With four campuses and two centers in the Orlando area, Valencia Community College is the fourth largest of Florida’s 28 community colleges, teaching more than 55,000 students a year. As part of Valencia’s ongoing efforts to meet student needs, the college is installing state-of-the-art presentation and audio/visual equipment in all of its existing “smart” classrooms and auditoriums, as well as in two recently completed buildings. All of this equipment will be installed over the next four years by LMG, a Florida-based systems integrator that also has installations in progress at the University of Central Florida, Stetson University, and Seminole Community College. Bob Kearfott, Valencia’s manager of classroom technology, explained, “We want to make it as easy as possible for faculty members and lecturers to make high-quality presentations to students at any of our schools. So we installed state-of-the-art audio/visual presentation equipment for them to use in our classrooms and auditoriums.”

The classrooms at Valencia have VCRs, DVDs, audio cassettes, document cameras, and other equipment all controlled with Creston touch-panel control panels. The systems are designed with three computer platforms for PCs, as well as laptop connectors. Each room is equipped with a PC (Macs are optional); connections and internet access are available at the instructor’s desk. Wireless microphones are used to record the lectures. “All [instructors] have to do is plug in their laptops, press a button on the touch panel, and start the lecture,” said Kearfott. The ELMO PTC 100R pan/tilt/zoom document cameras, which are permanently installed in the ceilings of many classrooms, allow presenters to show documents, graphs, charts, illustrations, maps, and photos of various sizes to students in classrooms that are constructed with fixed instructors’ stations. The instructor places the document on the desk and uses the camera to show it to the class. He or she can highlight and zoom in on any portion of the page as desired. The screen in the classroom can be raised with an image shown via the ELMO camera. This image then can be projected onto the whiteboard, and the instructor can draw on top of the image. In auditoriums and conference rooms that do not have fixed stations, ELMO HV 5000 XG high-resolution presenters are used instead of the ceiling-mounted cameras. Valencia Community College also uses portable ELMO HV100 XG presenters for lecturers who travel to different locations to make presentations. “With the document camera in the classroom, I can show texts that I bring to class to supplement the work of the day,” said Penny Villegas, a professor of communications. “I can workshop student writing, because every page–whether hand-written or typed–can be read by every student in the room.” Added Keith Malmos, a professor in the college’s science department: “The ELMO document camera is versatile, easy to use, and provides extremely sharp and clear images of exactly what I want to display on the screen. The zoom and auto-focus features allow me to display much more than just a text document. This has certainly helped with student interaction and learning–and even more so when the students themselves are able to display their artwork and projects to the entire class.”

From math to music

Kearfott described the different ways that various departments are using the cameras:

“The math department zoomed in on a graphic calculator to show it to the class. Medical School professors use it to show X-rays as well as standard documents. The music department shows musical scores to the class while they listen to the composition. Foreign-language students view the words on the screen and listen to the language on CDs or cassettes.”

He explained that purchasing and operating ease have led him to standardize all equipment at Valencia Community College. “ELMO fits right into these plans,” he said. “We’ve found their cameras and presenters to be to be reliable, trouble-free, and cost-effective.”

Links:

Valencia Community College
http://valencia.cc.fl.us

ELMO USA Inc.
http://www.elmousa.com

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