Those seeking a first-rate education in computer science need look no further than the University of Karlsruhe. Boasting 1500 students, the Faculty of Computer Science is one of the largest and best in Germany.
Sustaining high standards in education and technology amid a rapidly growing student body has presented new challenges to the faculty. As the number of freshman students skyrocketed in the fall term of 2000, the lecture halls, especially those used for basic studies, were clearly inadequate to meet demand. It was imperative that lectures be transmitted to other halls and then recorded for educational purposes.
The Faculty of Computer Science ultimately decided to have the lectures digitally transmitted and saved under the guidance of the Department of Technical Infrastructure (ATIS).
The solution came in the form of the Cintiq 15X and 18SX Interactive Pen Displays from Wacom. The faculty made the old-fashioned method of chalk on blackboard fit for digital application.
The state-of-the-art technology needed for the transmission and recording was already in place. The faculty’s data network provided around 2,500 hook-ups. Moreover, there were already two lecture halls equipped with multimedia and videoconferencing capabilities, as well as a facility with around 70 publicly accessible workstations for students. So what could be more natural than to transcend the spatial confines with a strategic application of IT, making the most of the existing infrastructure?
With the Cintiq Interactive Pen Displays installed in a lecture hall, the content of lectures can now be created, presented and changed in digital format by simply placing pen on screen. Akin to the traditional blackboard method, and in realtime, the slides are supplemented during the course of the lecture as the professor makes annotations and then saved on the computer. These slides thus correspond to the blackboard and, using a software that captures screen content, are transmitted in realtime as an IP datastream via a data network connection.
Furthermore, the lecturer’s image and voice are recorded by a camera and wireless microphone in the lecture hall, converted into an ATM (asynchronous transfer mode) datastream and then transmitted synchronously to a remote lecture hall. There the data is reconverted, the slide content and video are sent to two separate projectors, and the audio is channeled to the public address system.
With the Cintiq products, several different effects could be obtained simultaneously. First, working and writing with the pen is natural and intuitive because the pen is applied directly to the screen. In this way, the slides can be annotated by hand, which isn’t possible with a mouse. Second, the high resolution of the LCD display ensures excellent legibility even when lectures are projected on a screen.
“It’s the ability to interactively edit lectures in electronic form with the Cintiq pen that makes a high-quality transmission and recording of lectures possible and therefore acceptable to the user,” says Klaus Scheibenberger, Head of the Department of Technical Infrastructure, summing up the needs of the faculty.
As once with chalk on blackboard, input with the Cintiq Interactive Pen Display flows smoothly
The faculty not only offers the live transmission of lectures within the campus, it also provides the lectures as digital recordings on the internet site of the university library.
This new type of lecture has met with positive response. As once with chalk on blackboard, input with the Cintiq Interactive Pen Display flows smoothly. No “hold ups” occur during transmission to disturb the lecturers’ concentration. This is an essential prerequisite towards gaining the acceptance of students and professors alike. The students appreciate being able to view the transmission in another lecture hall and to access the material via the Internet. Lecturers, for their part, are chiefly interested in local features such as slide presentation and commentary capability.
This is an example where the application of technology has created a fully digitized lecture. Breakdowns of multimedia equipment and lost time are things of the past.
Encouraged by the good outcome of lecture transmission and recording, the faculty has set up a central laboratory facility with 11 additional Wacom Cintiq 18SX Interactive Pen Displays. Workstations are available to lecturers and students and cover a wide range of practical exercises. Lab work can be completed interactively using the latest equipment.
Klaus Scheibenberger: “The faculty offers a first-class education. But today, what counts is not only the curriculum, but the technology behind it. The Wacom products have helped us immeasurably toward our goals in IT-assisted teaching.”
Source: Wacom’s Case Study