During the break, the IS team was busy taking advantage of some empty classrooms to make some critically needed upgrades.
The AV presentation system in Freeman 102 was upgraded to include a ceiling mounted full HD projector and a new widescreen format projection screen. The system also includes a touchscreen controller that, along with the other switching and routing hardware, is housed within a wall mounted cabinet due to the unique layout and requirements of the science lab. A new cable cubby allows the laptop to be cleanly stationed on the room’s existing instructor work surface with audio and video cabling neatly managed.
We also swapped out all 21 computers in Skiff 100 with new custom built systems.The new systems have hex-core i7 processors, 32GB of DDR 4 memory, 1TB of SSD storage, and dual built-in gigabit NICs. These changes constitute a tremendous step-up in performance, and allow for students to run up to five virtualized operating systems at the same time with ease. The improvements have been so noticeable that faculty are already asking for similar changes to the neighboring Skiff 102.
It’s worth noting that this represents a different purchasing model that we’re trying out in this lab. Instead of buying off-the-shelf or paying a reseller to build systems, we bought individual components and assembled the systems ourselves. Doing it this way reduced the dollar cost of the units. The tradeoff of course is that we spent more labor putting together the systems ourselves. This method may not be practical when upgrading multiple labs at once, such as we typically do in the summer months, but we’re going to see how it goes and consider doing this in the future.