12 classroom technology tips to help instructors speed up time to teaching

For instructors, getting the most out of class time often requires uploading presentation materials and priming classroom technology before the start of class. When the clock is ticking, a basic understanding of classroom technology at Purdue and a few best practices can help ensure a seamless transition from pre-class setup to teaching.

Here are tips from ITaP to help instructors get classroom technology up and running quickly:

1. Visit the classroom before your first class to become familiar with the room and to test personal technology. Each classroom will have its own setup and capabilities that affect the best way to teach using the classroom’s technology.

Consider factors such as lighting and room depth, which can affect students’ ability to follow on-screen presentations. Upload a presentation and read the screen from the back of the room to see if the font size is adequate.

Test any personal technology you plan to use for compatibility issues. Personal laptops and mobile devices may require department-supplied adaptors to connect to a room’s projector.

2. Read the classroom instructions posted on the lectern of your classroom. Many answers to common classroom technology questions are found on the instruction sheet located on the classroom lectern. The instructions identify the technology found in the room and cover basic operations, such as turning systems on or selecting inputs and outputs.

More information here. Instructors who need help can call the ITaP Customer Service Center at 49-44000 or itap@purdue.edu.

3. Read the instruction sheet to determine which devices are controlled by a remote. If there is a remote on the classroom lectern, it may be for the DVD player, the projector or some other device. The instruction sheet includes information on the controls for each device in a room.

4. Note that Mac keyboards are used in all classrooms, regardless of the computer system. These sealed keyboards are in place to prevent easy tampering and hidden recording devices sometimes placed inside a keyboard to log passwords or other sensitive information. The “command” key on a Mac keyboard is roughly the same as the Windows key on a PC. The “option” key is roughly the same as the Alt key. Keyboard shortcuts that would start with the Control or Ctrl key on a Widows keyboard often begin with the “command” key on a Mac keyboard. The keyboards are similar otherwise.

5. Check to see if your wireless microphone transmitter is set to the correct group and channel for your classroom. The group and channel information for each classroom is found on the classroom lectern’s touch panel or button panel. Wireless microphones will not function if these settings don’t match. Visit this link for up-to-date information on which wireless microphone to purchase.

6. Turn on the lamp for better image quality when using the document camera. Pressing the “Lamp” button, located near the lens of the document camera, directs more light on the document to improve the projected image.

7. Press Command + P (Windows key + P on a Windows keyboard) to access external display options. This keyboard shortcut allows an instructor to take advantage of classrooms with two monitors or to control the display of the computer or projector (Computer Only, Duplicate, or Projector Only).

8. Select the laptop connection or wireless projection option on the classroom control system when using a personal laptop. Although the projected image may mirror your personal device without selecting this option, certain functions will be lost (including sound during videos) unless this selection is made. If you are using the HDMI connection from your laptop, you may need to select HDMI on the control system instead of laptop.  Some classrooms are equipped with wireless projection capabilities.  If the classroom is equipped with that option, it will be listed on the Crestron control system touch panel.

9. Carry extra copies of lecture materials on a flash drive or laptop. Even if a network outage renders a presentation stored online unreachable, a personal laptop can still be used with classroom equipment as long as the presentation files are backed up on the laptop’s hard drive or a flash drive.

10. Log off the classroom computer when class ends. Logging off right away ensures the next instructor ample time to log in and prepare for the start of class. In addition to logging off, instructors should press “Off” or “Class End” on the control system. This shuts down the projector, saving lamp life and electricity.

11. Lectures can be captured for review by students. Instructors can request BoilerCast capture at any time during the semester; this includes capture of instructor audio and the computer screen in all sites, and includes camera capture in some sites. Professional classroom recordings are also available from ITaP Video & Multimedia Production Services.

12. Access files stored on your career account home directory. An individual’s home directory storage is automatically available when logging in to a classroom PC. Instructors can also access their home directory using their personal devices by following online instructions for Windows and Mac machines. Off-campus access is possible through Purdue’s Virtual Private Network (VPN).

For assistance in learning about the room you’re using, contact tlt@purdue.edu to arrange a consultation.

Last updated: December 20, 2017