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Distance Learning Classroom Gets An Upgrade
December 1, 2006

The College of Engineering at Virginia Tech is proving how well it is prepared to respond to future challenges in providing advanced distance learning content over newly emerging distribution technologies.

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held recently for the new Randolph 100L interactive video conference room. The room is designed with maximum flexibility to meet the demands of today’s distance learning classrooms. This flexible design is coupled with the University’s upgraded infrastructure including enhanced video bridging capabilities and ease of access to multiple video conferencing protocols.

Classes will be delivered from the new classroom primarily to the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA) in support of its graduate education mission. Robert E. Lindberg, president and executive director of the NIA, said, “Virginia Tech’s leadership in adopting the latest distance learning technology, using multiple high resolution video channels, establishes a new standard for high-quality course delivery to and from NIA.” The NIA has upgraded its classrooms in Hampton, Va., to be compatible with Virginia Tech’s new technology, and is now encouraging its use with other NIA consortium universities.

The new H.323 video conference system provides enhanced instructional delivery by adding a data channel. The data channel allows for the presentation of high-resolution computer output and digital document cameras along with simultaneous viewing of the instructor.

Improved integration of the system is provided through an intuitive touch panel control. This touch panel provides simpler and more uniform operation of the video conferencing system. The touch panel control also incorporates the latest technologies including improvements in camera control, audio input, and video monitoring.

To complete the transformation, upgrades to the classroom include the installation of three VGA projectors and screens so students can easily view local and remote video as well as the detailed data and digital document camera.

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