The ITSS Classroom Team has traditionally provided a VHS and DVD combination player in each general-purpose classroom. Over the past few years, these players have become increasingly difficult to purchase as the industry continues moving toward new formats. Stand-alone VHS players have been out of production since 2008. Sony and other manufacturers have also quit making DVD/VHS combo players more recently and it is inevitable that these players will cease to be available at some point in the near future.
As a result of technology changes, we are beginning to phase out combo players. We have already removed them from computer labs. We think a logical next step is to remove them from classrooms and to create a checkout pool of DVD/VHS combo players that will be available at the Tech Center for instructors who still require that technology. Faculty will have the option to play DVDs through their laptops or through AV checkout laptops or DVD players. They will also be able to play VHS tapes through checkout players as long as we can continue to offer them with a reasonable expectation that these aging players will continue to function.
A longer-term challenge for faculty will be how to replace VHS offerings with a newer digital format alternative. There is not necessarily a clear single solution to this problem. In some cases copyright protection prevents any migration from older VHS resources into any other format. We hope to start a discussion on campus about this problem and possible solutions moving forward. To that end we will be highlighting this issue on a forthcoming faculty survey about classroom technology. Additionally, we welcome all comments. Please email Jason Davis (firstname.lastname@example.org).