Archive for the 'NEXT Classroom' Category

Published by Audrey Williams on 22 Feb 2011

Instructional Technology Council -eLearning 2011

I am presenting along with Howard Beattie from Holland College clear up on Prince Edward Island at the ITC eLearning 2011 conference. We are speaking about the NEXT Classroom and the thought behind it and where it might go next.

I thought I would use this post to collect some of the things we mentioned in the presentation.

I have been blogging the process so you can read those items here.

Here are more links I have in Delicious that have been useful.

Published by Audrey Williams on 23 Nov 2010

Changes in NEXT Classroom for Spring 2011

As the first semester of classes in the NEXT Classroom starts to wind down (what? already?), we are looking ahead at what we can do, change, add, take away, reconfigure, realign, start, fill in other cool verb here with the room.

One of the challenges of having the words “New and “Emerging” in the name of this room means that we have to walk a somewhat fine line of keeping the room functional for the students and instructors as well as be willing to make changes that may not really work out so well. Fun and nerve wracking all at the same time.

Changes that we know are in store for Spring 2011 and the lesson learned to cause that change.

  • Re-imaging the laptops and teacher station. LESSON LEARNED: Dual boot machines with multiple users is much harder to deal with than we imagined.
  • Adding Respondus Lockdown Browser to both Mac and PC sides of student laptops. LESSON LEARNED: We didn’t think about the need for this in the first image. Oops.
  • Updating Flash on PC side. LESSON LEARNED: Suddenly YouTube and other flash based video sites stopped working for us. Odd.

We have our next slate of classes scheduled with classes starting at 8 am every day. For Spring 2011, we will have:

  • DSPW 0870 (Developmental Writing)
  • MATH 1630 (Finite Math)
  • BIOL 1110 (General Biology I)
  • GEOL 1310 (Concepts of Earth Science)
  • WEB 2700 (Web Design for Mobile Devices)

Things we are considering for next year include exploring these two technologies:

  • Doceri: an iPad based app that can control AV equipment, a computer and act as an interactive whiteboard
  • PollEverywhere: polling service that can use web and texting as a way to polls students (like clickers)

Image: ‘Time For Change

Published by Audrey on 26 Oct 2010

NEXT Classroom: Some Student Generated Content

One of the classes being taught in the NEXT Classroom this semester is ADMN 2450, which focuses on business communication from a Web 2.0 perspective. The class has been blogging, tweeting, exploring Flickr and now – vlogging! We are so happy to know that all of the tools we are trying to provide in the NEXT Classroom are being used. Here is one example of a student vlog.

Published by Audrey on 09 Sep 2010

NEXT Steps: Ancora Imparo

Ancora Imparo. Most days, I wear a bracelet engraved with that statement. And it is SO true with the NEXT Classroom. We are still learning.

Things we have learned so far and issues we are experiencing:

  • The dual boot Macbook Pros are not has happy with multiple users as we had hoped. Most faculty have assigned a laptop to a student so they are using the same one over and over again but the multiple users still seem to cause problems, especially on the Windows 7/Boot Camp side of the house.
  • Students are NOT good at shutting down the computer completely before they close it up and return it to the cart. This has caused several problems including:
    • locking the PC side so others cannot log in
    • causing error messages on bootup from the MacFUSE and MacNTFS-3G system preferences that were mounting the BootCamp partition to the Mac side could read/write to it. We are uninstalling the MacFUSE and MacNTFS3G system preferences because of this. We are afraid that the mounting of the disk and then constantly improperly un-mounting of the disk will cause errors that will make Win7 unstable. I really, really like the idea of being able to read/write to both partitions from either operating system but until I can find a way to make this work more reliably, we have to take that option away for now.
  • Wireless networking is still a problem. This room is a testbed for wireless networking to our shared drive space as well as to all other network access for the entire classroom. It will also, eventually, be a 802.11n room but for now it is still 802.11g. The issues we are experiencing include:
    • Random inability to log into the Mac side of the laptop to the Active Directory account
    • Network access dropping after 30 minutes on about half of the laptops in any given class. We have finally identified how to fix it by disconnecting and reconnecting the wireless access but it is frustrating. The NTS staff is working very hard with us to figure it out and I certainly do appreciate their efforts. We are trying some different things from assigning a bank of IP addresses to use on the laptops so they will always have one to get (apparently the growing number of iPads and cell phones on campus with Wifi enabled are snatching up all of the pool of available wireless IP addresses, even if they are not active on them). We also have increased the “kickoff” time limit for inactivity from 30 minutes to 1 hour in hopes of helping with the issue.
  • Some programs we have installed seem to only be “attached” to the account that installed it and are not propagated to all of the student accounts that are created when they log in for the first time. This has been very frustrating and has caused us to have to log into all 24 laptops a LOT to change things, install things and so on.
  • The instructor station was not mapping to the instructor shared drive (called the H drive here on campus, because that is its usual assigned drive letter). We fixed that by figuring out that the Simplifi unit on the instructor station had SD and CF card readers that were snatching up the G and H drive designations and then the login script that assigned the shared drive to H would simply not work. So, we changed the assigned letter for those card readers to X and Y and all is well again!
  • I had a Greasemonkey script installed called Helvireader for simplifiying the Google Reader but it was not installed on the instructor station and one of the classes is actually teaching how to use Google Reader and this caused all kinds of problems. Oops! That brought in a valuable teaching opportunity about how to disable Greasemonkey scripts!

