Audio/Visual Solutions Implements Record Number of Classroom Technology Upgrades

While many students and faculty depart campus for the summer, the teams in the Office of Information Technology are busier than ever. The Office of Information Technology’s Audio/Visual Solutions (AVS) team was hard at work this summer upgrading technology in a record-breaking number of classrooms and meeting spaces.

In a typical summer, AVS upgrades 12 classrooms. This summer they upgraded a total of 38 spaces with audio/visual equipment including 25 classrooms, 4 conference rooms and 9 additional spaces.

“We strive to provide cutting-edge technology and tools to create a modern learning environment,” said Greg McDonald, manager of AVS. “We want to compliment traditional learning with tech-based solutions.”

The AVS team works to create flexible spaces that foster a collaborative environment and maximize communication.

“When designing modern classrooms, we’re thinking about instructors first,” said Josh Adams, assistant manager of AVS. “Their needs are always at the forefront of our discussion and continue to be a driving factor in the functionality, layout and the hardware and software provided in classrooms.”

Instructors can look forward to new, user-friendly technology in several classrooms on campus. The AVS team upgraded one classroom in each of the following halls: BB Comer, Capital Hall, Gorgas Library and the Old Capstone Medical Building. Upgrades were completed in two classrooms in Farrah Hall, Garland Hall, Gordon Palmer Hall and SERC, three in Rowand Johnson, four in Reese Phifer and six in Graves Hall for a total of 25 classrooms.

The COVID-19 pandemic had a role to play in the selection of certain upgraded equipment in a few classrooms.

“The pandemic influenced the technology upgraded in some spaces such as cameras, web cameras and in-ceiling microphones in classrooms,” said McDonald. “Where possible, these tools help provide a more seamless learning experience for students.”

AVS strives to enable real-time classroom participation through hardware and software in classrooms equipped with tools for interactive video conferencing. In classrooms with this equipment, students and instructors can look forward to interactive and largely automated technology that provides almost immediate feedback.

A few equipment highlights include new technology that promotes interaction from smartphones and laptops, improved audio for lecture capture, larger desktop monitors with annotation capabilities, height adjustable podiums, as well as projector improvements for a high-resolution viewing experience. In Reese Phifer Hall, AVS was able to implement new pan/tilt/zoom (PTZ) cameras in some rooms capable of capturing both instructor and audience participation.

“This technology provides students with interactive resources during and after lectures through Panapto, promoting engagement and keeping them connected to the course material,” said Adams. “Our detail-oriented team has worked tirelessly to make the Fall 2021 semester a great experience for UA students and instructors.”

Along with upgrading equipment in classrooms, AVS provides support and maintenance, consultation, design, installation, and training for a variety of audio/visual resources. Visit the OIT website to learn more.