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Providing Multimedia Lecture Room Services


Although sites should consider developing strategies for fully equipping all teaching rooms for multimedia delivery, this will obviously take some time. While rooms are being equipped, lecturers must be fully aware of what facilities are available in which rooms. Inconsistent provision is a problem regarding timetabling, and affects the confidence of lecturers in feeling able to guarantee equipment availability. If lecturers are unsure of what equipment is available they will design their lectures around the lowest common denominator, e.g., 35mm slides or overhead projectors.

A database of all classrooms and their equipment will allow better utilization of facilities, and the process of timetabling should reflect which classes require multimedia technology. This will, of course, only be effective if all departments also specify what courses need multimedia rooms. When booking rooms, a single service should be available allowing the whole range of facilities (rooms, computers and AV equipment) to be booked in a single step. Providing rooms with network connections etc., is not sufficient if all the LCD projectors are in use elsewhere.

The uses of portable equipment may provide a pragmatic short-to-medium term strategy for some rooms. A 'multimedia trolley' may include, for example, a computer (Pentium or equivalent) with CD-ROM drive and network card, suitable presentation software e.g., PowerPoint (which should be standard across the site), a WWW browser, speakers, an LCD projector, (800x600 resolution, with computer and video inputs) and a VCR. Additionally a full set of connecting leads should be provided, with instructions, so that other computers can be easily connected.

Another factor affecting user acceptance of new equipment is the interface. There is a wide range of multimedia presentation equipment currently available, all of which, perhaps inevitably, have different interfaces. Where a single site has a wide range of equipment, the amount of training and support required is increased, and users will be more reluctant to use it. It makes sense, where possible, to provide standard equipment across campus.


Sites should maintain a database of equipment in all rooms across campus.

Facility booking should be a service spanning a range of services (rooms, computers, AV).

Portable equipment may provide a pragmatic short-to-medium term strategy for some rooms.

Standardisation of equipment will increase lecturer's confidence.

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