Lee University is a private Christian university in Cleveland, Tenn. It was founded in 1918 with twelve students and one teacher as the Church of God Bible Training School, a small Bible institute. The university now serves over 5,200 students with a faculty of approximately 350 instructors. Students pick from 57 undergraduate majors, 159 undergraduate programs and 56 graduate programs in various fields. These fields comprise business, arts and sciences, education, music, religion and nursing. In 2016, the School of Nursing constructed a spacious lecture hall. In 2020, the school updated this venue with Extron AV streaming capabilities to meet the challenges of COVID-19 and to support remote learning.
The lecture hall currently features a soaring ceiling and tiered desk seating for 120+ students in order to accommodate a growing student population. Lee University’s IT Lab Manager Mark Mong, and pro AV integration firm, Encore Broadcast Solutions, jointly led the AV system design and installation. Moreover, Glenn Bradley, sales manager at Encore’s Bridgeport, Alabama office, supervised the Encore team. Finally, Anaheim, Calif.-based Extron supplied AV switching, distribution, control, and streaming equipment for the the lecture hall.
A 275-inch projection screen is at the front of the room. Here, two 65-inch flat panel displays flank the screen. In addition, two more 65-inch flat panel confidence monitors are on the back wall. The presenters and audience members use hand-held and wearable wireless RF microphones. Alongside this, the presenter podium and an AV operator desk house the AV system components.
Extron AV Tools at Lecture Hall
Lecturers can load presentation material onto the PC contained in the AV operator desk, or they can bring a laptop containing presentation material. Convenient guest connections for power, HDMI, DisplayPort, and USB-C cables are available at a Cable Cubby 202 cable access enclosure in the AV operator desk and a TLP Pro 320C Cable Cubby TouchLink Pro Touchpanel in the podium.
Furthermore, a document camera at the podium allows display of printed materials. Lecturers can thus annotate their presentations by tapping, writing and drawing on the podium’s touchscreen. The touchscreen connects to an Annotator 300 Annotation Processor in the AV operator desk through USB Extender Plus Transmitters and Receivers.
AV Operator Desk as Switching, Streaming and Recording Hub
The AV operator desk houses the equipment that forms the backbone of the lecture hall AV system. The core component is a DTP CrossPoint 84 4K Scaling Presentation Matrix Switcher. It performs AV signal switching and video scaling for delivery of video lecture content to the room’s five displays. Available AV content sources include the PC in the operator desk, a guest laptop at the podium, the Annotator 300, front and rear wall PTZ cameras and analog audio from the operator desk mixer.
Users can select AV content using a TLP Pro 1022T 10-inch TouchLink Pro Touchpanel at the operator desk, or the TLP Pro 320C 3.5-inch flip-up touchscreen at the podium. The two touchpanels work with the control processor built into the DTP matrix switcher to control all system functions.
Convenient Audio Options
The switcher’s integrated 100-watt amplifier drive the room’s speakers. Multiple wireless microphones are also available for instructors and to support student participation. Most instructors prefer the VoiceLift Pro pendant mic when presenting for its ease of use. The mic turns-on automatically when lifted from the charging stand. Presenters put the mic on and they’re ready to go, says Extron.
Video Distribution to Displays
The main projection screen and two pairs of flat panel displays display the content during lectures. The projector video is connected directly from the matrix switcher to the projector’s HDBaseT input. The flat panel displays receive HDMI over shielded twisted pair cable via a DTP HD DA4 4K Distribution Amplifier and DTP HDMI 4K 230 Rx Receivers.
Users can also route AV content to an SMP 351 Streaming Media Processor for recording and for live or on-demand streaming to remote learners. A hardware codec or a UC platform, such as Zoom or Teams, delivers the streamed content. The SMP 351 is also equipped with an RCP 101 EU Remote Control Panel at the operator desk, providing convenient recording start, stop, pause, and mark buttons. This panel includes a USB port where users can insert a memory stick for lecture “capture and carry” portability. Instructors can also start, stop and pause SMP 351 lecture capture by simply pressing a button on their VoiceLift Pro pendant mic.
Extron Delivers at Lecture Hall
The lecture hall reopened to students and faculty in spring 2021. According to a statement, it’s a popular venue, always heavily booked. Mong reports that the hall’s AV systems are running trouble-free. He further expresses his excitement on how Extron’s drag-and-drop Global Configurator Professional and GUI Designer software tools contributed to straightforward setup of the AV control system. Mong thus remarks, “Extron’s controller configuration tools are easy to understand. You can jump right in and get the job done. For this installation, I developed the control logic flow and user interface screen hierarchy and Encore performed configuration and GUI creation using Extron’s tools.”
Mong then goes on to praise Extron for its support throughout installation, commissioning and continuing into the daily operation of the lecture hall AV system. He adds, “If I ever need something, I just call. They have an engineer on the line to help you immediately, no matter when you call. That’s what’s so cool about Extron. They’re all over the world. They’re ready to help, anytime, anywhere.”
Click on “View Slideshow” on the upper-right corner for images of the lecture hall at the School of Nursing. All images are courtesy of Lee University.