Flexible Learning Spaces Initiative

flexible learning spaces initiative banner with instructor and students in flexible classroom

Have you seen or even taught in some of the renovated classrooms designed to support a greater variety of teaching methods? Exciting news has been shared by the Center for Faculty Excellence:

In response to a 2012 faculty survey on classrooms, the University has been experimenting with alternative classroom designs to accommodate a wider range of teaching methods. Now, Provost Bob Blouin has approved a master plan put forward by the Classroom Policy Steering Committee to expedite updates to many of the University’s general purpose classrooms. The Flexible Learning Spaces Initiative (FLSI) is a multi-year plan to implement these updates and help faculty, graduate instructors, and students make the most of them. Over the next five years:

  • As many as 50 general purpose classrooms will be updated, including several lecture halls
  • New workshops and resources will be offered to support instructors using the updated spaces
  • The faculty-led Classrooms Modernization Advisory Group will help oversee implementation of the initiative

What great news for Carolina!

*Update 3/18/19: See more on this story from ITS! This story includes interviews with Gina Bradford, our Classroom Hotline Manager, and Bob Henshaw, our CFE Liaison.

See the Flexible Learning Spaces

All UNC instructors are invited to visit the Flexible Learning Spaces! The CFE has several events planned for you to visit the flexible classrooms, as well as learn about best practices and effective design strategies for your in-class activities. We invite you to register for any that interest you!

Registration for all sessions are found on the CFE Learning Spaces Initiative page.

Flexible Learning Spaces Open House

Visit a recently renovated classroom, chat with instructors who have taught in these spaces, and meet instructional support staff from several campus groups. No registration required.

  • March 20 | 2:30-4pm | Kenan Labs 125
  • March 22 | 1-2:30pm | Peabody 220

Intro to Teaching in a Flexible Learning Space

Find out how you can take advantage of the new classrooms. Presenters will model practical teaching techniques that can be implemented in any class.

  • March 6 | 9-10am | Alumni 203
  • March 7 | 3:30-4:30pm | Carolina Hall 213
  • April 5 | 1-2pm | Peabody 220
  • May 3 | 1-2pm | Peabody 220
  • May 9 | 2-3pm | Peabody 306

Best Practices for Small Group Activities

Learn about examples of potential group work and projects that fit course goals, and reflect on how the instructor’s role changes using this format. You’ll also discuss common group work pitfalls and strategies to overcome them.

  • March 29 | 2:30-3:30pm | Bingham 217
  • April 4 | 3:30-4:30pm | Greenlaw 317
  • April 17 | 3-4pm | Kenan Labs 125
  • May 8 | 11am-12pm | Phillips 212

Designing Effective Discussion Prompts

Discuss strategies for developing effective question prompts for in-class activities and out-of-class assignments.

  • March 19 | 12:30-1:30pm | Dey 301
  • April 10 | 3:30-4:30pm | Dey 205

Flexible Learning Spaces Retreat

Don’t have time to stop by on multiple days? Sign up for this half-day event to get a comprehensive overview of best practices of teaching in the new spaces. It will incorporate strategies discussed in the previous workshops listed above.

  • May 10 | 9am-12:30pm | Location TBA

We are excited for faculty and how you all will use these new Flexible Learning Spaces! Thank you to the CFE for providing these many learning opportunities on campus.

New Exam Scanning System

stack of scantronsWhile students may not have noticed a real difference in filling out scantrons for their exams in class, the Exam Scanning system underwent a big change just last fall. Students still use the same ScanTron forms they purchase at UNC Student Stores and those scantrons are still brought to our Classroom Hotline group in Peabody Hall, which manages the exam scanning service. The system used to process these scantrons was just replaced by InstructorTools by DigitalDesk.

The old system was developed in the mid 1980s by a current ITS staffer, Todd Lewis. While it has been extremely reliable for 35 years, it was time for some updates!

New Exam Scanning Benefits

Particularly during high-stress final exam time, one of the key benefits to the new system is a faster turnaround time in processing scantron results. The average wait time in receiving results has been cut in half due to a 3-step process being combined into one with the new system. Not only do instructors get their results back faster, but InstructorTools makes all reports available to them online! We no longer have to print all of these reports. To give an idea of how much paper we’re saving, 100,000+ pages were printed just in 2016-2017! As Abi Winegarden with our Classroom group says,

“The instructor can look over results, make answer key adjustments and gain feedback on the quality of their exams, all with a few clicks of a button and at their own convenience.”

Another great benefit to the new system is the integration with ConnectCarolina and the additional checks and balances that come with this integration. Instead of accepting all scantrons, the system will alert when there are student mismatches so that instructors can more quickly remedy issues and provide feedback to all students in their course. Those results can then be imported into Sakai.

