A Conversation With April Wolford, Manager of Classroom and Technology Support Services (CTSS)

Can you give us a brief summary of your background and how you came to Extension?

I have worked in the field of educational technology for more than 25 years at colleges and universities, such as Antioch College, Sinclair Community College, Ohlone College and now UC Berkeley Extension. My first IT career opportunity was a project in 1992 to design and build an academic computer lab and program to support all students, including those with disabilities. That project was extremely rewarding because I felt like I was making a big difference in the academic lives of our students. I have been striving to do that ever since.

I started managing Classroom and Technology Support Services at UC Berkeley Extension in 2009. At that time, we had LCD projectors for only 50 percent of our classrooms. We have come a long way from those days, and technology has changed considerably in the past nine years. We are now installing large LEDs or TVs as standard in our classrooms. Streaming video and ever-expanding content available on the Internet has changed the way teachers bring content into the classroom.

Can you tell me a little bit about the Classroom and Technology Support Services team?

My role is the Manager for the Classroom and Technology Support Services team. My team provides support for all classroom-based courses for all Extension centers, including the San Francisco Center, the Belmont Center and two centers in Berkeley: the Golden Bear Center and American Baptist Seminary West.

The most common services we provide are:

  • technical support
  • special furniture arrangements (such as room setups)
  • stocking of classroom supplies
  • opening/closing the academic centers
  • delivering course materials

I manage an incredible team of 19 who provide technical and customer service for all classroom-based courses across all of our academic centers. Extension courses are scheduled seven days a week, and CTSS staff are there to support them.

What do you enjoy most about supporting Extension instructors?

My favorite part about supporting our instructors, and working in an academic environment in general, is feeling like I am contributing to the teaching and learning process in a meaningful way. The idea of putting powerful tools in the hands of our talented instructors brings a bigger purpose to my work and great satisfaction.

What kind of technology is standard in all Extension classrooms?

Classrooms at our four academic centers all have the following equipment:

  • Large-screen TV or projector
  • CD/DVD player
  • Windows 10 PC
  • Speakers
  • Connection for laptop
  • Wireless networks

If you wish to use an older technology such as a VCR, 35mm slide projector or transparency overhead in your course, please submit a CTSS request form; you will need to login with your CalNet ID. We are moving away from supporting these older technologies and want to assist instructors in finding a way to replace or convert the content from these older mediums.

What types of technology should instructors request in advance and how should they request it?

Instructors can request a variety of equipment listed below by submitting a CTSS request form; you will need to login with your CalNet credentials:


  • Document camera: IPEVO(SD/HD @ SFC), Elmo
  • PowerPoint remote/clicker
  • VGA adapters
  • HDMI adapters (Mini port and USB-C)
  • Voice amplification*: Personal P.A. systems, professional microphone systems, PC microphones
  • Conference phone*: select rooms
  • Conference microphone*
  • Laptop ready: power strips for student laptops
  • Video camera, tripod: Flip Video, Canon
  • Webcam for video conferences
  • 35mm slide projector*
  • Overhead projector/transparency projector
  • VCR/DVD combo player
  • Blu-ray player
  • Voice recorder*
  • Boombox (CD, cassette tape, AM/FM radio)
  • EXDSS disability-assist equipment (requested only by EXDSS program)

Classroom Equipment

  • Mobile whiteboard*
  • Tabletop podium*
  • Flip-chart easel and paper

*Availability is limited for these items, so please request them early.

What kind of software resources and support does your team provide?

The CTSS team provides support for existing software applications and in purchasing new software.

In the classrooms, we support general applications for the Mac and Windows operating systems, such as MS Office applications (MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint) and program-specific applications. The following applications are also available for use in Extension courses at no cost: AutoDesk (AutoCAD, Revit, NavisWorks and Maya), Adobe Creative Cloud (Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, InDesign, Adobe Acrobat Pro DC), SQL and several Web browsers.

We also have software that academic departments have purchased. If other instructors want to use the software, a cost-sharing approach can often be used. The software supported in our labs that require fees include SAS statistical software, SketchUp and Rhino.

The University also provides instructors and staff with personal copies of several software packages at no cost. These licenses must be renewed every one to two years. The program includes MS Office suite and the Adobe Creative Cloud applications. Details about the program and instructions for downloading your personal copies can be found at https://software.berkeley.edu/.

I hear that new and current instructors can schedule a one-on-one Classroom Technology Overview with a member of your team. Can you tell us more about what is covered and how instructors can schedule an overview?

Yes, that is correct. For the past several years, we have offered classroom technology overviews for our instructors. To schedule this one-on-one training, please submit a CTSS request form (you will need to login with your CalNet credentials). There is a checkbox available to request a Classroom Technology Overview on page 2 of the form.

When my team receives the request, they will reach out to the instructor and schedule a convenient time. The overview typically takes 30 minutes and covers the following topics:

Using the standard classroom personal computer:

  • Connecting a laptop to the projector, the LCD TV or the speaker
  • Connecting a laptop to the wireless network
  • Connecting an iPod, tablet or MP3 to the projector or speaker
  • Using the DVD or VCRh player
  • Using the remote controls

How to get Technical Support: Call CTSS Help Line at (510) 643-4433 from any location during class.

What kinds of new classroom technology and resources are available that you’d like to share with our instructors?

There are some exciting new technology improvements ahead for the Golden Bear Center. We will be replacing the ceiling-mounted projectors in our classrooms with large LEDs, similar to the TVs at the San Francisco Center. We are planning the project now so look for these improvements in a few months.

I am also working to identify resources for converting or replacing content from older formats such as 35mm slides, Scantron forms and VHS cassettes. If you have content in these formats that you want to continue using, please contact me as soon as possible so we can explore the options. Some of our instructors use Scantron-style answer sheets for tests and quizzes. If you prefer this format for your tests, check out Quick Key’s mobile grading app. They have a free version that grades Scantron style forms at https://get.quickkeyapp.com/.

The Moffit Library on campus has quite a few resources for Extension instructors. For example, they have a small lab where instructors can convert VHS to DVD formats. Copyright laws apply, but you can talk with the staff there to determine if your content can be converted. They also have an online database with a video library of academic titles. Use your CalNet credentials to access these resources at http://oskicat.berkeley.edu/.

Are there other types of support or resources you provide at the centers?

There are a few resources I would like to highlight.

The Belmont, Golden Bear and San Francisco Centers all have Instructor Resource Rooms that are available for instructors to prepare for classes. The Resource Rooms at the San Francisco and Golden Bear Centers have a Windows-based PC in the room for instructors to check email or do other work. If you need to use a computer at our Belmont Center, just ask at the Service Desk. There is a guest office there that instructors can use for computer-based work.

Please sign in when you use the resource rooms so we get a sense of how often they are being used.

Is there anything else you’d like our instructors to know about your services?

Thank you for the opportunity to participate in the instructor newsletter. It is an exciting project and a great way to “get the word out” about the services and equipment available to our instructors for classroom-based courses.

Instructors, please feel free to contact me at any time with questions or suggestions for improving the technology and support services that are offered by my team.

April Wolford
Manager, Classroom Technology and Support Services
Information Systems
(510) 642-9672