Held Tuesday and Wednesday of InfoComm 2021, the Integrated Experience Tour: University of Central Florida was a hit with attendees, who visited the UCF Downtown campus to discover how the cutting-edge learning facility incorporates innovative technologies to support its educational missions. The site, a collaborative development by UCF and Valencia College, is a key component of Orlando’s $1.5 billion Creative Village mixed-use project, which opened in August 2019. The multi-building campus features more than 300,000 square feet of learning space spread across 22 acres and, in non-COVID times, accommodates more than 7,000 students and 300 staff and faculty daily.
When outfitting the various learning spaces, UCF Downtown incorporated Crestron NVX into active learning classrooms, its state-of-the-art Maker Space, and various specialized facilities, such as the Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy (FIEA), which offers a 16-month master’s degree program in interactive entertainment, and the Walt Disney World Center for Culinary Arts and Hospitality, which focuses on culinary arts and mixology.
Scott Pritchett, technology coordinator for UCF Downtown, guided tours through the facility that covered a range of learning environments, from typical classrooms to teaching kitchens and a Mixology Lab. He discussed how the classrooms were adapted to the specific requirements of remote teaching during COVID; while some learning spaces gained webcams on tripods to accommodate professors who don’t use podiums, others, such as the kitchens and the bar in the Mixology Lab, were already using ceiling-mounted PTZ cameras, which allow professors to zoom so students can see detailed work up close on nearby monitors.
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Other tour highlights included a visit to FIEA’s 3,300-square-foot motion capture studio, which has not only been used for student game production, but professional efforts as well; Tiger Woods and Shaquille O’Neal have had their moves captured for posterity in the facility. A massive maker space is also available on site, offering students everything from audio recording facilities and 3D printers to Glowforge laser cutters and more. The tour culminated with a visit to the site’s moot court, providing an excellent opportunity to see how technology was integrated into a courtroom setting, with added insight provided by a UCF on-staff Crestron programmer, who shared how his department addresses the specific needs of different academic programs.
This story originally appeared in the Wednesday, Oct. 27, edition of the InfoComm 2021 Show Daily. Read more from the InfoComm Day One Show Daily online.