To read the full story on the Exam Scanning project and to hear how well the new system is working for the School of Nursing and across campus, check out ITS News.

Get Help

ITS Annual Report 2015-2016

cci_printing_mobileThe ITS Annual Report was just released last month! Find out what exciting work Teaching & Learning and all of Information Technology Services has worked on from August 2015 through July 2016.

Here is a quick rundown on facts and figures for Teaching & Learning from each of our divisions. Stats are from August 1, 2015 to July 12, 2016:

  • 8,080,696 pages printed through CCI Printers
  • 144,086 Virtual Lab sessions
  • Nearly 200,000 exams scanned July 2015 – June 2016
  • 29,000 unique Sakai users
  • 3,915 Spring 2016 courses in Sakai
  • 6,560 Classroom Hotline room checks

See more highlights from Teaching & Learning!

3-Year Classroom Upgrade Project in Home Stretch

200 classrooms have been upgraded from analog to digital equipment. With these upgrades, we are better able to support and troubleshoot devices for instructors. Often times we remotely check the classroom equipment and make sure everything is up and running before anyone even walks into the classroom. Some of the digital-upgrade classrooms also received upgraded cameras and microphones to provide a better experience for web conferencing. Check out the following video and our previous post to learn more about classroom upgrades:

Greenlaw 101 Renovation

image of faculty and staff in greenlaw 101

Another classroom that got a huge upgrade is Greenlaw 101. If you haven’t been to this room in the past year, we highly recommend taking a quick stroll to Greenlaw Hall!

Our very own Bob Henshaw led a planning group comprised of staff from ITS, the Center for Faculty Excellence, and campus administrators, who worked with over two dozen faculty members across a wide range of disciplines to identity key instructional goals for a final design. Greenlaw 101 has been transformed from a lecture hall with stadium-style seating into a classroom with a middle ramp that splits three tiers into six learning zones, populated with moveable tablet-arm seats on casters. Instructors can now easily move around and interact with individual students and groups. Several monitors also line each section of the room, which allow students to easily view content and display their devices.

CCI Printing Goes Mobile!

With 60 printers in 45 locations across campus, CCI Printing is one of the most convenient ways for students to print. The University’s official mobile app, CarolinaGO, was launched in November 2015, and it includes the CCI Printing map. The map automatically updates every 2 minutes, providing users with live updates of each printer’s status, nearest printer locations, and better support since we can easily see if a printer is low on supplies or needs technical attention.

Sakai Q&A with Jeremiah Joyner


Did you know that 70% of all instructors now use Sakai? Check out this Q&A on Sakai Stabilization with Jeremiah Joyner, Manager of the Sakai Support team.

In case you haven’t heard, we are upgrading to Sakai 11 in December, bringing even more updates and new features to the system!

You can view the full ITS Annual Report from all ITS departments, which includes stories, videos, and other stats on the services we provided to the UNC Campus.

Classroom Equipment 101: Video Tutorial

Happy First Week of Classes! We hope the Fall semester is off to a great start for you and that everything has been running smoothly.

To help instructors get familiar with the equipment in classrooms, our Classroom Hotline group put together the following instructional video tutorial for classrooms with one projector. We invite you to check it out!

In this video tutorial, we provide an overview of these tools:

  • Touch panel — controls all classroom equipment
  • Sending devices to projector
  • Connecting your laptop
  • Connecting USB flash drive
  • Controlling projector, audio, lights, projector screen, window shades
  • DVD Player
  • Document Camera
  • How to connect to Classroom Hotline for help — look for the red phone
  • How to shut down classroom when you’re done

Hopefully this video tutorial will help you feel more comfortable with using the classroom equipment. We can always provide classroom demonstrations and assist with any questions you may have. Please contact us through the following options:

  • Email at hotline@unc.edu
  • Call at 919-962-6702
  • Pick up the red phone in your classroom
  • Schedule classroom demo

Stay tuned for more video tutorials!

Mirroring360 Update Supports iOS 9 in Classrooms

Last semester, Classroom Hotline upgraded classrooms across campus with the capability to wirelessly project personal devices using Mirroring360 by Splashtop®. Have you recently updated your device to iOS 9? You may have had some trouble mirroring your Apple device in the classroom, but there is good news. Mirroring360 has been updated in classrooms to version 1.5 to support screen mirroring on iOS 9 Apple devices! All you need to do is re-arm the license key on your Apple devices to continue mirroring your content.

Why might you want to mirror your device in the classroom?

  • Instructors and students can share any content from their devices
  • Turn students into presenters without moving from their seats
  • Mirror up to 4 devices simultaneously for comparison and collaboration

Check out the Mirroring360 Brochure to see more features and how it works!

