Student-facing cameras installed in 50 classrooms, Pitt IT says


In preparation for the new semester, Pitt IT has installed 50 new student-facing cameras in Pitt classrooms — and Flex@Pitt will continue as a faculty tool past the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, Pitt IT officials told the latest Senate Computing and Information Technology Committee meeting on Jan. 12.

“We took this action as a result of direct feedback from faculty members teaching in those classrooms last semester,” said Mark Henderson, chief information officer.

And iPads and other supplemental equipment will be available again from the University Center for Teaching and Learning, said Adam Hobaugh, Pitt IT's deputy CIO, and the center has created several new trainings for use of Flex@Pitt equipment. The center has also added more audiovisual equipment to other classrooms, he said: “It was the nontraditional learning spaces where most of the concerns came from,” Hobaugh said.

Asked by a committee member whether all of the new technology installed since last March would remain in these classroom after the pandemic, so that students might have new classroom attendance options, including joining classes that would be otherwise over-enrolled, Hobaugh answered, “Yes, absolutely.”

He said his department personnel have been talking to faculty members about post-COVID classroom needs and have been identifying particular rooms that can most easily be fitted with such equipment, and what rooms need it the most. “Pitt IT will continue to fully support this,” he said.

In addition, the effort to get Pitt’s 20,000 Box accounts transferred to OneDrive or other alternatives is under way, Hobaugh reported. An automated test of such “migration” was successful on Jan. 9 and 10, he said.

Pitt IT plans to create a one-page handout about the Box features that work in OneDrive, he said; most who use Box now will be able to accomplish the transfer themselves, he said.

“Most of this is going to be easy — it’s just understanding your options,” he said. Box will migrate permissions, the Box structure and, of course, the files to OneDrive, but current sharing of files for collaborations will have to be set up afresh, he said: “There is no tool out there that does that.”

Henderson also announced that EduRoam software has now gone live in all UPMC facilities to ease the use of the UPMC network, coupled with Pitt’s network, for Pitt’s faculty and staff who also work for UPMC and in their buildings. He said that EduRoam should eventually help Pitt employees use the Pitt network up and down the Fifth Avenue corridor, east to the Carnegie Museums and, at its greatest extent, west to Duquesne University and UPMC Mercy Hospital.

Marty Levine is a staff writer for the University Times. Reach him at or 412-758-4859.


Have a story idea or news to share? Share it with the University Times.

Follow the University Times on Twitter and Facebook.