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April 19, 2001

Preview your classroom – electronically

Wondering whether the room assigned for your fall term class will meet your technological needs? Pittsburgh campus faculty now can "tour" electronically Pitt's media-enhanced classrooms.

The Center for Instructional Development and Distance Education (CIDDE) has installed a link to its home page that provides various views of media-enhanced classrooms in 14 buildings campus-wide.

Part of an ongoing project to upgrade classroom instructional technology, CIDDE links classroom information to the site as new technology is installed.

The project is done in cooperation with the Provost's classroom management team, which recommends the classrooms to be upgraded, and the Registrar's office, which schedules most of the classrooms.

About a third of the 320 classrooms campus-wide are now technology enhanced. At minimum, the enhanced rooms are equipped with a VHS videotape player, a large TV monitor or video projector, a data port and a campus telephone, though some classrooms boast laser disc equipment, audio cassette decks and sophisticated sound systems. (Other instructional media are available through CIDDE upon request. There also is information on training and demonstration sessions for using the audiovisual equipment at the classroom sites.) By calling up a classroom on-line, faculty and students can preview the room. The web pages list the number of seats in the classroom. There are color photos with front and rear views and snapshots of the audiovisual and other equipment racks and control panels. Many pieces of equipment listed are linked to instructional manuals and descriptions that break down the capabilities, technical details and features, and how to contact the manufacturer.

Building floor plans also are available on the CIDDE site.

To access the classroom information, go to the CIDDE web site ( and click on Media Enhanced Classrooms. Then select a building and a room number to commence a tour.

–Peter Hart

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