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2.Lecture Theatre 2

3.Users' View
3.1 The survey
3.2 Teaching
3.3 Facilities
3.4 Teaching environment
3.5 Improvements
3.6 Training
3.7 Recommendations

4.New Teaching Rooms
5.Lessons Learnt

Case Studies

An integrated approach to technology within Lecture Room Services

3 The users' view of Lecture Theatre 2's facilities

3.4 General teaching environment

In terms of the general environment, both the whiteboards and the ventilation gave some cause for concern (Table 4/Figure 4). The boards were highlighted as a problem earlier in the year by the Maths department, and their comments are echoed in the survey's written comments.

I don't find the write-on boards very satisfactory. I think that it would be better to do away with the roll-down screen and just have a white rear wall. This would allow two overhead [slides?] at one side and the video projector to be used simultaneously.

Large blackboards or whiteboards that can be used alongside the AV screen

The boards are a disaster. You almost have to lie on the floor to write on them. The screens are the wrong height so that the first four rows of students can't see.

The board needs to be lighted. Whenever I taught at the board I felt that I was writing in the dark! The promised supply of pens quickly ran out and was not replenished regularly. There is no place to put down the marking pens when one pauses while writing on the board.

Table 4: Overall, did Lecture Theatre 2 provide a satisfactory environment for the kinds of teaching you did there, this year?


N/A  very  some  not at
     much  what  all
3     2     3     7     boards for writing on
1     3     7     4     ventilation
3     4     5     3     seating flexibility
7     2     5     1     level of audiovisual support to fix problems
7     4     3     1     computing and network facilities
1     7     6     1     tidiness and decor
4     5     6     0     audiovisual facilities 
0     8     7     0     seating capacity
0     9     6     0     audibility & acoustics
Satisfaction ratings were calculated from Table 4 by subtracting those indicating "not at all" from those "very much" and "some what" satisfied (Figure 4). These illustrate that, while satisfaction is high for the new facilities, the basic provision of ventilation and especially boards are seen as unsatisfactory.

Figure 4
Figure 4: Satisfaction ratings extracted from Table 4.

3.5 Other ways in which Lecture Theatre 2's teaching environment could be improved

Some of the suggestions for improvement related to low cost facilities which could be easily achieved:

A coat-hook would help, for putting your jacket on.

There were some tables to put things on but they seemed to disappear to a conference part of the way through term and never came back.

The request for an hourly AV technician service has greater cost implications, for a need, which might be met through better training.

Having a technician present at the start of each hour to check everything is working.

3.6 Training for use of the facilities in Lecture Theatre 2

Only four of the 15 respondents felt that they had received adequate training to prepare them to use the lecture theatre's facilities. Hands-on training sessions and demonstrations had been offered both when LT2 was commissioned and before the start of term for lecturers who might be using LT2 for the first time. These had been advertised through Circuit (the University's bulletin) and the Staff Development brochure. Clearly more is needed.

In their written comments on how training could be improved, staff pointed to the need both for higher levels of on-the-spot support and for brief documentation to be available in the lecture theatre.

I need the help of a technician, not to be trained as a technician.

You can't go looking for help with a class full of students waiting to start. Where is the light-switch for the spotlight? I couldn't attend training at the time offered.

Don't know as I didn't get any.

Focus for training

The trainers were not well informed regarding teaching which depends on writing on a board. They clearly hadn't given the logistics of this sort of teaching any thought. It is hard to see how the room can be used effectively for this sort of teaching. Whenever I taught in the room I felt that my teaching was constrained by the environment rather than enhanced by it.

More hands on.

Written instructions

Provide 1-page crib-sheet on each of the facilities. If you only use a facility rarely (e.g., video) then it is easy to forget the method of use.

More introductory sessions and a factsheet to demonstrate capabilities

With an interactive simulation and a manual!

3.7 Recommendations

The recommendations coming out of this survey are:

  1. That a standard set of presentation equipment be made available in centrally-timetabled teaching rooms.
  2. That centrally-timetabled teaching rooms be allocated on the level of presentation facilities required, as well as for class size.
  3. That more training sessions on use of facilities be made available.
  4. That written instructions be made available in the lecture theatre.
  5. That there is a demand for on-the-spot support and troubleshooting.
  6. That the positioning and lighting of LT2's whiteboards be improved.
  7. That the computer in LT2 be maintained by Computing Services.

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