Fall 2021 ASG News

Volume 28, Number 2

Center for Teaching Initiatives | Information Technology Services | John M. Lilley Library | Learning Resource Center

Center For Teaching Initiatives

Office Hours

CTEI will host on-site office hours at the end of the fall semester. Stop by for a cookie and chat about anything, whether it is about setting up a Canvas exam, copying a Canvas course for spring, challenges in your classes, or ideas for a project.

Here is the schedule:

  • Dec. 3 (Friday) in Burke 237, 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
  • Dec. 6 (Monday) in Library 201, 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
  • Dec. 7 (Tuesday) in AMIC 236, 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

Information Technology Services

VAR Edu:  Immersive Learning

VAR Edu is a new, immersive learning space for students, faculty, and the University community to engage with Virtual and Augmented Reality (VAR) technology. This space will house a large number of VR headsets (provided by the VAR Lab, the Black School of Business, and BITS) which can be accessed by students to complete coursework or to immerse themselves in the technologies, independent of any particular course.

Currently, Dr. Christopher Shelton (HSS) and Jasper Sachsenmeier (HSS) are working closely with BITS and other faculty to set up this space, located on the second floor of Fasenmyer. BITS has been instrumental in building the infrastructure required for this ground-breaking endeavor.

This dedicated immersive learning space will be among the first such facilities of its kind within the Penn State system. During the spring semester, VAR Lab plans to work with faculty from across Behrend schools and programs (e.g., Business, Nursing, Engineering, Psychology) to create pilot tests that demonstrate how this technology could be integrated into a wide range of course curriculum and to illustrate how it can enhance the learning environment of all students at Behrend, regardless of their major. To learn more about VAR at Behrend, visit the Virtual/Augmented Reality Lab.

IT Help Available 24/7

Just a reminder…  Local Behrend IT support is typically available Monday - Thursday from 8:00 AM - 9:00 PM; Fridays, 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM; Saturdays, noon - 6:00 PM; and Sundays, noon - 8:00 PM.  

Outside of these hours, calls to the Hammermill Service Desk (814-217-4357) are automatically transferred to the University Park IT Help Desk where consultants are on-duty 24/7.   If an issue can’t be resolved by the University Park IT Help Desk, they will record the problem in an IT ticket and Behrend IT staff will respond on the next business day.  

On and OffBoarding Employees for IT Services

There is so much to do when an employee is newly hired or leaving the University, including items related to IT.  To help schools and departments with the IT side of things, BITS compiled information, links, and other helpful tips to support these processes.  We encourage you to bookmark the Onboarding and Offboarding pages for future reference.

New Video Series:  Bits and Tips

BITS has launched the Bits and Tips video series.  It’s an opportunity to learn a bit more about an application, such as Office 365 (Outlook, Teams, etc.).  Currently, the videos provide step-by-step instructions on how to accomplish a specific task for an application.  The recordings are designed to be brief so you can quickly learn what you need to know.

If you have a suggestion for a future episode of Bits and Tips, please complete the one-question survey, Suggestions for Topics.  Your input will be much appreciated as we continue to add new topics and make improvements along the way.

New WebLabs

During the pandemic/hybrid learning period, instructional lab systems were used for remote access via WebLabs.  With the return to in-person instruction, systems in the instructional labs have been reestablished as in-person systems.

However, two new WebLabs farms (i.e. a collection of computer systems) were created to allow for the continuation of WebLabs services at Behrend.  The WebLabs farms allow faculty and students to remotely access a variety of instructional environments and software.

IT Upgrades

Lab Upgrades

  • New Dell Precision 3450 computers have been installed in Burke 011, Burke 014, Burke 111, Burke 176, Hammermill 139, and Library 6.  Monitors were upgraded in Burke 11, 14, 111 and the Library 201 labs.

A/V Upgrades

  • New technology has been installed in the OBS 126 classroom.  This includes a 75" LED TV, 10x zoom Huddle camera, a Mersive Solstice unit for wireless display connectivity, and a lab PC.
  • The Reed 117 auditorium projector has been replaced. The former projector used a 5,000-lumen bulb-driven unit.  The new projector uses a 9,000-lumen laser unit which provides a much bright and sharper image.
  • New projectors were installed in the Kochel 57, Kochel 77, Library 201, OBS hallway, Nick Bio labs, Nick 156, and Witkowski 109.  In most cases, the projectors were not integrated into the existing podium control system due to cost concerns.  Users of these spaces should look for the Panasonic remote to turn the projectors on.
  • The audio-visual and video conferencing capabilities have been upgraded in the Burke 236 conference room.  The room has been spun around 180 degrees, with attendees now entering the rear of the room.  A large, traditional screen is located on the front wall. The rear wall, where the rear projection screen was, now features a 75" TV. 
    This new arrangement allows the room's seating to be configured in a variety of ways without anyone having a poor viewing angle.  And the most impressive upgrades in this space are the new videoconference pan/tilt/zoom cameras and the ceiling-mounted microphone array.  The high-definition cameras and the high-gain microphones allow all occupants to participate in videoconference sessions clearly, loudly and seamlessly.  

