When a Pennsylvania college decided to add a new rehabilitation sciences department, it planned to open a brand-new, 45,000-plus-square-foot learning center to house the programs the department comprised – but creating the space was just one part of the undertaking. The school also needed be able to teach these physical sciences in a way that would allow students to master them: through a hands-on approach and cutting-edge audio/visual aids.
The college’s end goal was an experiential learning facility that would double as a practicing sports medicine and rehabilitation space where students and professionals work side by side. To create this environment, Moravian began examining options for the types of technology that would work best from both pedagogical and budgetary perspectives.
James Scifers, chair of Moravian’s rehabilitation sciences department and program director for its athletic training program, who also was involved in the original design of the building, provided the important perspective of a faculty member/instructor who would be using the displays to teach.
Scifers said there were several factors that went into the display selection process: Considerations that were both physical – the practical limitations of the building and the budget – and aspirational – the ways the school wanted to use technology to teach its students – had to be taken into account.
“We wanted to have a larger size display in the lab to allow students to easily view what’s being presented, and a high-resolution screen, so students can see the finer detail in imaging like MRIs and radiographs,” Scifers said. “The third piece was affordability. [We asked], how can we accomplish the first two goals at an affordable price point?”
For the numerous digital displays the college planned to incorporate into the labs and classrooms, Advanced AV recommended a manufacturer already used in other classrooms and conference spaces on campus: NEC Display Solutions – specifically its E Series displays.
Morgan also noted that the E Series’ serial control would ensure instructors could easily and comfortably operate the displays.
The Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Center consists of several specialized labs that teach specific skills to students in various programs, enabling grad students to become healthcare practitioners.
“They’re learning lots of hands-on activities, so we’re using technology, particularly the screens, to deliver content to students via video, PowerPoint, and high-res imaging like diagnostic exams, so they can identify pathology and understand how they might intervene when patients have different pathologies,” Scifers said.
The 45,000-plus-square-foot facility opened in March 2016 and now houses Moravian College’s brand-new Master of Science in Athletic Training program as well as St. Luke’s University Health Network, and will be the home of future occupational therapy and physical therapy doctorate programs as well as a Master of Science program in Speech Pathology.
“It’s a new curriculum, a new venture for Moravian College and a new shining point on campus,” Morgan said. “There’s been a lot of interest and a lot of satisfaction with how it’s turned out – not just with the facility, but also with the technology.”
Students and faculty echo these sentiments, with Scifers calling the space “a fantastic environment to teach and learn in.”
“From a faculty standpoint, it’s nice to have access to technology that lets us expand our teaching,” Scifers said. “Without these large, high-res monitors, we would be limited in the ways content could be delivered. We now can utilize video, see subtle detail in diagnostic imaging, and film what’s happening in the lab and then use it as immediate feedback for students’ learning. Without the NEC monitors, it wouldn’t be impossible, but it would be much more difficult to deliver that level of education.”