UCI’s general assignment classrooms are equipped with an assortment of technology that is used to carry out instruction. Equipment includes projectors, audio systems, computers, document cameras, and other devices.
This summer, OIT will be upgrading equipment in some of the Humanties Quad classrooms that were identified as a priority by instructors and students.
In 2011, 20,956 students used at least one of the nearly 1,500 computers available in UCI’s instructional computing labs. Demand for scheduled labs and specialized software has been increasing and older equipment is in need of replacement; some computers are 7 years old and cannot continue to be deployed due to outdated software; others are unsupportable due to hardware failures.
This year we will be updating some of these labs with new equipment. This will also allow us to relocate some of the current computers to other labs making it better overall. The new equipment will be going into the Student Center, Natural Sciences 1, and the MSTB labs.
Wireless networking is provided by “access point” devices strategically placed in the area were coverage is required. Increasing wireless network use has taxed access points in popular areas, reducing performance.
In the UCI eTech Survey, students were asked what campus locations needed wireless improvements. OIT reviewed the cost and feasibility of updates in these locations; the Student Center was identified as the initial focus.
In Spring 2012, OIT added 27 new access points to study areas, lounges, terraces, Starbucks, student areas in building G; Zot-N-Go; East and West Food Courts, Anthill Pub, and the Visitor Center, plus another 20 in Student Center multipurpose and conference rooms (Crystal Cove Auditorium, Pacific Ballroom, and the following rooms: Balboa Island, Doheny Beach, Emerald Bay Moss Cove, Woods Cove). Students have already been enjoying increased wireless bandwidth and performance for a number of months thanks to this project.
Many students bring laptops and other portable devices to campus study areas, where the availability of power outlets varies. In discussions about educational technology needs, students have frequently expressed the importance of increasing the availability of power sources.
The UCI eTech Survey asked students for input on power availability to help identify priority locations for improvement.
Locations identified include:
- Student Center Food Courts (45%)
- the campus Starbucks (36%)
- Student Center lobbies and hallways (36%)
- Gateway Study Center (31%)
- Rowland Hall lobby (25% )
- Phoenix Food Court (24%)
- BC’s Cavern (24%)
- MSTB lobby (20%)
OIT is in planning stages to work with the Student Center, other units, and Facilities Management to add or replace power receptacles in BC’s Cavern (10 new, 6 replaced), Phoenix Food Court (14 new), Student Center East and West food courts (38 new), and MSTB lobby (11 new).
The Electronic Educational Environment (EEE), UCI’s home-grown online course management system, was founded in 1995, well before commercial vendors providing any similar products. The system has grown with UCI, guided by abundant feedback from students, staff, and faculty, and evolving into a toolset unique to UCI and tailored to the needs of the campus. EEE supports an average of 34,000 unique users per quarter, yet in the budget environment of the last several years, OIT was down to a skeleton crew of staff supporting it. Despite 600+ requests from the campus in the development queue, new development was not feasible, and critical system updates and other maintenance were deferred.
OIT has hired two new programmers (both UCI alumni!) and as of Spring 2012 EEE can return to an active support cycle with required maintenance, new tools, features, and system updates to keep pace with campus needs, requests, and changes in technology.