Blinn College: Delivering An Inclusive Learning Experience With MXA710 Linear Array Microphones
Like many learning institutions, Blinn College had to quickly adjust how its students studied during the Covid-19 pandemic. A hybrid learning model was the only way to ensure all students had the opportunity to access classes either from home or in the classroom. This required adding video conferencing systems to more than 250 classrooms across the college’s five campuses.
The Blinn College District is a public community college in Brenham, Texas, with additional campuses located in Bryan, Schulenburg and Sealy. It offers academic transfer (to universities), workforce training and continuing education classes for more than 18,000 students via on-campus and online learning courses.
Like many learning institutions, Blinn College had to quickly adjust how its students studied during the Covid-19 pandemic. A hybrid learning model was the only way to ensure all students had the opportunity to access classes either from home or in the classroom. This required adding video conferencing systems to more than 250 classrooms across the college’s five campuses. Further, this hybrid learning model had to offer students at home the same audio experience as those in the classroom.
As if enabling 250+ classrooms to reach any student at home wasn’t a big enough challenge, the new AV capabilities had to be up and running in just five weeks to be ready for the new fall semester. This challenging timeframe and project scope could only be met with a truly collaborative partnership between the college, the local AV system integrator Visionality, and Shure as the manufacturer of the AV solution.
Blinn College chose Shure’s MXA710 Linear Array Microphones as the standard across all 250+ rooms. These can be placed almost anywhere, and the college opted for ceiling-mounted systems suspended along the ceiling tile grids, offering unobtrusive audio coverage across entire rooms. MXA710 includes proprietary Shure IntelliMix® Digital Signal Processing (DSP), which is designed to optimize voice quality by reducing room noise and improving speech intelligibility. This makes it an ideal choice for ensuring students learning from home can capture every word.
The solution also featured Shure’s SystemOn audio asset management software, designed to simplify asset management. This system can be easily monitored and maintained, with controllers able to upgrade, check versions, check what’s live and what’s not live all from a central control point. The MXA710 was combined with Shure’s ANIUSB-MATRIX USB audio network interface, which provides easy connectivity over a single network cable. Seamless integration with AVer TR530 tracking cameras completed the solution.
In a project of this size, Shure’s commitment to meeting delivery schedules was critical. Further, Shure provided on-site training for Visionality and Blinn staff so they could quickly implement the solution. Shure’s technical team was on call around the clock for any installation queries, ensuring a flawless integration and deployment.
Blinn College prides itself on online courses that offer “a flexible, convenient, and affordable option.” With Shure’s solution implemented across all five campuses, the college can deliver an inclusive learning experience, whether students are joining from home via a collaboration platform or attending in-person. The SystemOn solution makes it a simple process for the college’s AV team to monitor and control system use, freeing up users to focus on the task of teaching and learning.
This installation showed just what could be accomplished with the right teamwork, project management and, of course, technology. The pace of the installation could only be achieved by tremendous effort and teamwork between the Visionality crew and Blinn College staff. Blinn and Visionality both had a positive, can-do attitude, which made the teamwork seamless. While technology issues could have caused delays, the Shure technology proved to be both reliable and could be executed quickly. The immediate response from the college users regarding the speed of implementation and the quality of the audio was ‘high fives’ all around.
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