Student Technology Enhanced Classroom (STEC)

STEC spaces provide technology for both instructors and students.  STECs have all of the features of ITECs as well as the following:

  • Student computer stations with Windows or Macintosh computers
  • One or more printers
  • Some classrooms offer individual student stations, while others offer collaborative student stations

Classroom Control Software

Classroom Control Setup Icon

STEC podiums with Windows PCs have a custom application called Classroom Control which provides a mechanism for lecturers to control student machines in STEC rooms. From the podium computer, the instructor may:

  • See a map of the classroom showing who is logged onto each computer
  • View or save a class list of all the users currently logged on
  • “Lock” all computers or a specific computer so students can’t “play” while their attention is desired at the podium
  • “Unlock” all computers or a specific computer when ready for students to work
  • Send messages to all computers or a single computer
  • Command computers to and from eTesting Mode to allow exam delivery from the Penn State Learning Management System

If you experience problems with the software, please Contact the Tech Classroom Group.

Using the Classroom Control Application

  1. Log into the podium Windows computer.
  2. Start the Classroom Setup program by double-clicking on the Lion Tamer icon on the Desktop.

Notes on running Classroom Control

  • The first launch after you log on may take a few seconds.
  • A “Wake On LAN” packet is broadcast to all computers in the room. This should wake them all up if they are asleep
  • An attempt to contact every computer is made until a reply is received; this is repeated every 10 seconds for about 3 minutes. Computers not replying after a minute or so may be turned off completely or broken. You may wish to try powering these machines on manually.
  • Broken computers can be ignored; right click the box and in the pop-up window check “Exclude computer from commands”
  • Most controls have “tool tips”—place the mouse over a button or other control and wait a second for a pop-up text with some explanation what it does.
  • The tool tip for an individual computer will show the logged-on user’s name.
  • Click an individual computer for a dialog window to open up to control that one computer.
  • Before locking computers, explain to your students what you are doing and why. It may spare them some confusion.
  • Even if you don’t to use Classroom Control, you might wish to launch the program anyway. It wakes up all student computers and prevents them from going back to sleep. Logging on will be faster for your students.
  • If you have all students log on, you can use the Class List function (under the File menu) to make an attendance list.

Contacting Computers

When the program is started a WOL (Wake On LAN) packet is broadcasted for each one to wake up any that are in standby, and then all the computers are contacted and asked to send information to Classroom Control when someone logs on or off. This is repeated until an answer is received. Computers that are turned off or not working will remain the “no answer” color and won’t have a userid listed or “(free)”. If these are turned on or rebooted manually the program will connect to them automatically.

While Classroom Control is running the computers in the classroom should stay “awake” even when not in use. Instructors may wish to run the program just to wake up all the computers and keep them awake as students arrive, even if other features are not used.

Controlling All Computers

To send a command to all the student computers, select one of the commands (e.g., Lock Screens, Unlock Screens, Send Message), and click the [Send Cmd] button. A computer (perhaps one being used by a TA), can be excluded from commands sent to all by clicking on that computer and checking the “Exclude computer from commands sent to all” check box.

Controlling Individual Computers

Click on a computer “label” to open a window that sends commands to just that computer.  Everything except the IP address will be filled in. If someone is logged in, their userid and name will be displayed. Some buttons may not be visible if a particular function is not allowed. Like the main window, if you mouse-over a button or text box a tool tip will pop up with more information.

Locking and Unlocking

“Locking” causes a window to be opened on the student computer that prevents other programs from being used. A message is displayed in the middle of the screen; the default message is “Your Attention is Requested by the Instructor”, but you may change this. A timer will automatically remove the locking screen (in case something goes wrong with the system). The default timeout is 5 minutes, but you may change that.

  • To lock all computers: Click the “Lock Screens” radio button, change the text message and time out if you wish, and click the [Send Cmd] button.
  • To unlock all computers: Click the “Unlock Screens” radio button and then the [Send Cmd] button to unlock all screens before the automatic timeout.
  • To lock one computer: Click on the computer’s label, and click the [Lock] button in the pop-up window.
  • To unlock one computer: This advanced exercise is left to the reader to figure out.

Some notes on locking and unlocking machines:

  • You should unlock all before the students need to log off. While ctrl-atl-del still works, and a user can log off while the “lock screen” is up, if an application is open and it prompts the user to save data, the logoff process won’t complete.
  • When the lock command is sent a timer is started on the Classroom Setup program, and a count down will appear on the window just below the frame with the command options. This will be an approximate time the lock will time out on the student computers. You might keep an eye on that in case you want to renew the lock.
  • A second lock command can be sent to extend the lock timeout before the screens automatically unlock.

Sending A Message

You can send text to all computers or a single computer that pops up in a window. Students have to press a [Close] button to get rid of it.  This window will not be seen when the computer is in “eTesting” mode because pop-up windows can’t be seen when the ANGEL Secure Browser is running.

Forced Logoff

A user can be forced off by clicking on the computer label and then clicking the [Logoff] button. They will get a warning message that stays up for the number of seconds (the default is 60, but you can change that), giving them time to save documents. Use “-1” to force the user off without a warning dialog, which would be rude.

  • This might be useful for a hung system or for expelling an intruder.
  • There is no ability to log off everyone.
  • The logoff button works for computers in “eTesting” mode, but the warning window cannot be displayed, so you must enter “-1” for the “Warning message duration”. To do this easily double-click the “60” to highlight all the text and type “-1”. Note also that the PSU Alerts program needs to be running to force the user off, and that does not run at the start of a logon to a computer in eTesting mode (so logon is faster). You will have to wait a minute or so before it is started before the user can be forced off.

Reboot

A individual computer can be rebooted by clicking on the computer label and then clicking the [Reboot] button. If someone is logged on the computer will wait until they log off before rebooting.  There is no ability to reboot every computer.

Class List

Pick “Class List” from the File menu to get a pop-up window with a comma-delimited list of logged on users (last name, first name, userid). The text is automatically copied to the clipboard and can be pasted into Excel or other applications, or the information can be saved as a file by clicking the obviously-lableled button.