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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol. 38, No. 6 April 10, 1975

Sharing of Aids

page 4

Sharing of Aids

Anthony Ward, student rep

Teaching Aids Committee

Cartoon of a TV set operating on a man's brain

The Teaching Aids Committee is a group set up ostensibly to provide such items as overhead projectors, slide projectors and tape recorders, along with advising people on the development and acquisition of teaching aids in the university. As it has a small budget, and departments are often interested in purchasing their own equipment, the committee has not had much political clout until recently. Impressive plans for teaching aids, organised centrally, have been implemented at Auckland and Otago, but Victoria has continued with an unco-ordinated approach.

This situation has led to some inefficiency, basically in two areas:
1.Departments may have equipment that they are not using all the time that could be used by other departments but through the lack of coordination (that the committee has gone some way to overcoming) this extra use is not made.
2.As they are not aware of what other departments are doing, different subjects may unnecessarily duplicate equipment that could be shared.

In these cases, the committee sees itself as a co-ordinator rather than wishing to set up a central teaching aids centre, although it has long pushed for a central technician to maintain its own equipment and possibly to look after departments' stuff as well. The debate so far has been essentially low key, largely one suspects because of the low amounts involved -overhead projectors come at around $100, which can be fairly easily met out of department grants. Maintenance and checking has been carried out by department technicians, who often help other departments on an 'ad hoc' basis. More expensive equipment, which is not only suitable for one subject, such as film projectors, is now planned into new lecture theatres (such as LB 3), and the committee has pressed for and sometimes purchased such items for areas without them, normally on a mobile basis to ensure flexibility for users.

The debate now has moved into an entirely new field as far as costs are concerned with the advent of closed-circuit television. Many departments see this as a valuable teaching aid, and some have made arrangements to purchase. When the costs are as high as closed-circuit comes at, the necessity to avoid waste is apparent, yet at the moment the university seems to be charging on regardless.

John Panckhurst, of the Education Department compiled a report last year on CCTV for the committee and many of his findings are very interesting. Out of 28 departments replying to his questionnaire, two owned CCTV and two had equipment on order. Nine said they would buy equipment if they had the money, while 13 said they would use central equipment if it were available.

The Teaching Aids Committee considered the situation at its meeting on Friday 4 April and expressed concern at the way it seemed to have been left out of some of the discussions concerning CCTV. The committee considered various ideas, which can be roughly gauged from the following motion, for consideration at the SRC this week:

Moved Ward/

That VUWSA believes that the purchase of closed circuit television by the university be governed by the following principles:
1.Frequently used equipment should be owned and managed by the department concerned.
2.Infrequently used and technically complex applications, such as editing facilities, should be centralised and supported by staff operating this equipment.
3.Departmental equipment wherever possible should be compatible with, and co-ordinated with, the central facilities.