Interactive Technology in the New Student Lounge

By Chris Whitman

New Student Lounge in Johnston Hall

New student lounge in Johnston Hall, pictured here in the final phase of construction. October 2010.

I recently sat down with Mr. Jon Pray, Vice Provost of Educational Technology at Marquette to discuss the technology aspects of the upcoming student lounge and how it will impact students.

The new student lounge, currently under construction in Johnston Hall will feature a video wall of LCD displays as well as two more stand-alone displays. This new student lounge will bring a much needed collaborative space for multimedia evaluation and group work.

The most important aspect of this new system will be the plethora of sources currently being discussed. To centrally manage all these sources and send them to the right display, a video matrix switcher (a device that acts as a traffic cop for video signals) is being employed.

First, there will be six cable boxes from Time Warner, with the ability for any box to be routed to any display. A second source will be a feed from the Marquette student run television station, MUTV.

The system will also input the University’s internal digital signage system, commonly referred to by its brand name “Axis TV.”Another benefit of Integrating the University’s Axis TV information system is that it allows for emergency notifications be quickly disseminated over the network to any TV attached., further enhancing the safety of the building.

In terms of local inputs for students,  the system will one of the first in the University to utilize public available HDMI inputs. This will allow for the first time students and faculty to input true digital content into a display system. Finally, the system will feature the usual sources such as DVD players and the traditional VGA connection. Audio output for the system will come from a series of in-ceiling speakers.

The most challenging aspect of designing the system, according to Mr. Pray is determining the appropriate level of student interaction for the system. The system must be robust, yet secure enough to handle a group of users with a wide range of technical needs and competence. Mr. Pray stated that while he and the system designers are working diligently to meet all these needs, there will inevitably be some fine-tuning involved.

Chris Whitman is a junior in the College of Communication, majoring in theatre with an emphasis on the technical aspects of theatre. Chris can usually be found in the scene shop of the Theatre or the Wakerly Media Center. In his yet-to-be identified spare time Chris enjoys photography, doing and seeing more theatre, hiking and travel.

2 Responses to “Interactive Technology in the New Student Lounge”

  1. 1 jordyntnevers October 27, 2010 at 4:49 am

    All that sounds very great. Technical, but nonetheless, I’m excited. BUT… What’s up in terms of comfy seating areas and computer access? Haha, I guess my needs are easily met! Oooo and is there going to be another printer? Johnston is severely lacking those!

  1. 1 Interactive Technology in the New Student Lounge (via Communicate: The Diederich College of Communication blog) « Jordyn's Journey Trackback on October 27, 2010 at 4:50 am

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