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1 Introduction
2 The lecture series

3 Statements on IT provision
3.1 University Management
3.2 The Department
3.3 The Students

4 Observations
5 Appendices

Case Studies

"Digital Futures": A Case Study in a Faculty of Art & Design

3 Statements on Lecture Theatre I.T. provision

The initial proposal to write this Case Study suggested it might be interesting to provide an opportunity for a cross-section of the different University sections which have an input into I.T. provision in various Lecture Theatres to make a short and independent contribution to the Report. This was not particularly intended to show discrepancies in policies (though these could conceivably occur) but rather demonstrate the complexity of the decision-making process which has to result in the right equipment being available in the right space at the right time. Inevitably there is a degree of 'institutional blandness' and optimism about the statements but nevertheless several issues are addressed. This section therefore reproduces the contribution of these key individuals concerned with these issues within the different sections of the University.
This section also reproduces assessments of the particular Lecture Series 'Digital Futures' in the Bonington Lecture by 4 of the participating students.
All participants were provided with a 'Guideline' brief (Appendix 3) with the exception of Mr Jordan (Computing Services) who was asked to specifically concentrate on University e-mail provision.

3.1 University Management:

3.1.1 Statement by Mr Terry Roche, Manager Academic Accommodation TNTU
Mr Roche briefly traces the history of development of the Bonington Lecture Theatre in a University context and outlines some of the advantages and disadvantages of the new and increasing demand for IT provision.
The Use of IT Technology in Module Delivery
Bonington Lecture Theatre
The use of digital technology as a means of teaching and learning delivery within the Bonington Lecture Theatre is strongly supported by Academic Accommodation Office. AAO is responsible for the development, maintenance and timetabling of all General Purpose Teaching Rooms across the University. The Bonington Lecture Theatre traditionally belonged to the Faculty of Art and Design, who still comprise the great majority of bookings within the Theatre. In 1996, as part of a University wide initiative, all Lecture Theatres and classrooms came under the control of AAO. Their responsibility included timetabling, maintenance furniture and equipment upgrading.
The use of IT Technology across all Lecture Theatres is increasing, as more and more lecturers look to the use of innovative technology to improve the quality of the learning experience for students. As part of an overall upgrade programme, AAO has set aside capital for the systematic introduction of IT technologies within large teaching spaces. In the case of the Bonington Lecture Theatre, AAO has been able to work in partnership with the Faculty to upgrade the equipment within the Theatre. It is a relationship based around the notion of local carers, advising AAO of their requirements, and suggestions for improvements, and AAO allocating funds to carry our the works.
Changes to teaching and learning activities, with greater reliance on the use of IT technology in the deliver of programmes, result in a requirement for a more cohesive, planned management response. As with most University activities, the resource base is diminishing in real terms, and relative to the number of students moving through the University facilities. The use of such technologies within the Bonington Lecture Theatre therefore was carefully considered in terms of competing demands. In this case, the criteria were met, those criteria being a large teaching space, with a minimum of 100 students; a teaching department who were determined to make best and most appropriate use of new technologies, and a support base to manage the facilities on a day to day basis.
One issue for consideration has been the match, or otherwise, between the new technologies and the physical constraints posed from an existing lecture theatre. In the case of some other University lecture theatres, the rake of the seating makes it extremely difficult to site a data projector without causing extreme picture distortion or shadowing. The Bonington Lecture Theatre however suffers from no such limitations and was therefore able to be successfully upgraded.
It is the responsibility of a centrally funded unit such as Academic Accommodation to make sure that quality learning outcomes for students are properly resourced. This should be done through collecting the appropriate information when timetabling and achieving the most appropriate match between room size and module numbers, between teaching and learning activities and equipment within rooms. There becomes a clash, sometimes, between the use of IT technology as a means of teaching and learning delivery, and the size of a room with such IT technology infrastructure. For example, module A has 60 students enrolled and the lecturer is planning to use digital technology for the delivery of significant components of the course content. Module B on the other hand has 100 students enrolled, but the lecturer intends to use more traditional >chalk and talk= delivery.
In the past the response has been to timetable Module B within the Bonington Lecture Theatre (with a capacity of 100) as opposed to Module A. This has come about because AAO has not received information as to the nature of teaching and learning activities to be delivered within a module. Since the advent of new computerised timetabling software, it is now possible for timetablers to specify either the nature of the activity to be timetabled, or to request specific equipment within a lecture theatre for a module.
At the same time, AAO will be working toward ensuring the spread of digital technologies, similar to those in the Bonington Lecture Theatre. It is planned that all demands for the use of digital technologies in the delivery of teaching and learning activities across the University can be met from within the stock of available lecture theatres.
One further issue for consideration is that total reliance on technology is never advisable. Something can and often does, go wrong. There have been recent experiences of lecturers having to be cancelled due to equipment malfunction. While we try to maintain and upgrade all equipment in perfect working order, a fall back is sometimes required.
Terry Roche
Manager, Academic Accommodation
3.1.2 Statement on TNTU E-mail developments by Mr Anthony Jordan, Computing
Mr Jordan's brief was slightly different to the other contributors as he was requested to specifically concentrate on his area of particular responsibility for University e-mail provision, the developments which have occurred and problems encountered.

