You’ve probably heard about these so-called “distributed campuses,” but you may have heard them referred to as “regional” or “branch” campuses and have probably been confused about the difference. Your confusion makes perfect sense, as all three of these terms sound like the same thing, but they seem to have different names. Let’s make sure that you know the difference: there is none. The name has been changed a few times so that people aren’t sure what to officially call them, but I’m here to tell you that the official name is “distributed campuses.”
Let’s go through each of the primary USF distributed campus. There are obviously the Lone Mountain Campus which is where the ITS Department is located and staffed, and Main Campus where most student activities take place. Additionally, there are five campuses supported by ITS on a rotating schedule: Pleasanton, San Jose, Santa Rosa, Sacramento and Presidio. The newest addition is the Downtown campus which has one full-time ITS staff member, Kenji Okamoto. It’s important to keep in mind the distributed campuses aren’t nearly the size of Main Campus. Distributed campus students are part time, mostly attending night classes. This means that those sites need less technical support. Pleasanton, San Jose, Santa Rosa and Sacramento only have one ITS staff member who visits each campus once a week. Gilbert Lee, campus support liaison, visits one campus every Wednesday and fixes any problems they might have. (Each campus is visited once a month.) Gilbert Lee ensures that all of the computers in the classrooms and libraries are up-to-date, and that projectors are good to go for the next month. Should a “technical emergency” arise, Lee uses a remote session to gain access to the computer in question, often fixing the problem from his office on Lone Mountain.
At the Downtown Campus, Kenji Okamoto works fulltime as a support technician and is constantly available for support. Okamoto is a one-stop-shop taking care of all the various technical problems that arise on the Downtown Campus whereas on Main Campus, ITS has different divisions that specialize in different branches of technology.
The distributed campuses are each a little different. A consistent similarity between the recently relocated campuses is the installation of equipment: a mounted projector, speakers, a DVD/VCR player, and an LCD screen or a white pull-down screen. Our Downtown Campus differs in as much as it has wireless access points that are strategically placed, built-in computers, and lecture capture recording in all five classrooms. Main Campus too has all of these amenities.
Pleasanton and San Jose have presentation classrooms that can be dual-use as either a lecture-style classroom or a McLaren Conference Center style events space. These campuses don’t have the built-in computers; rather teachers bring in their own laptops for connecting to the projectors. Other than that, distributed campuses are the same as Main Campus.
Santa Rosa and Sacramento are scheduled for AV system upgrades which will be scheduled as their lease expires and when they move to a new location.
A lesser known fact, the distributed campuses tend to move around relatively frequently. Not the actual buildings obviously, but when the lease is up, administrators find an improved location for the distributed campuses, closer to the mass transit systems that students are likely to use. Along with the move, a campus must bring the previously used technology equipment. As with Pleasanton, San Jose, Santa Rosa and Sacramento campuses, Gilbert Lee assists with moves so as to learn about the new wiring in order to fix any future problems.
In case you are wondering what there is at the Downtown Campus, there are five classrooms, one seminar room, one conference room, 12 group study rooms, one TelePresence room, and between 20 and 30 people who work there full time.
If you are curious about TelePresence or lecture capture, they will be covered in the next week or two. For more information on these Distributed Campuses, feel free to visit their website.