SmartClassroom February 1 2006

Frank Tansey and Steve Acker, co-editors


How Do You Gauge AV Performance?

By Will Craig

Gauging the performance of AV equipment is often a subjective experience. For product demonstrations, we all have our own ideas about good, better, and best (and 'bad') when listening to loudspeakers or examining a projected image. Likewise, with service complaints from end-users, "issues" can be subjective to the user. And, when determining whether a contractor has fully met the terms of their specifications for installing new systems, it is helpful to have something besides subjective experience with which to accept or reject their work. There are a number of handy tools that can help with taking measurements and making observations that can bring objectivity to a subjective process of evaluating AV equipment, rooms, and systems.

News & Product Updates

New Tool Promises Objective Ranking of Faculty Quality

A company called Academic Analytics is offering a tool to measure and rank the research productivity and quality of graduate programs and faculty at U.S. research universities. The firm says its Faculty Scholarly Productivity (FSP) Index, developed by Stony Brook University graduate school dean Lawrence Martin, will create a ranking of graduate programs based on objective measures. Using statistical algorithms developed by Martin, the FSP Index analyzes faculty publications, citations and financial and honorary awards won, and compares them against national standards within a particular discipline.

Individual program scores can then be combined to demonstrate the quality of the scholarly work of the entire university, the company says. When analyzed over time, the direction of the program or university research can be tracked. By compiling the individual faculty activity into departmental indexes, the research strength of a university can be assessed. The firms says that in doing so, "a new standard for academic quality that will serve higher education" can be created. Find out more.

Computer Classes Spur Student Absenteeism at Berkeley

Of the 200 students in the "Introduction to Computers" class last fall, only about 20 or so would show up in class--because the course resources were also on line. Good or bad? (Canton Rep) Read more

NJIT's SmartCampus Project to Create Closer Cconnections

It uses mobile tracers: "SmartCampus is a unique social computing research project that uses technology to unite an urban environment-–in this case the NJIT campus – into a community." (Eureka Alert) Read more

Case Study

Students Take to Podcasts

By Linda L. Briggs

As a few schools begin to experiment with podcasting, American University Washington College of Law's experience portends a trend. In August, the school began podcasting select lectures, as well as speaking engagements such as an appearance by Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Stephen Breyer, and a speech by former president Jimmy Carter.

The results? Wild success. Podcasts, which WCL is the first law school in the country to offer, have gone from 400 listeners in September, to 3,300 in October, to 15,500 in early November. And those numbers don't include class lectures, only public podcasts.

"People are coming to the podcasts in droves," according to Korin Munsterman, director of the office of technology at WCL. "Our podcast Web page is the fifth top entry page to our Web site. It's really climbed."

Tech Notes

Survey Indicates Students Attracted to Classroom Technology

Thomson Learning has just completed a pilot program using online learning technology and ResponseCard clickers at the University of Illinois. Following the pilot, the students were surveyed about their experiences: 87% said they were more likely to attend class using clickers; 70% said clickers helped improve their understanding; 92% found the online learning supplement helpful for test preparation

More survey data is available at:

Reader Response

From the Reader Response Forum

Creating the Classroom of Tomorrow
Posted by: jmoney

Exchange ideas on the latest enterprise technologies and discuss the dilemmas of implementation and budget issues.

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