University at Buffalo Creates Engaging Learning Environments Using LED Displays

As one of the largest and most comprehensive universities in New York state, the University at Buffalo is a premier educational institution. The flagship university of the SUNY system, this research-intensive university hosts a wide variety of sought-after programs for its 32,000 students, including Medicine, Pharmacy, and Law. With an esteemed reputation in both academic and student life offerings, the university’s standard for quality is quite high.

When the campus needed to enhance its high-level classroom and Campus Dining display technology, the University at Buffalo chose the Digital Projection Radiance LED to create highly effective and engaging learning environments. Requiring an innovative AV specialist for the Radiance LED installation, the university reached out to Audio-Video Corporation, headquartered in Albany, NY.

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Creating more innovative ways of instruction

Audio-Video Corporation was approached by the university with a request to update the display technology being used in large lecture halls. After discussion and demonstrations of direct-view LED technology, the decision was made to deploy the technology in the Natural Sciences Complex phase one renovation.

Housing some of the largest lecture halls on campus, and much of the core undergraduate STEM classes, the Natural Sciences Complex is an important part of the university. The two largest spaces in the complex, NSC 201 and NSC 225, have seating for upwards of 350 individuals. With such a large space, the university needed a visually impactful solution that allowed the students to have a clear view of the instructional materials from every location.

Chris Clune, director of IT customer service, explains, “We wanted to create a more innovative way of instruction. Chalkboards and dry-erase boards were a big factor to how our faculty liked to teach so we needed a way to incorporate them into some of the more modern aspects of instruction.” Brice Bible, UB’s vice president and chief information officer, echoes this sentiment in saying, “We also wanted to create a learning experience in which site lines were not an issue and that could easily be synchronous with our distance learning initiatives.”

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‘A highly visible front door to the campus’

As part of this project, the nearby One World Café also needed an engaging display solution. Integrating a visual messaging system that delivered pertinent student information was high on the university’s priority list. Designed with the vision of creating a highly visible “front door” to the campus, this active student hub is a central point for meeting and studying, along with a rich tapestry of international food options.

The new 16 feet by 9 feet display at One World Café has become very popular for all visitors. Set in an open space, the LED wall displays important announcements to the students with top-quality visuals for university programs, sports games, special events, and messages from the president.

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Incredible clarity and color on a massive scale

When all was finished, the staff, faculty and students were enamored with the new Radiance LED VX Series displays. The massive 32 feet by 9 feet central display in NSC 225 showcases course content in amazing detail from every seat in the lecture hall. Complementing this space, the 28 feet by 8 feet display in NSC 201 displays live, in-class notes from the professor and supplementary sources with incredible clarity and vibrant colors. Complete with student microphone installations, both have the ability to show dual content sources and create an environment that allows a constant focus on student success.

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Mixing the old school with the new

Bible describes the new setup by saying, “The new displays really allow us to make the most effective use of our instructional technology resources. These new instructional design capabilities have provided a really effective tool for faculty.” Clune agrees, stating,

“These new spaces are truly dynamic learning environments, complete with the ability to display document cameras, PowerPoints, content sharing from personal devices, etc. With the faculty’s chalkboard content on the screen, the clarity makes it as if a student in the back row were at the front of the class. Thanks to the Radiance LED walls; we’ve mixed the old school with the new.”

The rooms’ large displays allow remote students to feel more integrated into the in-person class. Remote students are also more easily seen by students in the room. Microphones placed at the tabletop allow for in-person students to be clearly heard by the remote audience.

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Showpiece installations for showcasing quality

The University at Buffalo digital projection video walls will be featured in a presentation at the Annual Consortium of College and University Media Centers in October 2022 in Orlando, FL. The presentation will focus on how the video walls are more than simply advanced technology; they are an instructional technology tool, improving on the standard projection technology in a lecture hall.

Bible describes the new Radiance LED displays’ effect in saying, “These displays are showpiece installations for the university and are a key stop for prospective student tours. The reaction from those prospective students and parents is always ‘Wow – that is awesome!’. It’s really great to be able to showcase the quality education we offer here at the University at Buffalo in front of these impressive video walls.”

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