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January 8, 2015

SAC hears about new high-tech services

New high-tech services and teaching approaches at Pitt will continue to aid employees’ work and students’ classroom experiences, Michael Arenth told the Dec. 10 meeting of the Staff Association Council (SAC). Arenth is director of classroom and media services at the Center for Instructional Development and Distance Education.

Arenth highlighted the My Pitt Video service for staff and faculty, which Computing Services and Systems Development rolled out this fall ( It enables faculty and staff to capture lectures or presentations for student playback on most devices.

The software used for My Pitt Video allows the end products to be annotated and made searchable. It also allows material from several sources to be edited together later, such as video and a PowerPoint presentation. Employees using CourseWeb also may broadcast their talks live, and faculty can permit students to upload their own videos to CourseWeb via My Pitt Video.

In addition, Arenth displayed a possible classroom configuration for some of the new teaching spaces in Lawrence Hall, whose current renovation includes three new 50-seat classrooms (see May 1, 2014, University Times). The new room design may include high tables at which students will stand surrounding the instructor, who will teach from the middle of the room.

Said Arenth: “It’s possible that this is what Pitt classrooms will look like in the future.”

In other SAC news:

• SAC’s Spring Assembly, now called the Staff Development Assembly and broadened from technology to focus on staff development generally, is set for May 19 with Chancellor Patrick Gallagher as the keynote speaker. SAC member Samantha Stephens is heading the ad hoc committee planning the event.

• Health, safety, IT and transportation committee chair Ken Doty reports that University Mailing Services is “talking about decreasing the cost” of Read Green. “I know the reason for the cost was to prevent everyone and their brother from sending something out,” Doty allowed. Mike Rosol, manager of bulk mail services, did not return a request for comment by press time.

• January’s SAC meeting with Chancellor Patrick Gallagher will be open to SAC members only.

—Marty Levine

Filed under: Feature,Volume 47 Issue 9