We are also adding a new NEXT Classroom Support blog here at this site running the Quality Control theme and will try it out as a simple “help ticket” system for monitoring these problems. We’ll see how it works.

So far, though, only one laptop has totally bombed out on us and that was due to really, really mungled permissions that I probably did during an update right before the semester. I am rebuilding it and trying again!

Published by Audrey on 31 Aug 2010

Two days in…the NEXT Classroom Update

After some false starts and some shuffling, we have a schedule now. There are five classes meeting this semester in the NEXT Classroom. They are:

  • ADMN 2450: Communications Media (team taught by Buckley and Merrill)
  • GEOL 1310: Concepts of Earth Science (taught by Affholter)
  • SPH 2100: Public Speaking (taught by King)
  • HIST 1010: Western Civilization (taught by Johnston)
  • WEB 1600: Web Page Design: Introduction to Web Technology (taught by Buckley)

Three of these have met already in the room. ETS has been meeting the class for the first session to just give a quick welcome and introduce some of the more quirky aspects of the room, like the dual-boot Mac Book Pro laptops.

Things we have already had to do:

  • Add Filezilla and HTMLPad to all of the laptops and the instructor station (being used in the WEB 1600 course)
  • Update Flash
  • Update Chrome and Firefox
  • Update Java
  • Update Second Life (being used in the Public Speaking class)
  • Added photoshop.com to our NEXT Classroom Conduit toolbar

Annoying problems that still exist. Anybody have a solution??

  • Problem One: We cannot get the Wacom Intuos Bluetooth tablet to be work on both Mac and PC sides of the Mac Mini instructor station. Seems as if the bluetooth connection will only be happy on one platform. Odd, since our bluetooth wireless mouse seems just fine on both sides. We finally just decided to keep it connected on the Mac side because we had the SMART AIrliner for the PC side…until (see next problem)
  • Problem Two: The SMART Airliner (now SMART Slate) just has decided to no longer connect on either side of the house.
  • Problem Three: The SMART Sympodium (now SMART Podum) will not initialize on the Windows 7 side of the instructor computer. You have to pull out the USB cord and plug it back in to get it to initialize.

But, I guess we are moving along!

Published by Audrey Williams on 03 Aug 2010

The Future of Learning Environments

This video from EDUCAUSE really drives home much of the thinking we had in designing the NEXT Classroom.

Published by Audrey Williams on 09 Jun 2010

But wait! There’s more..

Now we are getting to the eXperimental part of the NEXT Classroom’s name. While updating, we have decided to upgrade Safari to version 5 that was just released AND we turned on the Developer menu to allow extensions to be installed on Safari as well.

Apple won’t have the Extension Gallery open for a while but with thanks to Jonas Wisser and his Safari Extension Tumblr, we will have a few installed and a framework in place to add more as they come along.

Only wish we could do that centrally like we are doing with the NEXT Classroom Toolbar!

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