John M. Lilley Library

One Button Studio

The One Button Studio on the ground floor of the library has been upgraded to include these features:

  • Direct video upload to Kaltura
  • iPad control & chalkboard mode
  • Studio stability
  • Multi-video recording sessions

2nd Annual Bake-Off

The entry deadline has passed, but the judging hasn’t yet taken place for the library’s 2nd Annual Behrend Bake-Off.  Here are two of this year’s featured recipes from Mary Behrend’s recipe book for your baking pleasure.

Cookies  (Mrs. Coygruse)

  • 2 full cups of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • 1/2 cup of lard
  • 1 egg
  • 1 nutmeg
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1/2 teaspoonful of saleratus
  • 1 teaspoonful of cream tartar
  • a little salt
  • Flour, to mix soft

Ginger Snaps

  • 2 cups of molasses
  • 2 tablespoonfuls of lard
  • 2 teaspoonfuls of soda
  • 2 teaspoonfuls of salt
  • 1 teaspoonfuls of ginger

Boil all together once or twice, add flour, roll very thin.

New Exhibit

On Veteran’s Day, the Lilley Library opened a new exhibit called Bazookas, Boats, and Bravery: Behrend and Hammermill in World War II. Mary Brownell Behrend donated Glenhill Farm to Penn State in 1948, just in time for an influx of students taking advantage of the GI Bill.

Many of the faculty and administrators at that time, such as Lou Balmer also served, as did Irv Kochel, Thomas Turnbull, and Ben Lane. Featured are four servicemen who still live in Erie: alumnus Anthony D’Angelo and Professor Bill Patterson, who taught math from 1954-1990, as well as two Hammermill retirees, Dick Koeck and Dick Donnelly.

The exhibit focuses on the importance of women to the war effort by remembering those who served and highlighting the changing roles of women at Hammermill. The latter included policies that were changed to allow for the employ of married women and for females to work in departments such as the laboratory, which had previously been considered unsuitable for them.

The first woman to work in the lab was Dorothy Rullman Bailey, mother-in-law of Linda Bailey, who retired from Admissions a few years ago, Though the company emphasized the importance of their traditional products (“Paper Wins the War”), they also made plasticized cardboard tubes used with rocket launchers or “bazookas” and supplied some of the assault boats used at Normandy.

Library Participates in Book Leasing Program

Frequent users of the Lilley Library browsing section may have noticed some books sporting red labels. We have recently started a leasing plan with Baker and Taylor. This is a one-year trial which allows us to rent 240 popular books over the course of this fiscal year and we will be able to add 20% of them to the collection permanently.

Learning Resource Center

Welcome Andrea!

Andrea Lutz is new to the Learning Resource Center, though certainly not to the campus. Andrea’s career at Behrend began in 1993 as a group supervisor and finally Assistant Director of the Early Learning Center. In 2007 she moved on to the Susan Hirt Hagen Center for Community Outreach, Research, and Evaluation where she was an Administrative Support Assistant 2 for four years before moving on to Administrative Support Assistant 3 at the School of Science. In her new job as Administrative Support Coordinator, she is in charge of student supervision, guided study groups, general administrative duties, and research data.

Andrea is a Certified Research Administrator and holds a Bachelor of Science in Education from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. She is ready to take on this new challenge. “I have been at Behrend for most of my working, adult life and the best part has been meeting and working with so many wonderful people. I am excited to begin this next chapter in my life working at the LRC.”

Farewell Barb!

Congratulations to Barb Gunnison who retired on September 30th! Barb’s dedication to students and her outgoing personality helped make the LRC a warm and welcoming place. During her 15 years at the Center, Barb was involved in many of the LRC’s new initiatives. Most notably, she coordinated the peer mentoring program for two NSF-STEM scholarship grants and heartily enjoyed fostering the academic and personal growth of the students supported by that grant. We are grateful for her significant contribution to the Center and the College and wish her all the best in her new adventures.