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St. Lawrence College Distance Learning
Distance Learning is becoming more desirable to today’s generation of technology savvy students. Many educational institutions are facilitating distance education for this reason and simply because it brings long-term cost savings by stretching educational resources and increasing student reach through expanded class sizes beyond the physical barriers of lecture halls. In addition, educational institutions often have multiple campuses which students are required to commute between to attend classes, which increases expenses, lowers learning time and creates hazards.
For St. Lawrence College, as important as it was to meet the growing demand for distance learning opportunities, an uncomplicated experience for both the students and professors was just as important. With campuses in Kingston, Brockville and Cornwall, St. Lawrence College aimed to provide identical learning experiences for their students, regardless of their locations, and contracted Applied Electronics to design and integrate a unique video conferencing solution to facilitate distance learning.
St. Lawrence College’s ultimate goal was to allow its professors to conduct lectures to student audiences located in three lecture theatres simultaneously while controlling each theatre’s presentation system remotely from a single access point on any one of the three campuses. Consistency in system control functionality at the podium in each lecture theatre was of utmost importance.
Achieving this, Applied Electronics designed and integrated a multi-site video conferencing solution that links the College’s 80-seat lecture theatre at the Kingston campus and the 40-seat lecture theatre at each of the Brockville and Cornwall campuses through a 24-port Polycom video conferencing bridge which allows all video conferencing locations (endpoints) to connect on a single call.
Complementing the video conferencing system is an Applied Electronics custom-designed request-to-speak queuing system that allows students from any of the three lecture halls to signal questions into a queue, the Polycom HD video conferencing cameras then automatically zoom in to the student’s pre-programmed seat position before the professor activates the student’s microphone to receive their question.
Each lecture hall is also equipped with a Draper motorized front projection screen, Christie Digital HD projectors, Clockaudio in-desk microphones, Tannoy in-ceiling speakers, JBL wall-mounted loudspeakers, AKG gooseneck podium microphone, a widescreen SMART Podium interactive pen display, Crestron control and automation system, and an Extron switcher.
In addition to their new interactive virtual lecture halls, Applied Electronics integrated a Polycom video conferencing system and codec into a meeting room on each campus to allow distance collaboration among faculty and staff. Each meeting room also features dual 50” Panasonic HD displays, a widescreen SMART Podium interactive pen display, Polycom ceiling microphones, Tannoy in-ceiling speakers, Crestron control system, and Extron switcher.