Lehigh University
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New classroom announcement system tests well

As part of the university's ongoing emergency preparedness efforts, Library and Technology Services (LTS) conducted a test of the new classroom announcement system on Wednesday, Nov. 12 and Thursday, Nov. 13 and the feedback from the campus community has been quite positive.

“The system works well. The students were receptive to the idea of the emergency broadcast, and it also gave me a chance to remind the class to make sure their cells are registered with the emergency system,” says Dave Anastasio, an earth and environmental science professor who was teaching in Williams Hall 100 on Nov. 12 and Chandler-Ullman 230 on Nov. 13 when the test announcements were broadcast. “In combination (the digital speakerphones in the classrooms along with the LU-Alert text messaging system), I think the system will work well.”

Others agreed with Anastasio’s assessment.

“I heard the test in my Bio 335 class in Room 260 of Maginnes Hall. I was very impressed. It was very easy for me to hear the alert tone and the message,” says Murray Itzkowitz, professor and chair of behavioral ecology.

Over the summer, LTS installed wall-mounted digital speakerphones near the instructor's station in all 160 Registrar classrooms on campus. The classroom announcement system represents a new tool in the university’s multi-tiered approach to emergency communications, which also includes the LU-Alert text messaging system (to sign up, go to a href= http:// www.lehigh.edu/lu-alert >www.lehigh.edu/lu-alert), e-mail, Lehigh’s Emergency Web site and more.

“The new system complements the existing emergency communications tools the university has put in place, and allows us to make time-critical announcements to places where large concentrations of faculty and students spend a lot of time and where they may not have access to their cell phone or the Web,” says Bruce Taggart, vice provost of LTS.

During the mid-November tests, faculty and students heard an “alert tone” followed by a brief test announcement—which was repeated three times.

“The test went very well in the philosophy department's seminar/classroom in our building,” says Donna Wagner, coordinator of the philosophy department. “There were no problems at all.”

To offer further feedback on the system, feel free to contact Lizanne Hurst at lh00@lehigh.edu.

--Bill Doherty

Posted on Thursday, November 20, 2008

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