SmartClassroom :: Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Crossing the 5,000 Lumen Barrier

By Will Craig

People want brighter projectors for a lot of reasons, not all of which are good. For example, I am sometimes told by end-users that I need to specify a bright projector because of a long “throw” distance from the back of the room to the front. This is not usually a “good” reason. Having a large screen to illuminate is a good reason – and here’s why:

A 120” diagonal 4:3 aspect projected image has an area of 48 square feet. With a typical classroom projector in the 3000- to 4000-ANSI lumen range, this appears to most people to be pretty good, assuming that ambient light is not falling excessively across the screen surface. In larger classrooms, when you’re looking at a 12- to 15-foot ceiling height and a space of 50-75 feet to the back rows, a larger screen is often necessary. A 170” diagonal 4:3 aspect screen, for example, has an area of 96 square feet.

So, how much brighter would a projector need to be to look “as good” in a room with a 170” screen as it d'es in a room with a 120” screen? One valid response could be, “It d'esn’t matter – if the screens are in different rooms, nobody will ever compare them side-by-side. As long as the image on the larger screen is reasonably bright, they don’t have to be identical.” An equally valid response would be, “About twice as bright.” So where do these two answers leave the campus technologist, trying to evaluate their available options?...

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News & Product Updates

Virginia Will Expand Access to High-Speed Networks

Virginia's K-12 schools, museums and libraries will be among the first in the nation to connect to both the National LambdaRail and Internet2. This will provide better access to educational and research resources worldwide...

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College Offers Prospective Students Free Music Downloads

Saint Joseph College, Connecticut's only four-year women's college, is using Apple’s iTunes in a new recruiting initiative to distribute information to potential students...

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DyKnow Offers Distance Learning Tools

DyKnow’s new release of version 4.2 of its DyKnow Vision and DyKnow Monitor software provide enhanced collaboration and distance learning support for instructors and students...

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Case Study

Helping Students Find Each Other

By John Savarese

Columbia College Chicago is aiming to be the most student-centered arts and media school in the world. That’s a tall order for what was historically an urban commuter school. Recently, however, a quarter of the 10,000 students became residential. Yet there still isn’t even a traditional student center on campus. In the past, students have complained that it is hard to get to know the 1,500 faculty (1,200 of whom are part-time), and difficult to network with other students who aren’t in their classes.

That’s a drawback for students, especially in the arts and media, says Bernadette McMahon, CIO and associate VP of Information Technology. “We have 10,000 students trying to find each other,” explains McMahon. “A student will say, ‘I’m shooting a film, I need a grip, and I only know the people in my class.’ We want to create a place where our students can connect with each other; a place like Friendster, but for academics, not for dating.”

Social networking sites such as Friendster, Tribe, Friendzy, Facebook, MySpace, and orkut have collectively linked millions of individuals in ever-expanding circles, based on common interests and self-describing profiles. Columbia hopes to tap into students’ yearning for networking, and strengthen it with the kind of content that only a college community can provide.

In fact, the college will be using ePortaro’s online portfolio system, custom-integrated with the school’s Jenzabar student information and portal software, to provide ways for students to display their talents for the benefit of potential student collaborators and for potential future employers. In the background, Jenzabar’s student system will handle authentication of students and verification of academic data about students, such as their majors and course enrollment.

The college also sees this as a way to make the faculty more accessible to students through faculty portfolios and online work. The faculty, who are bombarded with meetings and other duties, may even get a virtual place to work together on committees. “This is to augment face-to-face contact, not replace it,” insists McMahon...

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Tech Notes

Networking: Don't Get 'Hooked'

By Wendy Chretien

It’s tempting to believe that the phenomenon known as phishing is not a big deal in the education environment. After all, isn’t it targeted at individual consumers using the Net? Unfortunately, this isn’t the case anymore.

To step back for a moment, a definition of phishing might be helpful. Phishing is an attempt to hoodwink a user into providing confidential information via the Net. Until recently, it has mostly been in the form of e-mail “urgent notices” that appear to be from an organization the consumer uses (such as a bank), with instructions to click on a link and provide some missing or incorrect information. Such info may include Social Security numbers and other identifying data. Yet of course, the link is not to the real organization’s Web site, but a replica thereof. And the information input by the unsuspecting user can be used to steal his/her identity. Some big-time phishers sell this personal information to other criminals who have organizations that more effectively and quickly exploit it.

So why should higher ed institutions worry about this? What threat d'es phishing pose? Simply put, the phishers are getting more focused. Some are now able to make it look as though an e-mail is coming from within your own organization, and may pose as someone in the Student Records office or IT... (Campus Technology)

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Reader Response

From the Reader Response Forum

Are LMS Anti-Web?
Posted by: cameronloudon - Australia

Recently I have been following the blog of Dr Peter Sefton who described MIT's Anti-web Learning Management System, Caddie as anti-web. He returned to this theme in a later entry called 'Links considered too difficult for online education software' (

What interests me most is that this observation could be applied to all the major players in the LMS space. Why do we need an LMS to be a file system repository for PDF and Word documents? Is that the best that can be offered to students?

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