UNIVERSITY OF THE SUNSHINE COAST
LEARNING AND TEACHING HUB
Tiered Teaching Space
Project Name: USC Learning & Teaching Hub
AV Start Date: April 2013
AV Completion date: May 2014
AV Project Value: 3.76 million dollars (approximately)
Integrator: Programmed Electrical Technologies
Consultant / Project Manager: InDesign Technologies
USC Representative: Maureen Klinkert, Director IT Services University of Sunshine Coast
Winner: 2015 AVIA Award – Best Application of AV in Education with a budget under $500k
Finalist: 2014 AVIA Award – Best Application of AV in Education with a budget under $500k
“We first hired InDesign in 2012. The quality of InDesign’s work was so high and the benefits so apparent, that we re-engaged them again in 2013.”
Maureen Klinkert, Director IT Services University of Sunshine Coast
The University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) is located 1 hour north of Brisbane on the picturesque Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia. Recently, it ushered in a new era of simulation learning with its latest 33 million dollar Learning and Teaching Hub. The three-storey building is a joint initiative of the Australian Commonwealth Government and USC and is equipped with cutting-edge simulation technology that is widely used by students, researchers, partners and the community.
Nursing students are benefiting from the state-of-the-art nursing simulation wards, complete with high tech mannequins that display symptoms and respond to treatment.
The Cave-Immerse simulation studio has unlocked the University’s potential to create amazing teaching and learning opportunities for students.
InDesign’s involvement encompassed consulting, designing and project managing the 3.76 million dollar Audio Visual project for over 50 rooms, on 5 floors across 2 campuses. The project was broken up into 5 areas:
• General Teaching
• Nursing Simulation
• Video Conferencing
InDesign has worked with various USC faculties and IT Services to create cutting edge technology designs utilising the latest technologies whilst ensuring a consistent look, feel and operation. This involved concept designs, product evaluations and budget estimates.
Once the concepts were agreed on, InDesign created the Detailed Design and Tender documentation, including:
• Audio Visual layouts
• Detailed schematics
• Rack layouts
• Matrix configurations
• Projector throw distance calculations
• Detailed Bill of Materials (BoM)
InDesign was also responsible for the re-design of the data, power and lighting requirements for all spaces that required Audio Visual systems.
Project management of the installation followed the design stage and it was our responsibility to ensure the project schedule was followed, budgets were maintained and the integrity of the design was implemented. This also included commissioning, variation and defect management services.
We were 100% committed to the success of this project and dedicated two full time InDesign resources for the entirety of the engagement; establishing an office only minutes from the University. We worked tirelessly to deliver this project on time, and within budget and the end result was certainly worth it, even if we do have a few more grey hairs…
USC is driven to maximise their student’s learning experiences. Acknowledging that teaching methods and content delivery affect how well this is achieved, USC are constantly striving to create more collaborative environments capable of delivering digital content more effectively than ever before.
Research favours their approach, indicating that collaborative learning is the most effective method for creating participant interest and promoting critical thinking (ability to know how to use information to solve problems).
Additionally, it also prepares students for the ‘real world’ because the environment is reminiscent of the workplace where workers need to be able to think creatively, solve problems and make decisions as a team.
The technology supports these objectives by facilitating collaboration and making learning spaces feel smaller and more intimate.
With the seamless sharing of digital content and mechanisms that encourage participation and ideas exchange (even in a large group) the learning experience is richer, more relevant, memorable, and ultimately engages students for longer.
In addition to improving learning capacity, it was paramount that scalable infrastructure be in place to cater for the University’s growing facilities and administrative operations.
AREA 1: GENERAL TEACHING
Tiered Teaching Space Client Brief & Requirements
USC’s C-SALT (Centre for Support and Advancement of Learning and Teaching) group play an integral role in the University’s efforts to give students a high quality educational experience.
The C-SALT team work with academics, managers and professional staff in promoting effective, engaging and collaborative learning and teaching.
In traditional teaching spaces, the academic is positioned at the front of the room; teaching content is projected onto the wall with the fixed PC and laptop positioned at the lectern; this was all about to change. The C-SALT team saw a need to create a purpose built space to facilitate a more collaborative approach to teaching and learning.
Their requirement was for the technology to enable students to seamlessly share ideas and provoke group discussion.
Tiered Teaching Description of Areas and Systems
In the Tiered Teaching Space the academic has the freedom to move around the room and collaborate with students. The seating configuration for students also differs; rather than sitting individually, they sit at desks in workgroups of five or six.
