Puddle cruiser

puddle cyclist

That was then ... and we liked then. An ISU student used his bike Wednesday afternoon to stay above the puddles of melting snow on the west side of campus. A return to February-like weather was forecasted for Thursday. Photo by Bob Elbert.

Competition is keen for lecture-capture classrooms

Do you teach a course that requires your lectures to be recorded (or "captured") for online students?

Do you tend to wait until one semester is all but over before thinking about the next one?

The team tasked with making sure lectures are captured encourages you to look a little further down the road. Planning ahead – and sharing your plans – means faculty who need to be in a capture-equipped classroom are assigned to one, with minimal room reassignments for their teaching colleagues across the university.

"We moved almost 30 classes for spring semester to get faculty into capture rooms," said Katie Baumgarn, who leads the group that schedules Iowa State's 214 general university classrooms. "That's not good for anyone, especially the faculty who have to move."

Growing student enrollment, diverse course offerings and faculty room requests already make classroom scheduling a tight business at Iowa State. Throw in the lecture-capture request and the job gets even harder. In effect, it's like scheduling a lab class, Baumgarn said, because of the equipment required for a lecture-capture course.

About 24 general university classrooms are equipped with lecture-capture systems, and another 20 have the infrastructure in place to support the hardware as funds become available. Additionally, about 10 classrooms "owned" by departments or colleges are equipped.

As with nearly all classrooms, requests to use capture-equipped rooms outside of prime time – before 9 a.m. and after 3 p.m. – are easier to meet, Baumgarn said.

"Everyone wants to teach at 9:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays," she said. "That's one of those times when there are more classes than rooms."

A semester's notice would be great

"So, when the request is Tuesday-Thursday at 9:30 and they tell you they need to be in a unique room (for lecture capture), things get a little nuts for Katie's team," said ag and biosystems engineering associate professor Tom Brumm, who also leads the Engineering-LAS Online Learning program. "There's a lot more flexibility with where you get to teach if you're not teaching in prime time."

Brumm says summer session requests for lecture capture classrooms should have gone to college representatives in late December. Ideally, fall semester requests were submitted in early January (ASAP is that deadline now), and requests for spring semester 2015 should be shared in early September. Rooms are assigned, by seat capacity and teaching technology, before registration opens for students.

Contact your college rep

The college contacts for lecture capture assistance are:

  • Agriculture and Life Sciences: Gaylen Scofield, CALS distance education, 4-0045
  • Business: Danny Johnson, associate dean for undergraduate programs, 4-0629
  • Design: Marwan Ghandour, associate dean for academic programs, 4-7428
  • Engineering: Amanda Rasmusson, Engineering-LAS Online Learning, 4-1979
  • Human Sciences: Ann Bugler, HS administration, 4-5812
  • Liberal Arts and Sciences: Amanda Rasmusson, Engineering-LAS Online Learning, 4-1979
  • Veterinary Medicine: Claire Andreasen, associate dean for academic and student affairs, 4-3843

Can we share the room assignment?

Brumm also noted that moving more class content online reduces, in some cases, the number of class meetings each week. This creates opportunities for faculty to share a typical room assignment – for example a Tuesday-Thursday rotation when each class meets weekly. While Baumgarn's team is always on the lookout for those opportunities, they may be easier to spot at the department or college level, he said.

Moving to greener pastures

Equine Learning Center

Photo by Bob Elbert.

As residents moved in to the just-opened apartment buildings in Fredericksen Court this semester, the former land tenants were preparing for a move to the southeast edge of campus. Just over a dozen of the university's horses took up residence in the newly constructed Equine Learning Center last week.

The facility will be used primarily for the animal science department's equine teaching program. It is located on the south side of Mortensen Road, west of the Ames/ISU Ice Arena and Hansen Agricultural Student Learning Center.

The 12,700-square-foot facility, which features 23 regular stalls and two isolation stalls, sits on a land parcel that includes about 65 acres of pasture for summer and fall grazing. An office, tack room and breeding lab should be completed by summer.

"When the breeding lab is complete, some of the reproduction classes may meet at the new facility," said horse farm manager Nikki Ferwerda. "Due to its close proximity to the new Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center, horses used in classes can be easily moved from their stalls or the pasture to the new arena for many animal science classes."

Campus darlings

Birth announcements

Photos of the newborns are posted on the ISU Horse Barn's Facebook page. For more information about the equine program, including breeding and purchasing horses at ISU, contact Nikki Ferwerda (4-7669, nikkif@iastate.edu).

The new equine center does not mean the demise of the historic horse barns, which offer 17 stalls, three sheltered pens and five outdoor exercise pens on the north part of campus. Horses will be moved between the two facilities regularly and classes will be held at both locations. And, yes, the foals still will be born in the climate-controlled foaling stalls at the corner of Pammel and Stange roads.

