Texas A&M University’s Instructional Media Services team has been working through goals to keep students engaged consistently throughout the school year with limited disruptions to classes. While outfitting a new building on campus, the team wanted to develop a learning environment that would not only attract students, but also faculty. Through the new building’s smaller huddle spaces and share pods with large, arena-style classrooms, the university wanted to create an environment to keep classes going 100% of the time as any loss of time in class can be detrimental to the learning experience.
For the new Innovative Learning Classroom Building (ILCB), the university aimed to bring forth a complete, networked AV ecosystem to help nurture a heightened user experience no matter where students and faculty are tuning in – from in the classroom, overflow spaces, or in a remote location off campus. As a result, they began the search for flexible, easy-to-use solutions that supported the new spaces’ ability to accommodate not only classes but also a wide variety of university or third-party-led events. And while finding the right technology was a clear priority for the university, the Instructional Media Services team also needed to find a vendor they could trust and easily communicate with quickly to fill any support requests.
To create a one-of-a-kind immersive learning environment, Texas A&M University turned to Panasonic’s team of visual experts to conceptualize and bring to life a cohesive learning environment for all. From using Panasonic’s PT-FRZ50U 1-Chip DLP® Laser Projectors in smaller classrooms for crisp visuals throughout a lesson to deploying Panasonic’s PT-RZ12KU 3-Chip DLP Large Venue Laser Projectors to create wide viewing angles to foster a truly immersive learning environment in the university’s top-of-the-line 600-seat arena-style lecture hall, Panasonic provided one unified technological experience for the entire campus.
“Our classrooms are being used now for anything and everything. So, we’ve had to think beyond the realm of what a traditional classroom for learning purposes needs to be outfitted with to really make Texas A&M’s spaces multi-purpose for a wide breadth of events,” said Ty Navarrete, IT Manager II, Instructional Media Services, Division of Enrollment & Academic Services, Texas A&M. “With that, we needed flexible, easy to use and visually brilliant technology to fit our diverse needs as well as our goal of bringing this new building into the future with networked AV technology.”
Prior to switching over to Panasonic’s projection technology, the university did not have a standard vendor and was also reliant on projectors utilizing lamp-based technology. Having projection solutions from a variety of vendors, matched with using outdated lamp-based technology meant maintaining the university’s IT infrastructure took a lot of time on an unpredictable and costly schedule. When collaborating with Panasonic to deploy laser projection technology throughout campus, the Instructional Media Services team acquired a proactive and predictable maintenance schedule largely in part of the ability to rely on Panasonic’s consistency, reliability, and dependable laser technology. Since switching to Panasonic’s projection technology throughout the campus, the Texas A&M team has also decreased classroom downtime due to technology failures.
“With large classes, any loss of time past ten minutes is a big hit to any class we offer. With the new laser technology in place, downtime is far less of a concern now, which is particularly beneficial as we aim to get students back in an uninterrupted learning environment,” Carlos Lucio, Assistant Director, Instructional Media Services, Division of Enrollment & Academic Services, Texas A&M. “With Panasonic’s projection technology now consistently deployed throughout campus, we’ve experienced far fewer failures across the board, which has led to huge improvements in maintaining and accelerating our entire IT program.”
With service and maintenance now a predictable aspect of the Texas A&M team’s routine, the team was able to put a greater focus on innovating classroom design and campus networks. Specifically, in the arena-style lecture hall, the Texas A&M team collaborated with Panasonic on a projection configuration to fit the classroom’s curved screens to enhance viewing angles. Using Panasonic’s Geometry Manager Pro Software, the team ensured visuals were clear and uninterrupted across the multiple displays.
In addition to flexible technology, the team also looked for a new collaborator that was easily accessible and easy to cultivate a productive and amicable relationship with. On top of enhancing maintenance, reducing downtime, and deploying better visuals, communication with the vendor was a key factor for the university.
“Since the projection screens in the arena are curved – it was great working with Panasonic to customize our solution to fit our exact needs in this venue,” said Lucio. “It definitely took time and valued collaboration efforts to get this right, but once we set this projection up, we haven’t had any issues since.”