Each desk is a fully equipped collaborative workspace, housing its own Lenovo PC, a 23” Dell monitor with touch overlay, a Crestron MPC-M5 control keypad and a Crestron 8 x 1 HDMI switch complete with 6 HDMI and 1 VGA input. This allows the students to collaborate amongst their group, sharing content from either the fixed PC or their own mobile devices on the local 23” monitor.
Each desk has a dedicated input into the Crestron 32 x 32 Digital Media matrix and an EV gooseneck microphone connected to the EV NetMax N-8000 DSP which allows students to effectively share content and ideas from their group with the rest of the class.
Each session is accurately recorded via the Mediasite HD lecture capture systems before being made available for viewing on the USC student portal.
A Crestron lighting control system was also deployed to ensure that teaching space was correctly lit for the various scenarios required for this environment. Power protection was achieved through the APC UPS, not only providing backup power in the event of a blackout, but also acting as a filter to help protect the Audio Visual equipment by ensuring a consistent voltage is maintained at all times.
To enhance the student experience, two Full High Definition (HD) projectors simultaneously show content from the lectern or from any of the 75 students. The result: collaboration through the seamless sharing of ideas.
AREA 2: ENGAGE
Engage Space Client Brief & Requirements
There are 3 roving Crestron transmitters and receivers, reserved for connecting user-definable inputs and outputs. We also custom designed the floor boxes to facilitate the installation of Crestron TX200 transmitters.
With this simple patching system, USC have achieved the flexibility they desired at minimal cost. A further bene t of the system is that the Nursing Crestron 64 x 64 Digital Media matrix is connected via 12 dedicated links to the Engage 32 x 32 Digital Media matrix. This allows Nursing to share their content to the Engage spaces and visa-versa.
In addition, the Audio Visual infrastructure adheres to the University’s structured cabling standards. There is no proprietary cabling. In fact the Audio Visual cabling infrastructure could be used as an IT network if required due to its standards based architecture.
To avoid any confusion between the Audio Visual and the IT structured cabling infrastructure, TERA connectors have been used to differentiate the Audio Visual ports from standard RJ45 data points.
Crestron lighting control was used throughout the Engage space to ensure the right lighting is used at the right time to create a comfortable and highly productive learning environment.
Engage is a project that demonstrates what can be achieved with quality products in combination with thorough planning, good design, detailed documentation and an experienced installation team that can deliver solutions in any environment.
The WOW factor isn’t the fact that the job is large, or complex; it’s that it’s beautifully simple and provides the customer with tremendous flexibility and expansion possibilities without the ridiculous price tag. It’s an excellent display of convergence – an IT Standards approach to Audio Visual infrastructure design – and shows why it’s a positive thing for the Audio Visual industry and not something to be feared.
AREA 3: CAVE IMMERSE
Cave-Immerse Client Brief and Requirements
The primary requirement for the Cave-Immerse space was to create a technology ‘blank canvas’ to produce amazing teaching and learning opportunities and enable students, researchers, partners and the community to have new experiences of learning, research and engagement, all for $145,000.
Engage Description of Areas and Systems
There were a number of concepts presented. The option selected included 6 edge-blended projectors that created a massive 19m wide image, that’s 10,548 x 1,200 pixels (90:10 aspect ratio) providing viewers with 270-degree floor to ceiling video in Full High Definition.
The content for the projectors is driven from a 6-headed video card PC located in the control room, whilst the Crestron 32 x 32 Digital Media matrix switch and supporting Audio Visual hardware is situated in the adjacent dedicated Audio Visual equipment room.
Edge blending the projectors successfully was a feat in itself because they needed to be mounted with millimetre precision. As such we independently redesigned the entire ceiling infrastructure to meet the strict mounting tolerances while avoiding existing building services.
There were weeks of set-up time involved, fine tuning the projector alignment and edge blending without the use of any additional hardware, software or processors. All edge blending is done solely via the projectors and the computer graphics card.
Audio for Cave-Immerse is delivered via the Crestron HDXSP 7.1 High-Definition professional surround sound processor and the Crestron 210W per channel powered amplifiers.
Participant’s behaviour is monitored and captured via the 4 Full HD cameras, this helps to evaluate their performance during a simulated scenario, which can be played back for assessment at a later stage. Crestron lighting control allows users to precisely configure the lighting to suit the room’s usage. All of these scenarios are controlled via the Crestron 15” touch screen located within the control room.
