Welcome to Newcomers
Digital Audio Visual Facilities for Teaching and Learning
New Telephone System Starts Serving HKUST at Lee Shau Kee Campus
How Are We Improving our Service Desk to Serve You?
Computer Barn D - Opening Announcement
Virtual Computer Barn
Mobile App - Student Feedback Questionnaires
Wi-Fi and the New Cohorts
Virtualization and Cloud Computing
Internet Connectivity at HKUST
Tightening Up IT Security
Beware of Phishing via Fake Emails
Fall 2013
Digital Audio Visual Facilities for Teaching and Learning
by David Shiu, Head of IT Technical Services & AV Technology
Multiple Projection/Presentation Screens
New Control Panel
Touch Monitor & High Quality Visualizer

With the opening of the Lee Shau Kee (LSK) Campus, some new teaching venues, including lecture theaters and classrooms, become available. When these new venues were designed, colleagues did take a forward-looking approach.

As far as Audio Visual (AV) facilities are concerned, emerging technologies have been adopted to enrich the teaching and learning experience in class. Drawing on the experience obtained from the development of the LSK Campus, a few more teaching venues in the Main Campus (namely LT-D, LT-F, Room 2304 and Room 3304) have been upgraded during the past summer.

Let us take a look at the new AV facilities in these new or refurbished venues.

Multiple Projection/Presentation Screens

A key idea in the new design is the support of multiple projection or presentation screens. Over the years, colleagues have been noting us an emerging need of showing more than one type of contents at the same time during class. For example, they would like to show a PowerPoint presentation that highlights the main points, while at the same time, show a live web page related to the topic or their own hand-written notes to further illustrate the various concepts behind. In response to this need, we have introduced multiple projectors at the bigger venues. Lecture theatres are equipped with three projectors while bigger classrooms with two.

Digital High Definition Video

With the introduction of digital TV broadcast in Hong Kong since 2007, High Definition (HD) video has become a common standard. While the consumer would expect better quality in video content nowadays, the computer industry has responded by migrating toward the new digital video standard a few years ago. An observable evidence is that it is increasingly difficult to buy a new notebook computer with the old traditional analog video interface (i.e. the VGA). Moreover, a large proportion of computer display monitors available on the market are already supporting HD resolution. These changes have prompted us to adopt HD video projections in our new or refurbished teaching venues.

New Lectern and Control Panel

With multiple projectors supporting a whole array of audio and video input sources, the complexity of the AV setup has inevitably increased. We understand that an easy-to-use user interface for controlling the entire AV setup must be in place. We have adopted a completely new design for the control panel that commands the entire AV setup (in certain cases the venue lighting and electric curtains as well). All controls can be done on the touch-based control panel installed on top of the new lectern. It allows our teaching colleagues to easily select and display the desired contents for projection on different screens, and also control the settings for sound, lighting, curtains, etc. where applicable.

On-Sreen Annotation of PowerPoint Presentation

During a presentation, there is often a need to annotate on top of the presentation slides. This can now be done easily with the LCD touch-based display monitor of the lectern PC. Together with the Pen and Highlight features of PowerPoint, it is easy to do a good-quality on-screen annotation on the PowerPoint slides.

More on Writing - High Quality Visualizer

Very often, colleagues would like to write during their presentation. Besides writing on the whiteboard, which may be difficult to read at a distance, we have introduced a high quality visualizer device for capturing high-resolution images, including handwritings.  The visualizer can be turned on easily by lifting its arm. With high-quality lens, the device is capable of showing magnified images of your notes, any printed contents such as today’s headlines, or any real objects. This could help your presentation or illustration in ways that you might not have imagined before.

HDMI Interface for Notebook Display Connection

Some colleagues prefer to do their presentation with their own notebook computers. In the new teaching venues, apart from supporting the traditional analog AV interfaces (i.e. VGA, 3.5mm audio), users can also use the digital HDMI interface that carries both high definition video as well as audio signal.

Blu-ray Disc Player

The new teaching venues are equipped with a Blu-ray disc player that supports Blu-ray, DVD, VCD, SACD and CD media. Most operations of the disc player (e.g. Play, Stop, Skip Forward, Skip Backward, etc) can be done using the touch-based control panel on the lectern.

Wire-Free Presentation with iPad

Last but not least, as iPads are getting more common, colleagues who use iPad for teaching may welcome the implementation of a wire-free video connection (i.e. AirPlay) such that they can walk around freely during the presentation.  We have added an Apple TV device for this purpose. To use the Apple TV, the user needs to connect the iPad to a dedicated Wi-Fi connection in the particular venue. Once connected to the venue specific Wi-Fi, you can turn on Apple TV mirroring on your iPad and select "Apple TV" for the corresponding projector using the control panel.

The Way Forward

Plans are under way to revamp the remaining teaching venues with similar digital AV facilities. A number of briefing sessions about these new facilities were conducted in the past few weeks and we have received many positive feedbacks and suggestions. Please feel free to drop us a line to share your thoughts or experience.