Since we began introducing the Digital Classroom Podium to Rutgers classrooms, we have worked closely with faculty to solicit feedback about their experience that could be used to improve the podium. In the fall, we asked DCP users to fill out an online survey, the results of which are summarized in our Spotlight article. Based on the results of this survey and our experience working with instructors, we are incorporating this feedback into our design of future podiums and making immediate upgrades to our existing podiums. The latest round of updates are being implemented over the winter break, in time for the start of the spring semester. We are introducing these changes in a way that will minimize confusion for previous users of the podium, while making use of the podium easier and more intuitive for all users. The following is a brief summary of the winter improvements.
New Podium Controller
While maintaining a layout and functionality that previous users will be familiar with, we put greater emphasis on creating a clean and stylish looking podium controller - the main window from which instructors control the podium. Employing new iconography and Rutgers scarlet red, the new controller has a look that is more easy to read and navigate. We have also modified some of the text to more clearly describe the various options available. Instructors in dual projector rooms can choose their displays using an easier to navigate pop-up window.
Aside from getting a new look, the new podium controller introduces several new features. The new controller has a projector power on/off button, giving instructors two ways to begin projecting: by choosing a display source or pressing the projector power button. Dual projector rooms now have independent projector control, allowing faculty to freeze or blank one projector while displaying an image on the other. Additionally, we have re-branded the podium controller with the DCS icon. Instructors can reopen the podium controller at any time by clicking on the icon in the dock or on the desktop. We will also be adding instructions to the desktop, for those that would like quick access to them.
View our updated Digital Classroom Podium Instructions for a step-by-step guide to using the new controller. For a look at the latest podium controller layout, click on the screen shots below:
Brand New Teaching Tools
Digital Classroom Podiums will now be equipped with Open-Sankoré, an application that allows instructors to use the podium as a whiteboard. Open-Sankoré also provides various annotation tools that faculty can use to highlight, notate, and write on computer presentations. For more information, view our Open-Sankoré Instructions. We have also added hot buttons to the podium controller, which allow users to take screen shots of the computer image which can be saved for later use or to distributed to students electronically.
New Keyboard and Mouse
As many faculty indicated that they found the previous trackpad difficult to use, we have replaced the old keyboard/trackpad with a new keyboard and mouse.
Settings Changes to the Mac Computer
We have made the finder and icon fonts larger, so instructors can more easily view file names and select them using the touchscreen. We have also activated the Mac computer's zoom features to increase accessibility.
We are providing several opportunities for DCP users to become familiar with these new improvements. Faculty can attend an Emerging Technology Now workshop or stop by the Digital Classroom Podium page for all information related to the DCP. If you have any ideas for changes, improvements, or additional features for the Digital Classroom Podium, let us know! We are constantly working to make the DCP a valued teaching tool for Rutgers faculty.