetabled to teach in a room with appropriate levels of facilities. The natural tendency for lecturers was to work with the lowest level of technology commonly available.
Table 2: Over the past year, which facilities in Lecture Theatre 2 did you use?
every most once or not at time times twice all 7 5 1 2 overhead projector 5 1 1 8 table-tops for laying out equipment or papers 3 4 3 5 board to write on 3 2 0 10 a network connection 2 3 0 10 data-projector for showing computer -generated material 1 0 1 13 microphone or voice-enhancer 0 1 3 11 video playback facilities 0 1 2 12 a 3D visualiser for showing objects or slides 0 0 3 12 photographic slide projector 0 0 5 10 help-line telephone for audio-visual assistance 0 0 0 15 videoconferencing facilities 0 0 0 15 something else (please say what)
There must be consistency between all lecture theatres - many classes are scheduled through different lecture theatres. To use more advanced facilities you would need to know they were always available.
The course I taught in LT2 had two other timetabled hours elsewhere. This made re-jigging the course to use LT2's facilities totally impractical. Even if all time was in LT2 - would the course be timetabled the same next year?!
If all my classes in a given module were held in LT2, I would consider making better use of its facilities. However, as all the other rooms used have more basic facilities, I'll stick with a format which I can use for the entire module.
Priority booking to those who most need LT2 get to use it.
The desire for standardisation extended to the networked computer, with the request that this environment should be identical to PC Caledonia.
Networked PC should be EXACTLY like a PC-Caledonia PC. I had problems because they were different. Perhaps it would be better if the computer centre were responsible for the PC.
Computing Services should be fully responsible for the PC (perhaps they are but I think not).
The PC in LT2 is maintained by the Learning Technology Centre and gives access to the standard central facilities provided through PC Caledonia. In the period in question, the machine could also be used locally as a Windows3.1 or Windows 95 machine. Over the last year, some LT2 users experienced difficulties because the departmental system they were used to differed from the one that they encountered through PC Caledonia in LT2.
The majority of staff using equipment in Lecture Theatre 2 were comfortable with it, though there was clearly still a training need in learning how to use all of the equipment fully (Table 3/Figure3). After the facilities were upgraded, a telephone was installed to enable staff to ask AV services for assistance with troubleshooting. Of the nine staff who had experienced problems, eight asked for help immediately: five of these were happy with the speed of response (one of whom followed this up with a later query to LTC). The speed of response to the query was sometimes less than satisfactory to lecturers as AV staff cover all centrally-timetabled rooms as well as the Conference Centre. Figure 3 showing the percentage that took a particular action or held a particular view demonstrates that most people were comfortable using equipment and if they need help they seek it immediately. It is perhaps not surprising that it is unusual to seek help after a lecture has finished - this mean that we cannot rely on later reporting to identify all problems.
Table 3: How did you find using the equipment in Lecture Theatre 2?
N/A Yes no 3 8 4 I felt comfortable in using the available equipment 2 7 6 I felt I didn't know enough about how to use the available equipment 3 9 3 there were sometimes problems with the equipment which I couldn't solve 4 8 3 if I had difficulties, I tried to get immediate audiovisual help from LTC 4 1 10 if I had difficulties, I later asked for audiovisual advice from LTC 6 5 4 I was satisfied with how quickly LTC responded if I asked for help
Simple printed card at lectern to remind users how to start. The blanktouch screen is not self-evident. A class registered today in near-darkness until I accidentally visited it.
With a MANUAL for the starship control panel!!! That's a MANUAL!!!
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