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February 4, 2002

Classroom Technologies relocates to Cox Hall

Donna Price is communications coordinator for the Information Technology Division.


A bearded Jerry Garcia look-alike wearing a pith helmet and riding a green beach bicycle is not necessarily what people expect to see on Emory’s campus. Is it some kind of retro time warp? Far from it. It is Steve Lamb of Information Technology Division’s Classroom Technologies (formerly Media Services) on a mission to deliver vital audiovisual technical assistance to distant classrooms.

Lamb is one of four media analysts—the others being Bruce Dille, Aaron Cooper and Steve Witte—who make sure presentation equipment is available and operational each semester for more than 90 Emory College classrooms.

Keeping ahead of the AV curve is Classroom Technologies’ business, and this semester being an on-the-move service means more than just keeping pace with developing and emerging technologies. It’s geographic as well.

Gone are the funky offices in Candler Library’s basement; the office has been relocated as renovation of the building goes into full swing. On Jan. 8, the service moved to spacious new facilities in Cox Hall 203.

“Media Services was born in Candler Library—the first AV cart rolled out of a closet there over 30 years ago,” said ITD business analyst Barbara Brandt, who rounds out the Classroom Technologies professional team.

Storage rooms being cleared in Candler bear witness to those bygone days when hauling heavy carts in vans and setting up 16 mm film projectors and phonographs with 33 rpm records was the only way to provide video and audio services to classrooms. Some of this classic equipment has been dusted off and put on display in the Marian Heilbrun Music and Media Library as a reminder of how far the technology has advanced in the last three decades.

“There is so much equipment that has become obsolete, and with the increased dependence on web and network-based computer technologies in classrooms, the skills that AV techs needed 20 years ago aren’t the same skills used today,” Brandt said.

Even with the amazing advances in technology, there are still challenges. Emory College has more than two dozen “smart” classrooms (wired for interactive media), but most rooms have varying levels of permanent AV equipment.

Classroom Technologies staff work with faculty to determine what is already available in a classroom, bring in a portable solution if the room doesn’t already have what faculty need, and give them a first-time run-through on how to use the technology.

“We have equipment stored in almost every class building on campus,” Brandt said, “but we only have 15 minutes between class breaks to get it into classrooms, get it connected and up and running for the instructor before class starts.

“We’re always looking for ways to make it easier for faculty and students to use the equipment—which doesn’t mean we’re behind the scenes with our feet up on a desk. It means it gives us extra time for planning, testing new equipment and bringing in new technology,” she added.

Almost 30 percent of their time is spent working closely with Emory College, Facilities Management, faculty and outside AV engineers as technical consultants on the design and development of media-rich classrooms.

“Classroom Technologies helps faculty bring new types of content into their courses,” said Alan Cattier, director of Academic Technologies for ITD. “Whether you’re talking about a Blackboard class, web material, DVDs or streamed video, they make sure media delivery goes as seamlessly as possible for faculty who want to be concerned whether their class grasps a concept, not whether the technology will work.”

They also maintain an equipment loan service, which provides digital video cameras, camcorders, data and slide projectors, and other AV equipment to faculty, students and staff. To learn more about Classroom Technologies’ services or to schedule equipment, visit or call 404-727-6853.