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The End of VHS in the Classroom
Author: Izabella Warner - Office of Information Technology
Posted: February 14, 2014

Do you remember walkmans and cassingles? Did you have an Apple IIe?  The IIe was manufactured and sold for nearly 11 years with relatively few changes. Could you imagine if that happened today--if the iPhone, which was first released in 2007, was still around today with the same features and capabilities? We live in an age where technological advances drive the release and uptake of new devices at an unprecedented speed. As new technology arrives, it transforms the way we operate and forces us to adapt new ways of doing things.  Our ability to support outdated systems diminishes as we move forward and embrace technological advances.

The end of an era

In 2011, Office of Information Technology (OIT) announced that we had reached an end of an era when it came to our ability to support VHS players in classrooms across the campus. Since that time, OIT has not installed VCRs in new classrooms and has phased out VCRs in general pool classrooms during equipment upgrades. The availability of VCRs for campus rental has also slowly decreased, as equipment degraded over time.

At the beginning of this term, we have had a number of requests from faculty asking us to support VHS in the classrooms.  To accommodate this need we have placed a VCR/DVD player in Cramer Hall 101 and will support this facility till the end of the Winter 2014 term only. If you have any remaining VHS tapes with instructional content, now is the time to transfer them to newer formats. VHS tapes stopped being produced in 2008 and the typical VHS life expectancy is 10 years, which means we are nearing the end of even your newest tape's lifespan.

Alternative sources of content

If you do find that your educational materials reside on VHS, the first and easiest option for you is to see if you can find your content online. You could search for it on YouTube or another video streaming site. Educause maintains a great list of legal sources of online content you might find useful in locating content. If your content is not available to stream online, you could try finding a DVD of it avilable for purchase. 

Another great place to look for video content is the PSU Library.  You can search for streaming media content via the:

Should you find that your material is not available online, and copyright is not an issue, you can have your tapes transferred to DVD at the Integrated Digital Support Center (IDSC) in the Broadway Housing Building. They have a VHS to DVD direct dubbing station, as well as two video workstations that can do image captures and convert the video to several digital formats.  OIT’s Instructional Technology Services team  also offers a variety of video production services and will work with you to transfer VHS over to a range of digital formats for free. You can contact vps@pdx.edu for more information.

Advancements in technology are moving faster than ever. OIT is focused on the challenge of helping you to support your classes with new technology, while maintaining existing technology as long as possible.  Although support for VHS is coming to an end on campus, there are a number of options available to transfer your content to updated formats or find it from more readily available digital sources.  

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Photo attribution: [August Allen]