Recognized as one of America’s best colleges, Azusa Pacific University continues to earn their reputation in scholastic excellence by offering 68 bachelor’s degrees, 48 master’s degrees, 18 certificates, 10 credentials, and 9 doctoral programs at the university’s main campus in Azusa, seven regional locations, and online. By providing students a variety of campus locations and an online curriculum, APU is able to expand and offer education to students across the country and abroad.
But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Azusa Pacific University had to make a swift transition to online learning and needed to quickly outfit 217 classrooms across seven campus locations with video conferencing in time for the Fall 2020 semester.
It was very important that APU found an audio solution that could provide remote students with the best online learning experience while at the same time staying within budget and allowing their team to install it themselves.
However, during their extensive research and testing process, most other solutions required a more complex installation and did not meet quality and coverage standards.
“With a team of two full-time people, six part-time student employees, and four part-time IT department employees, we needed a solution that we could install ourselves with no CTS certifications or formal technical installation training needed.”
The STEM Audio solution
Lord and his team needed a solution that would fit in any room and could be used as a USB conferencing device to work with their existing classroom setup.
They put Stem to the test in a demo video comparison with a dozen other About APU & Results Azusa Pacific University August 2020 designs including various.
Then each variation was presented to their academic and return to campus committees, “so that they could see not only the different designs and budgets but they could also see the products and experience what they would actually sound like on the receiving end,” Lord said.
“This gave our customers, being our faculty, staff, and administrators, the confidence to endorse the products we were putting forward in these designs.”
Through their rigorous testing process, they found Stem Audio Wall and Table devices to be the right fit for deployment in the classrooms across their campuses.
“Stem Wall was really the best quality conferencing array microphone that came out of our tests,” said Lord.
“Our classroom designs went through various iterations of products and fine-tuning after testing but the one thing that we have been set on from day one has been the audio devices from Stem, which has been the easiest part of this project by far.”
Stem Table and Wall’s dual connectivity option gave them the freedom to install the devices in their classrooms exactly the way they wanted and in minutes.
“Essentially, the whole setup with Stem was getting the device either on the wall or on the desk and just plugging it in via USB to the computer in the classroom. We got our installation process really down pat to where we were installing well under a half an hour in each room, and that’s including installing Stem Wall or Table, webcams, document cams, and updating Zoom,” Lord said. “One of my student employees and I were able to knock out 30 rooms in about six hours of work.”
Reception on the distance learning system
Professors now are able to easily conduct online learning classes in properly equipped classrooms on APU’s many campuses without worrying if their students can hear them properly.
With the increase of online learning courses for the Fall semester, the university even has plans to repurpose Stem Audio devices in the future.
“A big concern of our administrators and budget managers was how can this equipment continue to be used when we start to return to normal. The possibility of repurposing by mixing and matching devices means we can move around and combine devices into other rooms and lecture halls in the future which is huge for us. It says that this isn’t just a device that can only work in a single space, this is a device that can be repurposed and added to any room on campus, for any type of design.”
In deploying Stem Audio, Azusa Pacific University was able to prepare their classrooms for online learning with an affordable, high quality audio solution that can be scaled to fit in classrooms of all sizes.
The Stem Audio ecosystem enabled APU to continue to provide students with an exceptional education experience despite the challenge of connecting students and staff remotely.
“Stem Wall and Table have really blown away everyone who has used them. Obviously the looks are great but they also fit into just about any space, the price point is awesome, and they were super easy to install, which was something that was really important to us as our team had to pump these rooms out really quickly in time for the beginning of the Fall semester.”