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Audio Visual Centres in the 21st century
5 Lecture Theatres: Prototype and Standardised Systems.
5.1 To date we have identified the type of facility needed which the academic staff are happy to use. It is no use at all installing systems that no one wants. A gradual introduction to technology based teaching is proving to be the optimum method of bringing new technology to the forefront in teaching. It must be stressed that a user group was not the route used. I felt that to take this through such a tedious process would not have been very productive and the result less than desirable.
5.2 What we did do was to undertake a survey (See appendix seven) of users and ask them what they liked/disliked about the existing service and how they would like to see it improved. The returns were very illuminating and helped to focus attention on specific areas.
5.3 The survey helped to shape the new theatre based on this feed back. To progress this to a satisfactory conclusion required a suitable space. A proposal was already in hand to refurbish a medium sized lecture theatre of ninety seat capacity. This proved to be ideal for the prototype. Our AV technicians undertook the entire AV installation with exception of the writing surfaces. In conjunction with the projects office a design was established which is now a benchmark for all subsequent theatres.
5.4 The specification had to include writing surfaces/OHPs and screens, 35 mm projection together with Video data projection and dimmable lighting. All of these systems had to be controllable from the lectern.
5.5 It was quickly established that there were two main players in lecture theatre control systems Crestron and AMX both being USA imports and with a very strong reputation in the field.
5.6 We opted for Crestron so that an objective comparison could be made against the AMX system already installed elsewhere on campus.
5.7 Architectural design was provided in house by our projects office and they were able to provide expert advice for cable runs and trunking types and how we could future proof the system within the limitations of the budget. This has proved to be an ideal team and produced a fine result at modest cost which academic staff enjoy using.
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