Classroom Upgrades

touchscreen interface

Marsh Hall
New audiovisual equipment is now in place in the Marsh Hall classroom and rotunda, complementing the recent renovations to that historic building. The new equipment in the two rooms has some features in common, as well as a couple of differences.

Both the classroom and the rotunda now feature a moveable podium with very user friendly electronic control panels.  The control panel displays simple touch buttons with images so presenters can now project and run any presentation without needing assistance from an IT technician. We have received very positive feedback from faculty members and others confirming this!  This type of control panel will be the template for all FES classroom upgrades moving forward in order to make the user experience simple and uniform from room to room.  It is also equipped with a motion sensor that detects a user's presence and automatically wakes up the display from sleep mode when a person approaches, so you won't encounter a blank screen and not know what to do. The sensor detects inactivity and powers down the system when not in use to conserve energy.

document camera

Both rooms also now feature document cameras.  Similar to an overhead projector but more versatile, a document camera is simple to use and magnifies and projects the image of any 3-D object or text placed on the flat surface below the camera.  Presenters can also write freehand on an erasable overlay so that the document camera can function almost as a whiteboard.  Both rooms will also be equipped with a permanent camera and wireless microphones for presenting to a remote audience and/or video conferencing.  This aspect of the project will be in service shortly.

The enlarged classroom ---- now the “Founders Room" --- has been newly equipped with a sleek 90-inch flat panel with recessed speakers, for bright images and clear sound for presentations. A rolling podium has been installed with a dedicated Mac Mini computer along with a choice of connections (HDMI, VGA and Mini DisplayPort) for hooking up to any kind of laptop computer if a presenter wishes to use their own instead of the one built into the podium.  There is also a floor box at the far end of the table with connections for a laptop if the presenter wishes to sit at the table instead of standing at the podium.

The classroom, also featuring the elegantly restored antique seminar table and photographs of O.C. Marsh and the Pinchot family, is now a very attractive and functional space for classes and other meetings.

The rotunda has been outfitted with a new projector and recessed motorized screen along with recessed ceiling-mounted speakers. A new motorized window shade darkens the room at the touch of a button. With new lighting, carpeting, and tables and chairs that can be rearranged, the rotunda is now a much more functional space than before - particularly since the new back stairway provides direct access to the upper floors.  Because visitors and occupants no longer have to go through the rotunda to get upstairs, the rotunda can now be used for regularly scheduled classes.

Kroon Hall
Burke Auditorium has just received a new classroom recording device that is being piloted at Yale, an Extron SMP 351 Media Processor.  The SMP 351 is a video and lecture capture system that can be controlled and monitored remotely providing more functionality and ease of use for ad-hoc recording than the current university system in use.

More to Come
Over October break, the 380 Edwards classroom is scheduled to be upgraded. Following the template set by the Marsh Hall renovation, the 380 classroom will receive a new podium complete with a custom touch panel interface and dedicated podium machine running both Windows and Apple OSX along with a document camera with whiteboard overlay. The room will also be equipped with a video camera and microphone setup allowing classes to bring in remote speakers via web conferencing applications such as Skype, Adobe Connect, etc.

Further down the road, over Thanksgiving break the Sage Hall classrooms will both be receiving upgrades, with Sage 32 inheriting the LCD panel that is currently in room 24. This panel will be mounted on an innovative sliding track, allowing the screen to be moved to the side when not in use. A dedicated room PC will also be installed running both Windows and Apple OSX.

Sage 24 will see the installation of a new projector and screen which we have determined to be appropriate due to the larger size of the classroom

Both Sage classrooms will be equipped with document cameras with whiteboard overlays allowing instructors to use the rooms’ display as they would a traditional whiteboard.  Dedicated camera and microphone setups will also be installed, continuing FES-IT’s efforts to modernize our learning spaces allowing fluid integration of web conferencing & online learning technologies.

Afterhours Tech Support for FES Classes: Mon – Thur; 5 – 8 pm

FES-IT has now extended our partnership with Central ITS and the Student Technology Collaborative to provide trained student media techs for classroom audiovisual support four evenings a week - Monday through Thursday from 5pm till 8pm. This support is free of charge and available for regularly scheduled FES classes only.  (Event support will still need to be scheduled with FES-IT in advance and may have a cost associated with it.) Each classroom podium displays emergency contact info for the student media techs, who will have office space in the FES-IT offices on the third floor of Sage Hall and be available at a moment's notice.