Ferwerda said the university herd currently has an even mix of thoroughbreds and quarter horses, including 20 broodmares, three stallions and 10 yearlings. Three foals have been born so far, with another 16 expected through May.

Leath makes appropriations request

"We try to be very good stewards of your money," President Steven Leath told members of the Iowa Legislature's Education Appropriations Subcommittee last Thursday.

Leath and Rep. Daniel Lundby

President Steven Leath visits with State Rep. Daniel Lundby, Marion, following the subcommittee meeting.

Iowa State's general operating funds request is a 4 percent increase ($6.95 million)  over last year.

In his presentation, Leath also noted that:

  • If approved, the 4 percent increase would allow another tuition freeze, which "has a tremendous impact" for students and their parents
  • Iowa State enrollment grew more than 2,000 students for the current academic year
  • Of the 33,000 students on campus in the fall, 18,000 are resident students

Be green, be there

Iowa Staters who've helped this university make impressive sustainability strides in a few short years, green thumbers who cultivate urban gardens and a best-selling author with an urgent message about how many people Mother Earth can accommodate will be part of the Symposium on Sustainability, Feb. 24-25.

The annual green fest, in its fifth year, is open to the university community.

Online registration

If you're planning to attend any symposium events, register online by 7 p.m., Feb. 23. Remote viewers needn't register.

"Students, faculty and staff are behind the 'gold-certified' sustainable achievements that we celebrate," said sustainability director Merry Rankin. "I encourage all to join us for the afternoon, an hour, an evening, or remotely, and enjoy what they have made possible."

Remote viewing

The Tuesday afternoon (1-5 p.m.) symposium events can be viewed remotely. If you plan to watch online only, there's no need to register. But make sure your computer is set up for Adobe Connect.

Here are some symposium activities. All events will be held in the Memorial Union.

Our last best hope?

Feb. 24, 8 p.m., Great Hall

Author Alan Weisman will share experts' bleak insights about overpopulation in a lecture that carries the same title as his recent book Countdown: Our Last Best Hope for a Future on Earth?

Poster presentations

Feb. 25, 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Sun Room/South Ballroom

Dozens of posters on a variety of topics, including sustainable agriculture, sustainability in art and green student organizations, will be on display.

ISU leaders on successes, challenges

Feb. 25, 1-5 p.m., Sun Room/South Ballroom

Leaders across campus will discuss sustainability successes and challenges in areas such as information technology services, facilities planning and management, residence, transportation, purchasing and student activities. All symposium participants will join in a visioning session (4-4:20 p.m.). Live Green Awards for Excellence in Sustainability will be presented, directly following the visioning session.


Feb. 25, 5-6 p.m., Sun Room/South Ballroom

Awards and sustainability poster session reception.


Feb. 25, 5-8 p.m., Great Hall, South Ballroom, Sun Room

Visitors can take part in green-it-yourself demonstrations on upcycling T-shirts (BYOT, if desired), urban gardening, green transportation and waste diversion. They also can view students' 6-second Vine videos on how to make campus greener, walk the Live Green carpet and collect sustainability giveaways.

Climate preparedness in Iowa

Feb. 25, 6:30 p.m., Sun Room

Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie will discuss "Climate Preparedness and Resilient Cities: What It Means in Iowa." Cownie is a member of a task force that will make recommendations to the White House on preparing at local levels for increasingly frequent extreme weather.

Food collection

Feb. 25, noon-8 p.m., outside Sun Room door

Students will collect food for the student-run, on-campus food pantry (The SHOP). Bring nonperishable items.

Varieties performances are this weekend


The skit, "A Turn in Time," is one of the finalists selected to perform in Varieties this weekend. Submitted photo.

ISU students will show off their talents Feb. 21 and 22 during the 2014 Varieties Sweepstakes.

This year's theme, "Find Your Anthem," will be showcased in two Friday performances (6 and 9 p.m.) and one Saturday show (8 p.m.) in the Memorial Union's Great Hall. All performances will feature the same four 20-minute skits (with original songs and lyrics) and three shorter mini-skits, called vignettes, which feature any type of talent.

An awards program will follow the Saturday performance. The top three teams and vignettes will receive awards. In addition, awards will be given to best actor and actress, best ensemble, best overall plot and more.

The sweepstakes feature the most talented of approximately 400 students who originally auditioned for Varieties in November. Semifinals were held earlier this month. ISU faculty members served as judges throughout the series.

Tickets are $10 ($8 for students and kids 6 to 12; free for kids 5 and under) and available at the Maintenance Shop box office (11 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday) or through midwestix.com. Prices increase $2 per ticket the day of the show.