Thursday, September 7, 2000
Since the days of blue-tinted mimeographs and grease-pencils on
overhead slides, teachers have struggled to get the attention of all their
students at once. This challenge has gotten even tougher since many universities
are offering Internet-enabled workstations on each desk, especially for business
and engineering courses. So instead of shooting spitballs, the infamous back row
can now surreptitiously surf the Web.
Now professors have a powerful new tool-LinkNet II, from the
audio/video networking company Applied Computer Systems (ACS, http://www.acs-linksystems.com).
Recently installed in the Farmer School of Business Administration
at the 21,000-student Miami University in Oxford, OH, the product allows an
instructor to monitor and control each student's workstation from a single
console. The teacher can scan students' screens to intervene and demonstrate a
lesson, to proctor an exam, or to freeze the screen to get the full classroom's
attention. The system is driven by hardware, not software, so it will run on any
platform. And it is available with a touch-screen option, to minimize training
time for teachers.