Re-arm Mirroring360 License Key

1. Locate new grey Mirroring360 icon in system tray on computer

m360_key_012. Right-click on icon and select Settings

m360_key_023. Select License button

m360_key_034. Click Activate

m360_key_045. Verify both Mirroring services are running, and you’re all set!

m360_key_05You can also download these instructions here. Contact Classroom Hotline if you have any questions by picking up the red telephone in your classroom or calling 919-962-6702!

NOTE: See new full instructions here (updated November 2015)

Gina Bradford & Father Michael Antonacci on Classroom Renovations

As our Classroom Manager, Gina Bradford, explains, “Carolina’s current and future student populations have grown with technology, making them eager to use it for educational purposes (ITS News). Classroom Hotline within our Teaching & Learning department has been installing updates in classrooms since 2013 and will continue the renovation project through the summer of 2016 to bring updates that today’s students expect to see at a university.

In the video below, Gina Bradford, Manager of Classroom Hotline, and Father Michael Antonacci, a Teaching Assistant in the Physics Department, describe the upgrades implemented in Phillips Hall Room 335 for the Math and Physics Departments and the positive impacts they have made on the student learning experience.

The renovations include upgrading back end equipment, putting technology on the network, and adding options for instructors to incorporate their mobile devices into their instruction. As we mentioned in our previous post, instructors can now display their Apple devices in classrooms and no longer have to rely on VGA cable connections! This mobility allows for more interaction between the instructor and students.

Not only has the technology been upgraded but furniture and seating has been included with peer-to-peer learning and collaboration in mind. Instead of the traditional one-direction-lecture type of seating, several round tables with power have been installed to encourage discussion and make it easier for students to work together on projects and compare answers. Students no longer focus on just one instructor but are interacting and teaching each other. Four projector screens were also added for easier visibility.

As Father Michael Antonacci notes on less tech savvy rooms, if they can’t see, students “can’t learn, can’t ask questions, can’t interact,” hindering them from engaging in active learning. The renovation in Phillips Hall Room 335 has been tremendous in giving students an advantage in learning and promoting peer instruction!

See the original story on ITS News.

New! Display Apple Devices in Classrooms and More

mirroring360_ipadWhile most of Carolina campus was away on Spring Break a couple of weeks ago, Classroom Hotline was busy at work installing updates on the classroom computers. You can now project Apple devices in the classroom!

Display iDevice with Mirroring360

Instructors teach a variety of subjects, so there’s no telling how many different kinds of applications may help an instructor further enhance their instruction. Depending on your area of expertise, there are apps out there that allow you to visually enhance and zoom into specific sections on graphics, maps, and pieces of art. Others may use apps to teach music,  demonstrate how the brain functions, or draw diagrams and figures. The options are endless!

With the new support of Mirroring360 by Splashtop® in campus classrooms, instructors can now mirror their iPads and iPhones wirelessly to the classroom computer to display content from their iDevices. You no longer have to rely on adding your content to the classroom PC to project to students but can now demonstrate your material through your Apple devices. Mirroring360 also allows you to pass your tablet around the classroom for students to demonstrate what they are learning in the class. What a great way of bringing learning into the open!

mirroring_assistSee how you can Display Your iDevice Wirelessly using Mirroring360. You will need to open Mirroring360 on the classroom computer and download the following application on your device:

More Updates from Classrooms!

You can find more Classroom Support documents here.

If you need help, just pick up the red telephone in your classroom or call (919) 962-6702!

NOTE: See new full instructions here (updated November 2015)

ITS Annual Report: 2013-2014

its_report_13-14The ITS Annual Report is in! See what Information Technology Services has been working on in 2013 and 2014, with special highlights on Teaching & Learning!

As the report states:

ITS is building a new, higher standard of connectivity in both on-campus and digital classrooms…we focus on how technology can enhance learning objectives and create a richer student experience.

See the full report here.

Classrooms Go Digital

As we previously mentioned, several campus classrooms have been undergoing upgrades since this summer, including the addition of new Document Cameras. This new equipment is part of a multi-year project of converting 200 analog rooms to digital, ten of which were completed this summer! All 200 analog classrooms are scheduled to be completed by mid-August of 2016. Here are some key points:

  • classroom_before_afterWe now have 56 digital classrooms
  • 21 rooms with only a chalkboard converted
  • 13 rooms outfitted for web conferencing with cameras and ceiling mics, ranging from 15-seat to 190-seat rooms
    • New Doc Cams enable web conferencing
    • Allows for guest speakers and subject experts in the classroom!
  • Added HDMI cable outputs to project tablets and smartphones
  • 232 new wireless access points to bring wireless internet to 182 classrooms!

