Jan 222003
Authors: Willow Welter

Over semester break, developers installed three new technologically advanced classrooms on campus.

These video, audio and Internet-supported classrooms, known at CSU as Smart rooms, have grown in number since their genesis in 1995, making a total of 92 that instructors and students use every day.

“A Smart classroom is a place where technology is used to enhance learning,” said Thomas Maher, the director of the Office of Instructional Services.

There are two types of Smart classrooms, Maher said. Basic Smart rooms, the kind added over break, cost around $12,000 to $13,000, depending on the size of the room. These classrooms provide students and instructors with a fixed computer projector, an Internet connection, a podium with a control panel built in, VCRs and a phone to reach technical assistance.

Enhanced Smart rooms cost between $30,000 and $35,000 to build, and include everything in the basic room plus a video computer monitor in the podium, lighting control, an audio system with volume control and an overhead camera used to display 3-D objects like magazines and books. Some enhanced classes also offer slide-to-video projectors and laser disk players.

“We have specific plans to build at least five more rooms this summer, but it depends on the university’s budget,” Maher said, before explaining that some of the money for Smart classrooms comes from the university through the Physical Development Plan, which is a rolling 10-year maintenance list. The rest of the money comes directly from the state.

The number of technologically-enhanced classrooms built depends on the university’s budget. The Office of Budgets and Institutional Analysis sets aside reserves each year to spend on projects like Smart rooms.

“This year, with all the budget cuts, the reserves have already been used up,” said Keith Ickes, the associate vice president for administrative services.

Etenesh Bartley, an international student who recently transferred to CSU from Colorado Mountain College in Glenwood Springs, said simply being in a classroom, whether equipped with computers and technology or not, is always beneficial.

Basic Smart Classroom

* Fixed computer projector in ceiling

* Internet Connection

* Podium with Control Panel

* Phone for Assistance


Enhanced Smart Classroom

* Everything in the basic Smart room, plus:

* Video computer monitor in podium

* Overhead camera used to display 3-D objects

* Lighting and audio system

* Slide-to-video projector (in some)

* Laser Disc Player (in some)

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