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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 & acousticsSatisfaction 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.
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.
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 instructionsProvide 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!
The recommendations coming out of this survey are:
Graphics Multimedia Virtual Environments Visualisation Contents