Prototype Teaching Station

PDAD&C, 2006-07

MEMORANDUM

TO:      Principals, Deans, Academic Directors and Chairs,

FROM:  Safwat Zaky, Vice-Provost, Planning and Budget

DATE:  November 2, 2006

Re:      Prototype University of Toronto Teaching Station



In September of 2005, the Academic Computing Advisory Committee (ACAC) struck a subcommittee to recommend minimum classroom technology standards for University of Toronto classrooms by 2010. The subcommittee focused on three main objectives:

  • to implement previous University recommendations to provide uniform access to standard classroom technologies across the campuses,
  • to facilitate instructor use of existing and future classroom technologies, and
  • to improve the educational experience of our students, especially undergraduates.

The subcommittee presented its initial report to ACAC in May 2006, and continues to consult widely to refine its recommendations.

At the core of those recommendations is a proposal for a new University of Toronto Teaching Station, an accessible electronic podium with simple, standardized connections and controls. The Station contains a basic suite of commonly used teaching software, and allows teachers to project alternative applications from a laptop or similar device. It is being designed to provide a core set of tools that every teacher can expect in every equipped room, while staying flexible enough to accommodate exceptional and future teaching technologies. Its features include:

  • Access to the podium controls via personal UTORid.
  • Built-in computer equipped with PowerPoint, Excel, Word, Adobe Acrobat, Windows Media Player, and Internet Explorer.
  • Two USB ports on the top and one on the front. You can connect your laptop to the Station, or, if you use the supported software, teach from a memory stick and use the Station’s keyboard and mouse.
  • Plug-and-go Internet connection that automatically assigns an IP address. No need to change your laptop settings for each classroom.
  • An intercom connecting to live technical support from the Office of Space Management.

The prototype Teaching Station was unveiled at the Teaching and Learning Symposium on 30 October. It will be on display at the Office of Teaching Advancement on the fourth floor of the Robarts Library, 130 St. George, until Friday, 10 November. The Station will also be displayed at UTM and UTSC, locations to be announced.

The University invites all teaching staff and other interested parties to view the proposed Teaching Station at one of these locations and share your thoughts on this important new tool for our teachers and students. Comments may be left at the Station at any of its locations, or emailed to the Chair of the ACAC Subcommittee on Classroom Technology Standards, Prof. Nick Mount (English) at nick.mount@utoronto.ca