Salisbury University Installs 103" Plasma Displays to Enhance Educational Experience

Salisbury University (SU), a member of the University System of Maryland, is a regionally accredited four-year comprehensive institution offering 56 distinct graduate and undergraduate programs. According to US News & World Report, SU consistently ranks in the top ten percent of public and private institutions nationwide.

As a top ranking university, the school is dedicated to equipping both teachers and students with state-of-the-art technology. Two years ago, a university began looking at AV solutions for the newly built Perdue Hall, where the Perdue School of Business is located. The new building includes a 200-seat auditorium, specialized labs, team study rooms and 20 classrooms dedicated to business programs.

Classroom Technology Solutions from Panasonic The university was looking for a flexible AV solution that could be used for a multitude of purposes, such as presentations and video conferencing, and provide a "wow" factor for students and facility alike. Additionally, they wanted a solution that would be easy for not only faculty to operate, but also the corporate organizations that rent out the classrooms for training sessions and small conferences. Finally, they wanted a solution that was reliable, required minimal maintenance and would be viewable even in bright lighting. The faculty and staff worked with RCG Architects, which designed the new building, and Baltimore-based technology design consultants Convergent Technologies Design Group, Inc. (CTDG) to help them find a solution that fit these requirements.

"We worked closely with the Perdue School of Business' faculty to identify a forward-looking education technology solution that supported the evolving business school pedagogy," said Paul Corraine, CTDG's principal on the project. "And more importantly, we wanted to make sure that solution would help faculty teach and engage their students in new innovative ways never before possible."

The university faculty and AV staff worked closely with CTDG to evaluate a number of AV solutions, including professional projectors and displays. Collectively, they decided on the Panasonic 103” TH-103PF12U professional plasma displays. The 103” displays had the "wow factor" that would impress students, facility and the companies that often rented the space. The solution also needed to be simple to use so faculty could have the system running in no time.

Higher Education Technology Solutions from Panasonic "The university needed a flexible solution given the number of applications the screen would be used for," said Bill Holaday, CTDG product manager for the project. "The sheer size of the 103” Panasonic plasma allows the university to easily display spreadsheets, presentations, live television and teleconferencing. The entire system was built for ease of use and is controlled by a Crestron touch panel. On-screen annotation is simple as well with a 19" tablet located at the lectern, with digital notes appearing on the display as they happen. With this system, we wanted to limit faculty headaches and the need for campus AV support."

Additionally, the new displays have had other benefits to the overall education students are receiving in the school of business. The school tries to bring in numerous guest speakers from the corporate world, but because the school is nearly four and half hours away from New York City, it can be difficult to get corporate leaders to commit to a full day of travel. Combined with a conferencing system, business leaders are able to easily teleconference into classrooms from their own desks, providing valuable insight to students without disrupting their own work schedules. This teleconferencing solution allows students to access business leaders that would normally be too busy to make the trip in person. Given the size of the displays, it's as if the speakers are actually in the room.

Lecture Hall Technology Solutions from Panasonic As of mid-2012, seven 103" Panasonic professional plasma displays have been installed in Perdue Hall. "Convergent installed the first of seven about ten months ago and we've had absolutely zero issues with the display," said Bob Wood, Dean of the Perdue School of Business. "The reliability the displays have shown limits educational downtime in the classroom and frees up our IT team to concentrate on other issues. Since their installation, we've received positive feedback from facility and students who appreciate the displays' ease of operation and visibility in broad daylight. These displays show visitors and students that Salisbury University is committed to supplying them with cutting-edge technology."

Following the successful deployment of Panasonic professional plasma displays in Perdue Hall, the university plans to eventually replace most chalkboards and whiteboards with a similar solution that has proven to enhance not only the educational experience of students, but the university's image as well.

Challenge
Salisbury University, located in Maryland, was looking to replace chalkboards and whiteboards with a state-of-the-art AV technology to enhance the educational experience for students and facility, while also impressing companies and organizations that often rent Perdue Hall facilities. The device needed to be visible in ambient light, provide a sharp and clear picture, highly reliable and flexible to fit multiple applications such as displaying presentations, spreadsheets and teleconferencing.

Solution
With the guidance of technology design consultants Convergent Technologies Design Group, Inc., Salisbury University officials selected Panasonic's 103" TH-103PF12U professional plasma display, with an effective display area equivalent in size to four 50-inch plasma displays.

Result
The device provides crystal-clear images for a number of applications, is visible in bright lighting and is easy to operate and so far has required no maintenance. The displays demonstrate the university's dedication to providing students and facility with top-of-the-line technology and have been so successful that the university decided to eventually replace other chalkboard, whiteboards and older projectors with a large-format Panasonic plasma display solution.
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