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Meet Your Colleagues: AV & Technology Services, UIT Digital Learning Technologies

L-R: Daniel Parker, Brett Puzey, Dylan Mueller, Jake Dahdah, and Adam Stewart

L-R: Daniel Parker, Brett Puzey, Dylan Mueller, Jake Dahdah, and Adam Stewart

The last cohort of millennial undergraduates are out of the college classroom and Generation Z is in. New ways of learning and hybrid classrooms have created a paradigm shift on college campuses, and audiovisual (AV) technology is pushing that change forward.

“Students come here with certain expectations around technology, and we have to make sure they have the tools they need to succeed,” said Adam Stewart, associate director for AV & Technology Services in UIT Digital Learning Technologies (DLT).

Brett Puzey, AV & Technology Services manager, agreed, adding, “Teaching doesn’t happen if we don’t do our jobs and do them well.”

Their team, which relocated recently from the College of Social and Behavioral Science to Eccles Broadcast Center, installs and maintains projectors, large flat-panel monitors, speakers, screens, video conferencing equipment, collaboration spaces, and control panels that manage technology components used in general use classrooms, computer labs, seminar/conference rooms, and auditoriums in 34 University of Utah buildings. Installations are handled by AV Installation Technicians Daniel Parker and the newest hire, Dylan Mueller, who said he’s “excited to contribute” to the team. These technologies enable in-person instruction, hybrid modalities, and remote presenters and participants.

“We have to make sure [students] have the tools they need to succeed.

Adam Stewart, associate director for AV & Technology Services

DLT-managed AV equipment is supported through a combination of IT funds and student computing fees  overseen by the U’s Teaching & Learning Portfolio and allocated each year for the specific purpose of installing, refurbishing, and upgrading AV teaching technologies.

In addition, AV Solutions Designer Jake Dahdah consults with faculty, staff, departments, and colleges and then designs technology components for specific learning spaces. After a request is approved, the team manages the installation process and coordinates service groups and vendors, as needed.

“Technology-wise, a lot of what influences what we select and install stems from talking to the end users — our faculty — finding out what they want to see in a classroom when they teach,” Dahdah said. “We interview instructors all the time, and ask them, ‘How are you going to use this room?’ … Collectively, we have a lot of knowledge about the industry and follow new technologies in the market, and we get ideas at conferences where learning technologies are showcased and decide what fits in with our work culture, teaching styles, and budgets.”

Parker said he enjoys “knowing that what I do makes it possible for professors to teach, students to learn, and meetings to take place.” Dahdah agreed, adding, “It’s cool to come into work knowing your No. 1 purpose is to enable faculty to use technology and educate thousands of students. In that way, we’re directly contributing to educating the next generation of students.”

Stewart’s team provides U faculty with an abundance of AV equipment and services to meet disparate learning styles, including:

  • Interactive whiteboards, including Zoom Whiteboards that can be saved, shared, and worked on inside and outside of Zoom meetings.
  • Airmedia systems for wireless presentations.
  • Simple Video Studio (formerly One Button Studio) allows faculty and staff to create quick, high-quality do-it-yourself videos for online courses, training, and seminars.
  • Video capture classroom systems offer students the flexibility to revisit complex topics, aiding in better comprehension. The system allows users to connect laptops to an installed camera and mic through a USB interface; once connected, they can record or videoconference using Kaltura Capture or Zoom software on their laptops.
  • A Zoom-native video conferencing classroom, which Stewart said is being pilot tested at the library.
Zoom interactive whiteboard (image courtesy of Zoom)

Zoom interactive whiteboard (image courtesy of Zoom)

Any U college, department, or organization that wishes to install AV equipment they control and schedule independently, and is not considered general use/access by the campus, must finance the equipment themselves, Puzey said, though DLT is available to consult, design, and leverage its installation expertise and purchasing discounts. For more information, please complete this AV installation request form.

The AV & Technology Services team, Puzey said, is extremely competent and cohesive.

“Everyone here is easy to work with and get along with. If there’s an issue, everybody talks it out, which makes it easy on me,” he said. “The worst part of being a manager is dealing with interpersonal issues, and in that respect, it’s been a nice couple of years because we all get along so well. Thanks for that, you guys.”

Dahdah agreed, adding, “I think we’ve hit a sweet spot where we all work autonomously but also back each other up if one of us gets stumped.”

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Last Updated: 1/31/24