This well-thought-out flexible solution has been integrated into the Engage Audio Visual infrastructure; which means it’s also capable of sharing and receiving content from any device connected to the Engage Crestron 32 x 32 Digital Media matrix, including the General Purpose Learning spaces.
12 links connect the Nursing Crestron 64 x 64 Digital Media matrix that allows them to push content through to the Cave-Immerse projectors. Whilst this solution fits their current requirements, it has the ability to grow and evolve without excessive costs.
The visual impact that Cave-Immerse provides has satisfied the Universities desire for the ‘WOW’ factor, igniting creativity amongst other faculties wanting to create their own simulation scenarios.
AREA 4: NURSING SIMULATION
Nursing Simulation Client Brief and Requirements
As nursing simulation has now become the recommended teaching and learning strategy for all practicing nurses, a solution needed to be designed in a way that replaces real life experiences whilst allowing for real time guided assistance.
Whilst we don’t provide clinical specific equipment such as mannequins, our role was to integrate with them and provide a framework that allowed facilitators to monitor simulations in detail to ensure accurate assessment and effective debriefings.
Nursing Simulation Description of Areas
Systems Research suggests that medical simulations can lead to overall improvement in patient care, with deteriorating patients being recognised more promptly, a reduction in adverse outcomes resulting from intervention and overall higher survival rates.
Effectiveness however is somewhat linked to the realistic nature of the simulation and ability of the facilitator to accurately critique student’s behaviour.
The implementation of a simulation is subsequently followed by a debriefing session. Debriefings are conducted as a reflective learning experience in which participants review their performance in the simulated environment with the facilitator providing feedback during the review. To achieve this, we provided a solution with the following functionality:
- Monitor students in Full High Definition and follow their every move and word.
- Integrate the output from vitals machines and mannequins into a simulation recording.
- Control rooms capable of recording any combination of audio and video.
- Allow up to 12 simultaneous simulation recordings.
- Review simulation performances from multiple locations.
Using Crestron 15” touch screens positioned within each control room, facilitators can select any combination of the 80 input devices and using the Crestron Digital Media matrix, route the signal to any of the 12 B-Line Medical capture servers across the two campuses.
The B-Line capture servers are purposely built for the medical environment, and as a result aren’t cheap, but without the Crestron Digital Media matrix we have would required 23 B-Line capture servers to record the same spaces across the two facilities.
Whilst it is necessary to record every input device, it’s wasn’t a requirement to record them simultaneously, making the Crestron Digital Media matrix the perfect fit. For the purpose of better understanding how all this works; a simulation that takes advantage of this functionality would look like this:
- A facilitator/assessor selects any one of the four control rooms to view and record the simulation.
- Using the two-way Audio Visual communication the facilitator is able to issue a set of instructions to the students via the control room.
- They start the simulation by recording a patient being pushed down the corridor. Students are wearing wireless lapel microphones so their conversations are also recorded as they move throughout the facility.
- Meanwhile other students are simultaneously prepping for the patient in one of the fixed clinical simulation spaces. Feeds from both the fixed and PTZ cameras are being monitored and recorded.
- The assessor is capable of selecting and mixing any / all microphone inputs via the Crestron 15” touch screens and play them back through the in-ceiling control room monitoring speaker.
- As the patient reaches the destination and is transferred onto the bed – with the touch of a button the facilitator changes the recordable content to include the vitals machine, bed cameras and the fixed microphones.
- All this is taking place whilst the facilitator is recording students who are informing next of kin of the patient’s condition in an adjacent counselling room.
The benefits of the Crestron Digital Media matrix don’t end there; it also plays a key role in debriefing sessions. It enables both live and recorded content to be sent to a number of GPLs within the building so that students and facilitators can review and discuss simulation performances, both live and recorded.
“It’s the highest level of IT/AV integration I’ve ever seen.”
Ryan Eling, Director of SimGHOSTS (Ryan has engaged in the highest level of simulation in the US).
Our solution overcomes this problem with 47 Panasonic Full HD cameras and 64 Crestron TX transmitters, which transmit uncompressed Full HD signals over the dedicated Audio Visual cabling infrastructure, thereby maintaining picture quality whilst having no effect on the performance of the clients IT network.