The media techs can assist with any and all problems encountered by faculty and TA's such as "How do I get the projector to work with my laptop?" "Why will the projector not turn on?" "Why do I not have sound?" etc. Media techs are also available to assist faculty and students with the use of audio/video programs in the FES computer lab in Sage Hall room 39, for example, iMovie, Final Cut Pro, and Adobe Premiere.

Expanded hours for Equipment Returns: Mon – Thur; 5 – 8 pm

The media techs in Sage 37 will also be available for equipment returns only.  Please note equipment can only be checked out during normal business hours from 9am to 4:30 pm Monday – Friday.

We are offering this expanded service in response to feedback on last year's technology survey. Thank you for your feedback!

Multifactor Authentication (MFA)

multifactor authentication

MFA is the new more secure procedure for accessing Yale resources off-campus.  MFA requires an off-campus user to prove his or her identity after entering a NetID and password by responding to a prompt on a mobile device or landline. Universities and colleges across the country increasingly are adopting this technology, which commonly is used by financial institutions to verify online users' identities.  Yale’s Office of Information Security has deemed Multifactor Authentication a necessary safeguard against unauthorized access to Yale's data.

MFA has now been deployed successfully to FES masters students and staff members with very few users experiencing any difficulties. We have already presented information to faculty at a faculty meeting about this and will be communicating more to faculty members shortly. Their implementation date is October 13. We will provide robust communication and support to faculty members so their adoption of this new procedure should also be fairly painless for them. PhD students have been transitioned by the Graduate School. If you do run into any trouble with MFA access, please contact the central IT helpdesk 24 hours a day at (203) 432-9000 for immediate assistance. If you need assistance enrolling a new device or have any questions regarding MFA, you may contact the FES Helpdesk at Thank you for your help in making this important rollout go smoothly!

For more information about MFA, see the MFA website.

Bulldog Mobile (LiveSafe) App

LiveSafe app

Bulldog Mobile, the free app that turns your smartphone into a personal safety device, has been upgraded effective July 1.  It is now much easier to use and includes several new features.  You can download Bulldog Mobile and find more information here.

Bomgar Remote Access

bomgar icon

The FES-IT Helpdesk can remotely access your computer to assist you when you are experiencing trouble, using Bomgar remote access software.  This may save time and trouble for both you and the FES-it staff as compared to an in-person visit in some situations.  Bomgar can never be used without your knowledge or active participation in a live phone call with an IT tech.  Please don’t be surprised if your next tech support visit is not a visit at all, but a phone call with Scott, Ray or Rob using Bomgar remote access to temporarily view your computer remotely and take control of your mouse.

FES-IT New Student Orientation

FES-IT presented seven new student orientation sessions during August for our incoming students.  During these sessions, FES staff provided new students with all the information they will need to orient them to IT at FES.  We also assisted students with installing software such as

  • CrashPlan ProE, our student backup solution;
  • VPN for access to Yale resources while off campus;
  • PaperCut and printer installation for access to campus printers.

F&ES staff also trained new students in the use of the Yale Software Library and Yale Box and answered a multitude of IT-related questions as they came up.  We trained approximately 175 students in all and were very busy getting all the new students up to speed!

ArcGIS Licensing Update

ArcGIS is a geospatial mapping program produced by the vendor ESRI and used by students, faculty and some staff.  The ArcGIS license server that is administered by the Yale Library and the FES license server administered by FES-IT were upgraded with new licenses at the end of the license term.  Some of you may have gotten an error message about your license expiring. If you have existing licenses that are expired, please check them back in to the server and then recheck new licenses back out to renew your licenses.  If you are experiencing trouble or are off-campus, please contact the FES Helpdesk for assistance.

The proceedings of the ESRI ArcGIS 2015 User Conference that took place in July in San Diego are now available online --- view all of the recorded conference sessions.  This is a great resource for all things GIS!

Clover Mobile Payment System

Central Yale ITS has negotiated to bring a secure, mobile payment solution to Yale.  The terms have been finalized with the vendor Clover.  The cost of the device is approximately $900.  If this is something you are interested in, please let FES-IT know.