E-mail Services at The Nottingham Trent University
April 1998
A Summary for JISC's Advisory Group on Computer Graphics
In the Summer of 1996, the University's IT Steering Group recognised that whilst email was becoming an increasing important tool in all of the University's activities, the existing VAX/VMS based email system was becoming rather antiquated and unsuitable for many of the people who now needed to use email. A replacement was needed that was more user-friendly and provided facilities such as sending/receiving attachments and shared message folders for discussion groups. After evaluating various software packages, the ITSG selected Microsoft Exchange. A project was set-up to implement Exchange and over the next year the new system was successfully introduced and is now used by a little over 1500 members of staff and research students.
After the successful introduction of Exchange for staff, the ITSG decided to provide the same facilities for students for the start of the 1997/98 academic year. Unfortunately, the computer to run the Exchange server for the student email was delivered late and it was not possible to provide the new service until start of the second semester. We were concerned about introducing a new email system in the middle of the academic year, but we decided to go ahead as the existing VAX/VMS system could be run in parallel in the new Exchange system. Over the semester break, the Exchange client was installed for student use on over 500 Computing Services resource room PCs and an additional couple of hundred PCs owned by the faculties. The new Exchange server was set-up with around 28,000 mailboxes. The new system went live for the start of the semester and was a success.
MS Exchange in use at NTU
Initially, Exchange was used by staff in similar way to the old VAX/VMS system i.e. just for sending and reading messages, however, as people have become familiar with the new system, they have started to exploit its facilities for scheduling (using Schedule+), distribution lists and public folders. One valuable new facility are the automatically maintained distribution lists that contain the addresses for all members of staff in a particular department and for all students on a particular course code. These lists enable staff to easily contact a particular group of people - sometimes too easily. Projects are underway to use public folder facilities in Exchange to disseminate course materials to students and for the collection of course work.
The students took to Exchange immediately and our concerns over introducing a new system in the middle of the year proved unfounded. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the existing email users found Exchange much easier to use than the old command-line VAX/VMS system and that the simple interface has encouraged students who previous did not use the old system to start using email.
There have been two areas were we are not entirely satisfied:
1. Remote access to email used to be a matter of using a modem and a terminal emulation package or telnet over the Internet to get to the VAX/VMS system. Staff and students now have to have either a copy of the Exchange or Outlook client and access to the Internet either via an Internet Service Provider (ISP) or via the organisation they are visiting. This was raised the cost of remote access to staff and students.
2. An unfortunate side-effect of the ease with which Exchange allows a user to select addressees is that some students are abusing the system by sending large numbers of staff and/or students unsolicited junk mail.
Both of these problems should be partially addressed in Exchange 5.5 and we are preparing to upgrade both email systems in the near future.
Anthony Jordan
Computing Services

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