Now in year two of the deployment roadmap, the ViewSonic CDE7060T is installed in classrooms across the campus. According to Franklin, it’s been an ideal replacement for their projector installations.
"The CDE7060T gave us the ability to put just a panel with PC module in a room and it was enough; we didn’t have to do anything extra to equip the instructors," he said. "With this 70-inch IFP, the professors can have the same type of experience they had before, plus the added ability to use the interactive capability – with none of the problems of projection."
The benefits of this new interactive technology have inspired further exploration into how to exploit its advantages, including the addition of 3-D modeling software that lets professors and students display and manipulate lifelike images on screen.
The university is also in the early stages of plans to deploy Solstice collaborative software to maximize the interactive potential of the CDE7060T.
"In my opinion, Solstice coupled with the interactive panel is the pinnacle of a collaborative teaching space," said Franklin, who selected Solstice after assessing several wireless collaborative solutions, all of which had notable disadvantages.
"With the competitors’ product there was always an issue we would run into – the streaming was poor; or it offered only PowerPoint display, not video or audio; or the streaming was good but the number of simultaneous connections was limited to four or six," said Franklin, also noting that many of the other software products prohibited simultaneous use of the Internet.
Solstice, said Franklin, solved all of this.
"With Solstice there’s no limit on connections, and it existed on network so we could use the WiFi card to access the Internet while connecting to Solstice," said Franklin. "And it does a pretty good job of streaming video, too."
In addition, the team liked that the Solstice wireless solution was completely device agnostic, enabling students and instructors to use their preferred personal devices, as well as those provided by the university. What’s more, Franklin noted, Solstice does more than just facilitate content sharing.
"One of the things we really liked with Solstice that we didn’t see with others is the collaborative component. With Solstice you can gather documents from a collaborative audience then split them up, arrange them, work on them. This allows students to engage with each other in an interactive space with the ViewSonic panel as a central focal point the information, and students can interact on it using their own devices."
Solstice (along with the ViewSonic CDE7060T) is scheduled for installation in one of the university’s living-learning communities, an interactive space where students come together to work, and a faculty R & D environment. Feedback, said Franklin, has been highly positive.
Similarly, Franklin said he’s had nothing but positive experiences working with ViewSonic.
"We primarily work through a third party – PCS in Knoxville, but even though we’re not buying directly there’s never been a time I didn’t have a direct line of communication with ViewSonic. They’ve been there to help whenever we’ve had a question, and they’ve been very good about supporting us and doing everything possible to make our rollout successful."