September 2018

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All the latest news in classroom technology for a new academic year at Rutgers-New Brunswick.

A Milestone Reached for DCS Classrooms

classrooms

This summer, DCS upgraded forty more classrooms with Digital Classroom Systems, our line of homegrown, state-of-the-art classroom presentation hubs. With this latest round of installations, our Technical Services & Operations team completed the final year of multi-year plan launched in 2012 to improve and standardize our nearly 300 classrooms. As a result, 97 percent of DCS-supported classrooms are aligned to our new standard and faculty teaching in these spaces will be able to use technology with which they have become familiar. While we continue to find ways to upgrade the few remaining spaces that require unique installations, DCS will also explore new teaching tools and technological advances that can be used to improve our design while continuously refreshing older equipment so that no rooms become out of date, a process that began this summer as our Engineers performed work "evergreening" our first Digital Classroom Podiums.


A New Lectern for Learning

classroomsA big focus of this summer's installs was small classrooms. In order to equip these spaces with new technology without overcrowding their limited teaching space, DCS designed a new system: the Digital Classroom Lectern. The Lectern is a slimmed down version of the Digital Classroom Podium used in larger classrooms. Like the Podium, it enables faculty to teach using a Mac computer, blu-ray drive, or personal device connected via VGA or HDMI. However, the Lectern has a much smaller footprint to ensure that faculty and the blackboard are not obstructed. In response to faculty feedback, the Lectern's design also includes the ability to adjust the lectern height and the angle of the touchscreen. For more information about the Digital Classroom Lectern and the classrooms that now have one, visit the DCL page.


Collaborative Technology for Collaborative Classrooms

classroomsOur summer work was not limited to outfitting existing learning spaces with new technology. Construction on Busch campus included the unveiling of four, brand-new general-purpose classrooms devoted to active learning. The recently opened Richard Weeks Hall of Engineering includes two Active Learning Classrooms based on group-seating and student work spaces. Additionally, Interactive Lecture Halls in Richard Weeks and the new Chemistry & Chemical Biology Building provide tools instructors can use to break up lectures with collaboration, including group seating, whiteboard walls, and computer connections. Read more about these exciting new spaces and all the general-purpose rooms designed for collaborative learning on the Active Learning Spaces page.


Updates from the Active Learning Community

Our involvement in active learning goes beyond supporting classrooms. Through our involvement in the Active Learning Community, we are pleased to announce several updates for those interested in developing their teaching methods. There are several new web resources now online, including highlights from last May's Rutgers Active Learning Symposium, information for those looking for collaboration-friendly rooms beyond official Active Learning Classrooms, and new videos to help faculty use our active learning technology. Additionally, faculty can now visit the Class Observations page to volunteer to have faculty observe their use of active learning or to attend the class of one of their peers. Read on for our slate of fall ALC events.


Upcoming Events

This fall is full of opportunities to develop your teaching by learning about various approaches to active learning. For more information and to register click on an event below.

Become the Dean of Fun

Wednesday, September 26, 1-2:30pm in Chemistry & Chemical Biology 1203

This session will help guests add the Three Es – Energy, Enthusiasm and Excitement – to their classroom using traditional games. We’ll show you how to take your learning objectives and create custom games, in order to improve learning outcomes, increase student participation and build confidence.

Active Learning Design Sprint

Wednesday, October 24, 10-11:30am in Rutgers Academic Building 4400

In this collaborative workshop, veterans and those new to active learning will have an opportunity to focus on a specific challenge or issue that they are facing in their teaching and build solutions.  Attendees are invited to come with a specific challenge in mind. We will then guide you through the d.School’s framework for design thinking, using the 5-step process of empathy, defining, ideation, prototyping, and testing.  

How to Grade Collaborative Work Without Compromising Your Standards or Getting Caught in an Avalanche 

Friday November 30, 2-3:30pm in Foran Hall 138B

This workshop will discuss methods for using grading to foster productive group work, both in class and for homework.  It will include approaches to encouraging team members do their part in team work, assessing high-level skills in an in-class team environment and in team homework assessment, and presenting projects in a way that provides the students with useful feedback without creating an avalanche of grading work or dominating class time.  

Active Learning 101 

Thursday December 13, 11am-3pm in Richard Weeks Hall 206

Friday January 18, 9am-1pm in Rutgers Academic Building 4400

This half-day session will explore the fundamentals of active learning. Instructional Designers will discuss the pedagogic underpinnings of collaboration-based learning that should inform course design, class management, and more. Instructional technologists will introduce you to Active Learning Classrooms and the technology that can enhance your teaching. Finally, conversations with colleague and staff who are both new to and versed in active learning will help you build valuable relationships and learn from the experience of other faculty.


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