Don’t forget that red telephone in the classroom! Any time you need assistance, just pick up that red phone to connect directly with the Classroom Hotline. Because the Hotline monitors classroom equipment remotely, chances are that we may have already discovered and fixed the problem before the classes started, allowing you to focus on what’s truly important–learning in the classroom!

MOOCs at Carolina

If you have not heard, there has been a big movement towards Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in higher education these past few years. UNC became a part of the MOOC Movement in 2013 by offering several MOOCs through Coursera.

By the Numbers

  • mooc_unc7.5 million Coursera learners
  • 160,000 students enrolled in UNC MOOCs to date
  • 190 Countries represented in UNC MOOCs
  • 30% Students from emerging economies
  • 38,000 Students currently “watching” UNC Course MOOCs for new offerings

Check out Coursera to see all the MOOC offerings by UNC! They are FREE and open to anyone. Here is some more information on MOOCs in higher ed:

Sakai Migration

The Blackboard to Sakai Migration officially ended early January 2013, which was a collaborative effort between numerous people across campus to provide support to Faculty, Students, and Staff to make way for the new learning management system at UNC. The transition included many outlets of support, several of which are still available to the UNC Community today

Way to go, Carolina! It’s been a great year for teaching and learning!

“Building on success…is an atmosphere of collaboration that we foster at ITS
and with our students, faculty, staff and broader community.”
Chris Kielt, UNC Vice Chancellor for IT and CIO

Did you know your Doc Cam can…

doc_camClassroom Hotline has been hard at work with several classrooms on campus going through big upgrades! One of those upgrades you may have noticed in most rooms is an updated document camera. We cannot always rely on electronic versions of content, which is when doc cams come in handy!

So what exactly is a document camera?

doc_cam_audienceDocument cameras are visual presenters that project physical objects onto a screen. They are great tools for sharing printed copies of material in class, such as textbooks, sheet music, and art, or working out math problems, annotations, and other hands-on activities. You could even project yourself and your students! Doc cams basically display any object or activity to a larger audience.

See more uses for doc cams from the University of Notre Dame.

But wait, your Doc Cam can do even more!

While the new doc cams are great for projecting content, they are actually capable of doing so much more! In addition to displaying objects, your doc cam also:

  1. Doubles as a webcam and mic for Skype, MS Lync, WebEx, etc.
  2. Records to USB storage with one-touch still-image & voice/video recording
  3. Provides annotation with audio/video recording to cloud storage, such as Dropbox or YouTube

doc_cam_connectWith the built-in microphone and camera, these doc cams are great for ad hoc lecture capturing and web conferencing. You can very easily save your work and share it live with your colleagues and students. It is now easier than ever to connect! See the full ad on what your Doc Cam can do.

Contact Classroom Hotline for details on using any of these features in your next lectures and meetings!

We are Here to Help You

“Teaching with technology…is about knowing how to successfully incorporate the best tools into your teaching when and where it makes sense.”
Faculty Focus

When used effectively, technology can enhance the learning environment, elicit deeper understanding, and provide a powerful experience for users. There are so many resources here at Carolina that you can use to strengthen your studies and practices. Let us help you discover new technologies and get the most out of tools you are already using!

Have you asked yourself any of these questions?

  • Question MarkHow do I use the technology in my classroom?
  • How can I best utilize the tools in my Sakai site?
  • Is there a place I can access software for free?
  • I am new here. What resources are available for me to use?
  • I have a research project and need a place to collaborate with my colleagues.
  • How can I conveniently meet with my colleagues? We have busy schedules!
  • Is there a way for my students to post a presentation and have their classmates share feedback and comments?

We are here to help you!

Sign up for a personal consultation with a TLI Consultant to learn about what educational technologies could work for you and understand the best methods to apply! We can help you set up and structure your Sakai site to meet your course needs. Unable to get together with colleagues in person? We’ll help you create a Blackboard Collaborate web conferencing room so you can conveniently meet without finding a location and time with your busy schedules! Want to share media and have students provide comments? Let us help you set up VoiceThreads!

If you have questions regarding your classroom, please contact Classroom Hotline. Simply pick up the red telephone in your classroom or call (919) 962-6702 to speak to classroom support. We can also provide a classroom demonstration to help you become familiar with the technology available to you!virtual_lab

Do your instructors require certain applications not already on your computer? Looking for free software? Check out Virtual Lab!

Don’t forget that you can always contact the ITRC Help Desk, which provides support 24/7. You can give them a call, chat online, submit a help ticket, or walk in and speak to someone in person–whatever you prefer!

Let us know how we may best assist you. We hope to hear from you soon!