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Top ranking remote learning

Located in Cleveland, Ohio, Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) is the top-ranked private research university in Ohio and among the highest-ranking institutions nationally. Installation found out how Crestron has helped improve student enrichment

CWRU improves and enriches people’s lives through research that capitalises on the power of collaboration to dramatically engage students. The institution decided to react to Covid-19 and upgrade its active learning classrooms with Crestron AV and room control technology to provide a better experience for both students and faculty members.

“When Covid-19 hit, it became critical to enhance remote learning capabilities and in-class personal safety for when classes resume during the ‘new normal’,” explains Michael Thomas, Director, [U]Tech-MediaVision, at CWRU.

The transition to Crestron AV control systems was made gradually with roughly 20-25 rooms upgraded annually between 2011-2019. Upgrades were conducted during the summer and during breaks when a minimum number of classes were in session. Standardising with Crestron allowed the university to become more efficient in providing operational support due to the increased uniformity of technology installed across campus. In addition, support technicians are able to leverage the various remote diagnostic and control tools offered by Crestron.   

User experience

Hybrid, ‘touchless’ learning spaces combine online and in-classroom collaboration capabilities, and provide a consistent room setup and user experience across campus.

“Crestron helped make the remote transition as seamless as possible for everyone involved,” adds Thomas. “The installation took place over summer break, with minimal impact on the daily affairs on campus. We used DigitalMedia switchers, Crestron control systems and TSW touch screens across campus, and combined that with technology from various manufacturers such as Epson, JBL, Shure, Mersive, Wolfvision and others for added functionality to accommodate various teaching modalities.”

Crestron offered CWRU the ideal hybrid learning solutions
to deliver engaging, collaborative learning experiences, both inside classrooms and remotely, while also providing the ability to enhance personal safety inside.

AirMedia secure wireless presentation technology was installed to increase workflow and collaboration by turning underused spaces, such as lobbies and lounges, into productive meeting spaces. AirMedia offers the additional benefit of being a virtually touchless solution, eliminating the need to touch cables or other devices.

Tech reality

“AirMedia has given students and faculty the ability to bring their own personal devices to rooms and share content in
a collaborative, touchless way,” explains Sue Workman,
CWRU vice president of University technology and chief information officer.

“We continue to work closely with faculty to ensure we are providing a strong support structure as they transition into this new tech reality.”

DigitalMediaTM 8×8 and 16×16 matrix switchers were installed for ultra-fast distribution of all types of digital AV sources and control signals. Throughout the active learning spaces, faculty can now instantly push, share, and receive flawless video content to and from the pods around the classroom or even across campus.

Crestron control systems were implemented to unify disparate technologies in each building and enable different spaces to communicate and work together, thereby improving efficiency. TSW touch screens deployed across campus provide simple room control via a highly intuitive custom user interface. Workman and her team were able to create a setup that could be replicated campus-wide, thereby providing faculty, students, and staff with a consistent user experience
in every learning and meeting space.

Flexible learning

With hybrid, touchless learning solutions from Crestron in place, students have access to the best, most flexible learning experience possible as they return to class, while also benefiting from enhanced personal safety during this unprecedented time. Crestron will continue to roll out
and equip CWRU with innovative solutions that support
the fast-evolving higher-education landscape.

“Working with Crestron has enabled us to respond quickly and adapt to the evolving hybrid education landscape,” says Workman. “We were ready and prepared to offer advanced remote learning. The safety and wellbeing of our students and faculty will always remain our number one priority, and Crestron has helped make the remote transition as seamless as possible for everyone involved.

“We established a relationship with Crestron built on trust and experience. Creston has delivered technology that will continue to innovate the future of learning at CWRU.”