MCC classrooms get a technology ‘refresh’ over the summer

IT equipment is now consistent from classroom to classroom. Clarence Boswell, technical support specialist at MCC-Maple Woods, demonstrates what the setup looks like.
IT equipment, including new all-in-one touch-screen computers, is now consistent from classroom to classroom. Clarence Boswell, technical support specialist at MCC-Maple Woods, demonstrates what the setup looks like.

Classrooms across MCC’s five campuses spent the summer getting “refreshed,” technologically speaking.

The $1.25 million project involves new technology for all classrooms, 402 in all: 48 at MCC-Blue River, 88 at MCC-Business & Technology, 84 at MCC-Longview, 59 at MCC-Maple Woods and 126 at MCC-Penn Valley, which includes the Health Science Institute.

Full-time faculty had received touch-screen laptops last fall. The next step was putting updated IT equipment in classrooms, including an all-in-one touch-screen PC with a DVD player. It looks like just a monitor; there’s no detached CPU.

A document camera, which looks like a lamp, does the same thing as the overhead projectors of yesteryear. Here, a notebook page is projected onto the classroom screen.
A document camera, which looks like a lamp, does the same thing as the overhead projectors of yesteryear. Here, a notebook page is projected onto the classroom screen. (Click any photo to view larger.)

Other new equipment includes document cameras, projectors with sound bars for rooms not already wired for sound, and screens for rooms that didn’t have one. Document cameras are kind of like overhead projectors — the instructor can place a piece of paper or a book under what looks like a lamp and project it onto the classroom screen.

Instructors can use either the classroom computer or their MCC laptop, both of which connect wirelessly to the classroom projectors.

The goal is for instructors to be able to use technology the same way in any classroom. Software on the classroom computers will match what’s on faculty laptops.

That consistency will help instructors and, by extension, students. Faculty will have “the ability to teach class the way they want to teach it” with no time wasted trying to figure out how the equipment in a certain classroom works, says Clarence Boswell, technical support specialist at MCC-Maple Woods.

Before this, MCC had “many different brands and ages of equipment, including some old tube TVs and VHS players” in classrooms, says Shelley Temple Kneuvean, vice chancellor for financial and administrative services.

Tech refresh1“This new equipment will allow our faculty to integrate teaching with technology that is more up-to-date,” she says.

The “refreshed” classrooms will be ready to go by the time fall classes start.

“Whenever an instructor is able to work with tools that respond efficiently and as needed, it makes the teaching/learning process run more smoothly, and more learning can take place,” says Darlene Town, an art instructor at MCC-Penn Valley and chair of the Faculty Senate’s instructional technology committee.

“The classroom upgrades send a message that MCC strives to remain relevant and current in its academic mission to provide world-class education.”