Iowa State University: Katie Baumgarn wears many hats at Iowa State University which span classroom scheduling specialist, Facilities, and Planning & Management. She has overseen room scheduling for the 200+ general university classrooms at Iowa State for 30 years. All that time, she had a dream to create a classroom in the round, a classroom specifically designed to encourage every student in the class to engage face-to-face with one another. When Iowa State University was building its new Student Innovation Center, she found her ideal opportunity. Baumgarn reached out to Mike Pedersen, the newly hired audiovisual experience manager at Iowa State and described her dream. Pedersen loved the idea and immediately had a vision for an audiovisual system to make it a reality. Iowa State ultimately contracted all the audiovisual work in the new building to long-time integration partner, Mechdyne Corporation. Soon, Aaron Peterson was tasked to take Katie’s dream and Mike’s technology vision and make them a reality.
The main challenge to overcome in converting the dream to a reality was determining the display locations so every student would have a clear view of the content being presented. The team considered several options, including placing the projection screens in the four corners of the room. Ultimately the idea emerged of a “scoreboard” type layout and the displays were placed to hang from the ceiling in the center of the room.
“I didn’t like the early ideas with projectors in the corners,” said Pedersen. “Instead, I had a vision for displays hanging from the ceiling above the instructor’s head.” With that rough vision in mind, Mechdyne was concerned about clear viewing angles for everyone in the room. Peterson recalls, “Taking note from many large arenas that were installing massive scoreboards above basketball courts and hockey rinks, specifically being a Minnesotan, and taking reference from Target Center’s new scoreboard, I came up with the idea of smaller displays behind the larger ones, so the front row could look across, past the professor, and onto the inner side of the display ring to get their content.” Having worked with Iowa State on prior projects, Mechdyne also understood that many instructors find it beneficial to be able to show two different sources simultaneously, so they went one step further and instead of single displays, they suggested outer and inner pairs of ceiling mounted displays.
Another huge challenge was COVID-19. The audiovisual installations throughout the innovation center started in January 2020. During the pandemic, Mechdyne worked closely with the Iowa State project team to establish safe working protocols so the installation could continue. It did, however, slow down the overall progress, and even after it was completed, it delayed significant use of the room until spring 2021.
In addition to the unique display configuration, the Student Innovation Center was also the first large-scale AV-over-IP system at Iowa State. The network infrastructure team in the Information Technology Services unit was instrumental in designing and configuring a building wide network solution that could support the extensive AV-over-IP requirements. In the end, due to the number and location of the displays, the AV design for the classroom in the round ended up being a hybrid system with both AV-over-IP and HDBaseT technologies employed. It is a good example of using the right tool for the job, even if that includes a mix and match solution.
The overall solution provides a unique opportunity for instruction where there is much less lecturing and much more discussion, debate and group questioning. The room configuration is well suited for humanities areas such as philosophy, sociology, psychology, political science and even world languages.
Baumgarn saw her dream come true. “Having a classroom in the round is so exciting,” she said. “As we are able to create a unique learning and teaching environment. One that will encourage a connection between the students and instructor like no other space on campus!”
THE AV/IT TEAM
Katie Baumgarn, Classroom Scheduling Specialist, Facilities, Planning & Management, Iowa State
Liz Clark, Project Manager, Facilities, Planning & Management, Iowa State
Mike Pedersen, Audiovisual Experience Manager, Information Technology Services, Iowa State
Mike Vinson, Network Engineer II, Information Technology, Iowa State
Aaron Peterson, Senior Solutions Engineer, Mechdyne Corporation
Jocelyn Boehm, Project Manager, Mechdyne Corporation
Matt Nitchie, Sales Manager, Mechdyne Corporation
DATE COMPLETED: July 2020
- 8 Samsung QM65R, 65” LCD Displays
- 8 Samsung QM49R, 49” LCD Displays
- Chief Fusion Mounting Hardware Systems
- 1 Mechdyne Custom Mounting Truss
- 9 Extron NAV E 101, 1G Pro AV over IP Encoder - HDMI
- 2 Extron NAV SD 101, 1G Pro AV over IP Scaling Decoder - HDMI
- 2 Extron DTP HD DA8 4K 230, HDMI to Eight Output DTP DA - 230 feet (70 m)
- 16 Extron DTP HDMI 4K 230 RX, HDMI Twisted Pair Extender, Receiver
- 1 Mersive Solstice Pod
- 1 Denon DN-500BD MKII, Blu-ray, DVD & CD/SD/USB Player
- 1 Epson DC-21, Document Camera
- 1 Biamp TesiraFORTÉ DAN AI, Audio Digital Signal Processor
- 2 Shure QLXD24/B58-H50, Handheld Wireless Microphone Systems
- 2 Shure QLXD14/83-H50, Lavalier Wireless Microphone Systems
- 1 Extron XPA U 1004-70V, Four Channel Amp
- 10 JBL Pro Control 67P/T, Full-Range Satellite Pendant Speakers
- 3 Vaddio RoboSHOT 12E HDMI, PTZ camera
- 1 Extron TLP Pro 725T, 7" Tabletop Touchpanel
- 1 Extron IPCP Pro 350, Control Processor
- 1 Middle Atlantic PTRK-2126MDK, Mobile Steel Rack w/ Wood Top; 21RU
- 1 Middle Atlantic RLNK-915R, 15a, 9 Outlet, IP Controlled Power Distribution
- 1 Crestron TSS-10-W-S-LB KIT, 10.1 in. Room Scheduling Touch Screen