New classroom technology available to faculty, students
While most students and faculty were enjoying their summer vacations, academic informatics services staff were working diligently to improve learning facilities on campus. This semester, students and faculty returned to find more than 300 new chairs and 28 new remote-control, 27-inch television monitors in the multidiscipline labs, and new video projectors and projection screens and one CardioSim™ digital heart sound teaching system in some of their classrooms.
The Permanent University Fund (PUF) provided more than $2 million for the classroom upgrades. A. Jerome York, vice president and chief information officer, and Dr. Deborah Greene, vice president for academic administration, initiated the project in 1999.
"Health professions curricula are evolving rapidly," Dr. Greene said. "That in turn changes the way we teach and the way our students learn. The upgrades provide Health Science Center faculty with some of the latest in technological teaching tools, allowing them to enhance the learning experience for their students. This is just another step the university is taking to keep pace with worldwide advances in technology and teaching."
The Medical School, Dental School, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, School of Allied Health Sciences and School of Nursing, as well as support facilities such as the Briscoe Library, are included in the project. Not all upgrades have been completed. Academic informatics services staff will continue to work around class schedules to complete planned improvements.
In the Dental School building, rooms 1.284T, 2.424T, 3.424T and 4.434T will be equipped with integrated multimedia instructor consoles that include DVD, VHS, a console computer, Internet connectivity and laptop display. Room 1.463 in the School of Nursing building and rooms 209L, 309L, 409L and 444B in the Medical School building will be equipped with integrated multimedia instructor consoles that have multimedia control systems like the ones in the Dental School building. However, the new additions also provide a video conferencing system like those in 1.102, 1.202, 2.104, 4.102 and 4.110 in the Allied Health/Research Building, and McDermott Building Room 2.108. Each of these rooms has instructor and student cameras and microphones. All facilities are capable of receiving satellite downlinks and other programs originating from Demand Access.
"The goal of the upgrades is to create a consistent, multimedia environment that is reliable and easy to use," York said. "With this new technology, our faculty continue to enhance their creative and stimulating classes without having to spend a lot of time just learning how to operate the technology. With the new video teleconferencing capabilities, Health Science Center faculty will continue to reach more and more students, not only in San Antonio, but throughout South Texas."
Faculty and students are already benefiting from the new equipment.
Dr. Joe Moody, associate professor of medicine and director of the cardiology fellowship program, uses the CardioSim™ to teach auscultation to medical students. Auscultation is the art of listening to body sounds, specifically heartbeats and heart murmurs.
"The CardioSim™ generates heart sounds and heart murmurs and projects them into the classroom in an infrared format," Dr. Moody said. "The infrared energy is picked up by individual headphones worn by the students. These headphones have the feel of stethoscopes, so the exercise assists in acquiring skills in interpreting sounds heard through a stethoscope."
Dr. Moody said up to 200 students can hear artificial heart sounds, recorded heart sounds or "live" real time heart sounds simultaneously. "The system allows students to gain improved comparison, capability and efficiency in listening to heart sounds," he said. Dr. Moody said the system is easy to operate using PC hardware and software.
When all classroom upgrades are completed, orientation sessions will be held to train faculty on how to use the new equipment.
The CardioSim™ is available for use by faculty. For more information or to reserve the CardioSim™ machine, call ext. 7-2210.