University of Leicester

We recently completed a number of installations within the University of Leicester as part of an extensive refurbishment.

Founded as a memorial to those lost in the First World War, the University has been active since 1921 and today ranks among the top 1% of universities worldwide. With around 20,000 students currently in attendance, the University of Leicester is renowned for its contributions to space research, the discovery of DNA fingerprinting, and the recovery of the remains of King Richard III, among many other achievements.

Over the summer of 2016, the University carried out a full refurbishment of six of their lecture rooms, primarily within the Bennett Building. Although they slightly differed in their layouts, each room was similarly dated and in need of upgraded teaching equipment.

Working with the University's Estates department and AV specialists, along with the builders working on-site, Pacific sourced and implemented a modern and consistent AV solution throughout the refurbished lecture rooms. Old projectors, screens, lecterns, and whiteboards were stripped out ready for the installation of new equipment.

Of the six rooms, the four largest – including the Astley Clarke Lecture Theatre - received similar large-scale equipment to allow maximum visibility for larger classes. Two full-HD Sony projectors were installed - each projecting 16:9 images onto a flat teaching wall – and can be used to project one large image or two individual pictures, allowing for versatile teaching. These projectors are controlled via a touch-screen panel located on the main teaching lectern, which acts both as the lecturer's workstation and as an equipment cabinet housing a touch-screen PC with Blu-ray functionality and BYOD connections, as well as a borderless writing surface with top-mounted visualisers, allowing freehand writing to be displayed via the projectors.

The touch panel provides full control over both projectors - either separately or as a pair - along with options to control audio levels, lighting, and blinds. Voice amplification is provided through a boundary microphone within the lectern and two wireless digital lapel microphones, with voice audio delivered through four wall-mounted speakers. Media audio is directed through two powerful speakers mounted on the teaching wall.

Meanwhile, the two smaller rooms utilise a single wall-mounted 80” LED screen controlled through a similar lectern housing the same range of hardware and connectivity as the larger rooms. One of the two rooms also boasts three 43” repeater screens, which can mirror the image on the main screen or be used independently. Media audio is provided through wall speakers mounted either side of the LED screen.

Each room is also outfitted for lecture capture, with the larger rooms using ceiling-mounted SDI PTZ cameras and each smaller room equipped with a USB webcam connected to the lectern. Network cameras also allow remote monitoring by on-site AV support teams. Finally, each room is equipped with a hard of hearing loop – and, of course, traditional whiteboard writing surfaces.

EducationTom Sinclair