UC San Diego has more than 100 general assignment classrooms and lecture halls. Each of these rooms is outfitted with audiovisual (AV) equipment that enhances learning. This equipment is maintained, supported, and refreshed by members of the Classroom Technology Support team. Kris Formica, Principal Electronics Technician, is part of this expert team.
“We oversee the installation and upgrade of all the technology in all the [general assignment] classrooms and lecture halls on campus,” Kris said. “We’re responsible for making sure they’re operating and functioning at all times.” Accordingly, Kris is involved in the Lecture Hall and Classroom Refresh Project. The project replaces outdated AV equipment in general assignment lecture halls and classrooms with up-to-date equipment. Kris builds the racks that hold new equipment and programs the touchscreen panels added to rooms as part of the refresh project. Kris also uses his skills to perform AV installations for departments, upgrading meeting rooms and other presentation spaces. One notable project that Kris recently worked on was to program the Prebys Music Center’s AV system so it can be controlled by iPads instead of relying solely on the booth controls.
Sometimes AV issues with classroom equipment can be complex. To decrease interruptions during classes, Kris has an audiovisual equipment setup in his office that is identical to the equipment deployed in refreshed classrooms across campus, which allows him to “recreate almost any situation.” Working on these issues remotely allows Kris to troubleshoot problems without interrupting lecture or having to squeeze his work in during the break between classes. He can also swap out a piece of equipment that is not working properly with one from his office so classes can proceed as normal while he fixes the equipment in his office. Kris also uses the AV equipment in his office to test out new ideas without interrupting classroom use.
Kris is an extensive reader of classic literature. He recently read The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger and is currently working his way through Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess and A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole are among his favorite books.
Before coming to UC San Diego, Kris once worked in the kitchen of a comedy club that served dinner to guests before the start of the shows. “It was the East Coast/New York circuit for comedians so we had some huge headliners,” he said. Kris still enjoys cooking even if he no longer does so professionally.
Thank you, Kris, for everything you do to keep the media equipment in UC San Diego’s classrooms and lecture halls in top condition!
ACMS Aces is a series of articles that highlights the dedicated employees of Academic Computing & Media Services at UC San Diego. Keep checking back to find out more about the people behind the magic at ACMS!