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Learning Space Spotlight. Journal of Learning Spaces, 1(2), 2012
Learning Space Spotlight

Nursing Video Conference Room San Diego State University,


A dedicated space to serve students both on-campus as well as those in a rural community east of San Diego, and meet the needs of faculty and students in the nursing program while at the same time promoting collaboration and continuity of instruction.

panoramic view of classroom
Classroom panoramic view


Design: Campus architect – AVI Systems/Instructional Technology Services installation
Year built: 2008
Capacity: 150

Key Features

Collaborative seating; Video Conferencing; Wheelchair-friendly, height-adjustable Smart classroom Podium.


Integrated Extron/Crestron Control System; Push to talk microphones with camera tracking; Ceiling-mounted digital document camera; Mediasite system for classroom capture.


Engineering team of three from Instructional Technology Services.

Innovative features, uses

control room
Control room

active learning classroom
Active learning classroom

Academic nursing programs continue to be a highly sought after program of study for students within the state of California.  The consistent growth of the Nursing program at San Diego State University (SDSU) led department leaders to evaluate their current classrooms in order to try and meet the additional demand.  They determined that no dedicated space existed that would support instruction for large sections of nursing students on the main SDSU campus, while at the same time supporting students at SDSU’s campus in the Imperial Valley, located 120 miles east of San Diego.  This led to the construction of Adams Humanities (AH) 2108, a hi-tech nursing video-conference enabled classroom.

The 150-seat room is modeled after other Smart Classrooms on campus in order to provide faculty with a consistent feel for operation and instruction, but is also uniquely augmented to support distance education.  The main classroom podium contains an Extron 226 control surface, with confidence monitors and dual Apple Mac-Mini computer systems.  One Mini is configured for Mac OS, and the other runs Windows 7.  A cable cubby inside the control hatch contains cables for USB connectivity to the installed Mac Mini’s, as well as support for an external VGA device such as a laptop or iPad including connections for audio and internet.  Installed adjacent to the podium on the right is a height-adjustable table that has a whiteboard-integrated surface in support of a ceiling-mounted WolfVision document camera.  This camera allows the faculty to demonstrate three-dimensional objects or use the whiteboard surface, and in the case of nursing demonstrate medical equipment functionality.  All of this is displayed via two installed video-data projectors and screens at the front of the room.

But it is the room’s additional features that make it stand out for nursing instruction via video conference.  Located in an adjacent control room, a Crestron Touchpanel display drives a Tandberg 6000 videoconferencing unit, a Crestron Pro2 system, and a Biamp audio system that is uniquely integrated with the Extron control devices.  Push to talk microphones installed at every other seat in the room provide talkback capability for students to engage with their peers, and each press activates one of four installed Sony cameras that automatically track to each seating location.  Instructors can monitor their own content as well as see the far-end of the connection via two center-ceiling installed displays.  Students are able to see their peers on two large plasma displays, installed next to each projection screen.  To enable use of mobile computing devices that students may bring with them to class, A/C power outlets are provided at every other seat in the classroom.

To foster collaboration, all chairs are on wheels and the fixed tables are arranged so that two rows are on the same level, thereby enabling students to turn 180 degrees to interact with students sitting at tables in the rows behind or in front of them.

Research and Recognition

Tandberg highlighted the functionality of this collaborative learning space in a special profile as part of their series of Case Studies on U.S. Education


Rich Bakken
Coordinator, Learning Spaces
Instructional Technology Services
San Diego State University
(619) 594-2047

James Frazee
Instructional Technology Services
San Diego State University
(619) 594-2893


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ISSN: 21586195

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