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Physics 2000 Upgrades


Physics 2000: Technology to enhance student engagement

Contents

Introduction

Prior to the summer of 2006, Physics 2000 had not undergone a comprehensive renovation or upgrade in decades, if ever. Various faculty (Ward Beyermann from Physics, Tom Morton and Dean Steve Angle from Chemistry, etc.) provided background concerning the problems instructors face teaching in Physics 2000, as well as suggestions for improving the room’s physical appointments and technical capabilities. As a result of this input, a comprehensive planning effort took place during 2005. This planning effort included the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, Computing & Communications, Capital Planning, Physical Plant and the Instructional Space Committee. Faculty members involved in the planning included Robert Hanneman, Professor of Sociology; Sharon Duffy, Professor of Education; Tom Payne, Associate Professor and Chair, Computer Science and Ward Beyermann, Associate Professor of Physics.

Technological Upgrades

For various reasons, it was determined that extensive renovations involving physical appointments (e.g. replacing or upgrading fixed auditorium seating, upgrading or replacing writing surfaces, etc.) would potentially cost millions of dollars and might require years of effort. Nevertheless, the planning group determined that a comprehensive upgrade to the room’s technical capabilities (including enhanced lighting) would be relatively inexpensive (hundreds of thousands but not millions of dollars) and could be accomplished over a 6 to 8 week period.

Objectives

In general, the enhancements made provide the following functionality: multiple digital projection systems (similar to UNLH 1000) capable of displaying multiple outputs at one time (e.g. PowerPoint and DVD), an electronic white board (in addition to traditional white boards / chalk boards), enhanced audio system, and single points of technology control on both sides of the stage as well as in front of the stage. In addition to these technology upgrades, the room’s lighting has been upgraded dramatically (dimmers have also been installed) and the walls and ceiling have been painted to improve overall brightness and visibility.

Outcomes

Though less extensive than a complete physical renovation, the project was still a huge undertaking. But it was completed on-time and on-budget, with instruction beginning in September 2006 utilizing the complete suite of technology. What are faculty saying?

“The lighting is much better. The projection system is wonderful, having the 3 separate inputs... I especially like the annotation system. The sound system is significantly better. Indeed, the transformation is very positive.” Bob Clare - Professor of Physics

“I taught in the room for the first time today, and I think it is great, a monumental improvement over what was there before... I want to thank everyone for their contributions and hard work.” Ward Beyermann - Associate Professor of Physics

Next Steps

With the success of this project, it is hoped that the upgrade process will continue with other physical improvements (e.g. possibly replacing chalkboards, upgrading seats). Also, other campus rooms would benefit from similar upgrades (e.g. Watkins 1000) and funding will be sought for such upgrades.

Physics 2000 After

Now

Physics 2000 Before

Before

Multimedia controller

Multimedia Control

Improved lighting

Improved lighting

Dr. Ward Beyermann conducting a class

Dr. Beyermann teaching
in the upgraded
classroom


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