Additionally, power for these transmitters which would normally require 50+ GPOs to be located adjacent to every device, is now seamlessly delivered remotely from the Crestron Digital Media matrix switch via PoDM, all over the one cable.
There are 31 wired microphone inputs plus 13 wireless microphones which use 2 transceivers. The Microphones transfer their signal over USC’s network using Dante. Tranceivers can be located anywhere on the USC network, enabilng audio to be seamlessly routed between DSPs.
The benefit being that a Nursing facilitator at Gympie could communicate with someone in a nursing simulation at Sippy Downs. They can also view the simulation over the internet as cameras can transmit over an IP network as well as output uncompressed HD signal locally.
Like its sister system in Engage this is a great example of convergence with an IT standards approach to Audio Visual infra- structure design. The structured cabling system is not proprietary, it’s agnostic, and that’s what makes it so flexible. While its current purpose is for transporting Audio Visual signals, it could easily be utilised for telecommunications, computing, security or anything that requires access to a network.
The other advantage of this solution is the 12 links (6 inputs + 6 outputs) between the Nursing’s Crestron 64 x 64 Digital Media matrix and the Engage Crestron 32 x 32 Digital Media matrix located at opposite ends of the building. This is particularly critical given that the Nursing briefing room is physically located within the Engage space.
These links also allow Nursing to utilise Cave-Immerse, enabling Nursing users to view and record any / all of the cameras within Cave-Immerse from any Nursing control room.
The content for Cave-Immerse’s 6 projectors emanates from a 6-headed video card PC within the Engage control room, however should Nursing decide to integrate their own 6-headed video card PC locally, the cabling infrastructure between the two areas would easily accommodate this addition.
It’s all about flexibility and maximising potential for the future. And it’s proof that forethought, planning, detailed design and documentation, combined with a quality installation always yields the best results.
Thanks to a great design, a great installation team, first class products, the end result was nothing short of AMAZING! And it’s set to become one of the first Crestron 64 x 64 HDBaseT / HDMI matrix installations in the world!
It has set the benchmark in nursing simulation, its further evidence that convergence is the direction we should all pursue – especially if you wish to do the best by your client and provide them with the flexibility to rapidly adapt and grow.
“This installation is a true global showcase for both USC and InDesign Technologies.”
Michelle Hall, USC Program Manager
AREA 5: VIDEO CONFERENCING
Video Conferencing Client Brief and Requirements
With USC’s new Gympie campus situated 1 hour north of the main campus at Sippy Downs, it’s not always feasible for students and academics to commute between the two locations, so USC took the initiative to link the two campuses via VC.
InDesign’s brief was to consult with all of the stakeholders to ensure that the design would meet their immediate and future needs. This process would form the framework for Video Conferencing solutions for all forthcoming projects, so it was critical that the infrastructure design was flexible enough to adapt to the Universities ever changing environment.
Possibly the most challenging requirement was to provide microphone coverage for ALL participants in the lecture theatres, and to keep it within budget. InDesign was also responsible for scheduling the project to fit in with the University’s tight timetabling restrictions and project managing the installation and commissioning.
Video Conferencing Description of Areas and Systems
USC’s Video Conferencing requirements encompassed 2 existing lecture theatres and 2 GPL’s, across 2 campuses.
First we had to decide on a codec, and after a lengthy evaluation process the Polycom Group series Video Conferencing platform was chosen as the University’s standard. Both lecture theatres required AV switching upgrades to a Crestron 16 x 16 Digital Media matrix to accommodate the additional Video Conferencing requirements.
LT7 (the older and larger of the two lecture theatres) required a complete overhaul which saw the installation of 2 Epson Full HD short throw projectors, 2 Panasonic HE60 Full HD PTZ cameras, 2 Samsung 55” LCD confidence monitors and the addition of a Crestron lighting control system complete with dedicated Philips VC lighting fixtures.
The most significant aspect of this installation was the audio. How do you provide adequate fixed microphone coverage for over 250 students? After weeks of research and testing we specified the ClearOne Beamforming solution. The 6 x 24 element microphone arrays provided the answer for this challenging environment. As a result of this selection the ClearOne DSP’s, Shure ULXD and EV lectern microphones were chosen for all 4 VC spaces.
The speaker selection for this teaching space provoked some interesting conversations. The existing space was kitted out with 5.1 surround sound, so trying to convince the University to change over to a double stacked Bose MA12 line-array was no simple feat.
