Molloy College is a well-respected, private, Long Island college that provides a value-centered, multi-dimensional liberal arts education. Located less than an hour from Manhattan, Molloy has approximately 4,500 undergraduate and graduate students. According to Molloy’s President, Dr. Drew Bogner, the college’s enrollment has increased by 80% over the last ten years, and in an effort to meet the demand for new teaching and learning spaces, the college has funded several new updates and construction initiatives.
One of the most recently finished projects is the Barbara H. Hagan Center for Nursing, a new state-of-the-art academic building set on Molloy’s Rockville Centre campus. This sustainably designed building provides consolidated space for the school’s nursing division, along with additional classroom and meeting areas. The new structure will include specially designed nursing laboratories, a telepresence room, a computer laboratory, simulation rooms and a healing garden.
Although originally engineered and designed by others, the specific technology needs for the project needed to be better understood, addressed and integrated into the design to maximize the audio visual aspects of the project. To spearhead this part of the project and equipment design and specifications, Advance Sound Company, a 45 year old, Long Island based AV Integration firm, was selected and added to the core team for the build out. Intended to be a high tech facility, the audio visual technology was considered an important part of the overall design and function for the center with a goal that it would enhance the learning experience. Among the products specified as part of the A/V scope, and key to the Nursing Center’s classrooms, were Clockaudio microphones.
Communicating to Learn
Learning happens when there is a clear ability for the professor and students to communicate. To do this, it is critical that within the classroom, the speaker’s voice is clearly picked up and the audio is distributed evenly throughout the classroom so that everyone can hear as well as participate in the question and answer segments of the lessons.
In addition, when responding to questions, it is key that the technology supports a way to channel multiple responses so that students are not talking over each other. To handle these challenges, Advance Sound Company specified Clockaudio microphone technologies to work in conjunction with a Crestron control system interface.
In the basement of the center, the classrooms were designed with tiered seating and desk surfaces to provide better visual access to the professor and to the various screens and other visual aids within the space. The seating and desks were permanently fixed and all of the desk surfaces included the installation and fixed mounting of Clockaudio’s C012E-RF microphones.
The C012E-RF is a through table cardioid boundary layer microphone with RF friendly technology that offers immunity from GSM (cellphones) and other sources of frequency interference. It is engineered in high quality brass, has a wide smooth response, cardioid polar pattern, balanced output, simple through-desk shock mounting, an inbuilt phantom power module and is low profile at surface level. At the base of the C012E-RF is a CH32 touch switch, status indication ring that enables both professors and students to instantly identify those that are speaking. This touch sensitive electronic switch was designed to be used in conjunction with all Clockaudio through table boundary layer microphones including the C012E-RF used in this project.
Working in tandem with a Crestron DM Matrix as the control system, both products work together seamlessly to add a layer of technology that allows students to enter into and remain in a que while waiting their turn to ask questions or provide commentary.
Wait Your Turn
To ensure the participation of each student and to provide the appropriate sound coverage, every student seat has their own C012E-RF/CH32 combo integrated directly into the desk surface in front of their seat with the exact location of each of these microphones clearly considered and worked into the design. Perhaps most interesting in the design is the interplay between the various technology components. When a student wishes to speak, he or she simply presses the status button on the CH32 which cues the audio processor to identify the speaker as “first in” and allows them to respond.
Once they are finished speaking, the cue is given to the next microphone that has opted in and allows the next student to speak. When a student is speaking the status light on the base of the microphone is green to signal “on”. This same action also signals a reset on the camera within the room and depending upon where the signal comes from, directs the camera to focus on the teacher, or the left or right side of the room to capture the student speaking. Other status indications include red to signal “on but waiting.”
Thomas DePace, Engineering Manager for Advance Sound Company, appreciates the characteristics of Clockaudio’s technologies. “In a space like this, there is just so much acoustic gain before you get feedback but by limiting the number of microphones on at one time, we were able to improve the gain in the space. The Clockaudio microphones perform excellently.”
He adds, “We have also specified for this client Clockaudio’s C007 microphones in the ceiling of the client’s multi-function spaces. Since these rooms have no set layout, it was important that we provided microphone technologies that were dynamic and moved with the space. Here again, Clockaudio helped us meet our client’s challenge to accommodate an ever-changing classroom.”
With a strong background of building collaborative learning environments and having previously worked with Molloy College, Advance Sound Company truly understood the challenges and needs of Molloy College’s new facility. Their innovative design supports the learning experience and provides the college’s nursing center with the technology to support their audio and visual needs for many years to come.
The project’s completion is timed with the start of their spring semester for January 2016 and the new state-of-the-art facility will enable Molloy’s Barbara H. Hagan Nursing Center to provide even greater educational opportunities to their students and, ultimately, to their student’s future patients.