Like most things ‘the proof of the pudding is in the eating’, so we arranged for Bose to demonstrate the MA12 in the theatre, they were blown away!
The Gympie lecture theatre was only six months old when the University selected a Video Conferencing venue. InDesign was responsible for the previous design so it was fair to say that we knew this venue intimately well.
As it was quite new, it required less upgrading. A Crestron 16 x 16 Digital Media matrix, a Panasonic HE60 Full HD PTZ camera, 2 x Samsung 55” LCD confidence monitors, a ClearOne DSP and 6 microphones was all that was required.
The most difficult part of this installation was the relocation of the AV equipment to the newly created AV cupboard that housed a 30RU rack located adjacent to the lectern. We had to ensure that the cupboard was adequately ventilated to stop the equipment from overheating and causing reliability issues.
Utilisation of the latest technology, combined with a consistent user experience helped bring the two campuses closer together.
The two GPL’s provided fewer challenges predominately due to their size. Both spaces saw the inclusion of a Crestron DMPS-300, Epson Full HD short throw projectors, Panasonic HE2 and HE60 Full HD cameras, ClearOne DSP’s and tri-element microphones, Bose DS40 speakers and Crestron 10” colour touch screens.
Utilisation of the latest technology, combined with a consistent user experience helped bring the two campuses closer together.
The environment is not only important to InDesign it’s just as imperative to USC as well. This is why all of our designs incorporate power saving features.
Every teaching space is fitted with a movement sensor that will turn off the AV equipment and shut the room down if no movement is detected after 30 minutes.
Lighting control systems allow users to adjust appropriate lighting levels to suit the ever changing environment. 100% is not really 100%, maximum light levels are set 90% of their available brightness, thus conserving power and quadrupling the lamp life.
Managed PDU’s (Power Distribution Units) are configured to turn equipment off when not in use; there’s no need to keep devices such as amplifiers running 24/7 if there’s no one around.
The APC PDU’s also monitor temperature, humidity and power consumption. This data allows us to set the cooling requirements to the appropriate levels, and detect for any rouge power hungry devices. Each PDU is connected to the Universities LAN which enables us to remotely monitor and power down equipment if required.
All of these features achieve efficiencies in terms of time and energy as well as prolong the lifespan of the equipment.
GOOD FUNCTIONALITY IS INVISIBLE
We wanted to make sure that USC knew exactly what they we getting themselves into. So we arranged for a ‘technology sandpit’ to be established on campus to evaluate various technologies, manufacturers and vendors.
One of the first products to be evaluated was the wireless microphones. In order to comply with the Australian government’s decision to sell off part of the digital spectrum (resulting in restacking of the digital services), USC were forced to replace all of their non-compliant wireless microphone systems.
This gave us the perfect opportunity to re-evaluate their current solution. We invited 5 manufacturers to participate in the shootout, and over a 4 week period we found a clear winner.
The Cave-Immerse simulation studio projection requirements also made good use of the ‘technology sandpit’.
As this is the first environment of its type for the University it was critical that we provide a ‘proof of concept’ for the all of the stakeholders. So InDesign arranged for the evaluation of 3 projector manufacturers to go head-to-head in order to prove their worthiness for this unique immersive space.
By taking the time to evaluate these systems, technologies and products the client knew exactly what they were getting before they got it.
Designing successful Audio Visual systems requires the ability to come up with the BIG concepts along with the skill and perseverance to execute the thousands of small ideas before your design gets into the hands of the users.
It requires expertise in project management, research and collaboration. An effective method, along with appropriate training and aptitude, is what distinguishes professional Audio Visual designers from anyone else who may perform individual, instinctive acts of technology design.
InDesign believe that technology should be an enabler for connection, collaboration and creation. It should be unnoticed, discreet, integrated and an enhancement to our lives.
Over 90% of equipment required for this project is not client facing. 3 rooms, 6 racks, and kilometres of cable have dedicated to this Audio Visual installation, all housed within controlled environments to ensure the reliability and longevity of the system.
Support staff can track device and room usage, schedule routine maintenance, receive instant alert notifications, and provide real-time technical support for any room, at any time, from anywhere via the Crestron Fusion enterprise management platform.
User interfaces have been designed in consultation with the client, providing intuitive control and real-time status of the system.
Our philosophy – regardless of how complex the system is, if it’s not engaging, functional, reliable and simple to use, then nobody will use it. A projects success should be measured not by the size, but on the user experience.