Audiologic and Probrand deliver for Arden University
Friday, 28 May 2021
arden
UK - Pro audio solutions provider Audiologic is working alongside Probrand to deliver a remote learning solution for Arden University.
Arden University is a higher education institution with approximately 10,000 students. It focuses on providing access to flexible learning for ambitious students of all ages around the world and provides a mixture of distance (online) and on-campus teaching services at five UK sites and one in Berlin.
Arden has expanded its learning opportunities from an exclusively distance-learning model to a blended online and on-site model in 2017, but shortly after the pandemic struck in March, the team realised that it would require a different technical solution.
The University wanted to continue its on-campus learning service when classes restarted in September 2020. Rob Palfreman, IT director at Arden, explains: "We were committed to providing a high-quality learning experience to all students whether they were on-campus or attending remotely.”
Running separate classroom and online sessions would segregate students, his team reasoned, and would also place more pressure on lecturers who would have to teach the same session twice. Instead, the IT team resolved to make on-campus lecturer-led sessions available both on and off campus. To maintain the level of quality that Arden students were used to, the experience for remote students had to be as seamless as possible. Meanwhile, lecturers focusing on delivering an engaging learning experience would not have the time to configure audio-visual equipment.
The equipment needed to be set up in 70 rooms stretching from Manchester to Berlin for the start of the September term. Following a successful trial and the setup of a concept classroom, the team was given the green light to begin the installation in mid-August.
Arden had worked with Probrand before and the company helped design the perfect in-room setup for Arden and specifically with Audiologic to deliver the audio solution. The video component comprised a 4K camera supporting three preset perspectives. A lecturer could focus the camera on themselves, widen the angle to take in the whole class, or switch to a student-centric view for discussions. The camera was powerful enough to resolve text on an A4 sheet at 5m. For audio, Probrand worked with Audiologic to demonstrate a ceiling mounted linear array microphone from Shure.
Installation had to happen quickly given Arden's tight schedule. Probrand technicians had to position the equipment differently in each classroom to provide an immersive experience. This involved surveying each room before installation, including those at the site in Berlin. The company employed four teams of technicians working in parallel to get the job done.
“Given the circumstances of the pandemic, there were time constraints and pressures on the supply chain. We worked closely with our supplier Shure to pull out all the stops to deliver the project on time,” says Simon Jones, business manager at Audiologic.
"Probrand stepped in and shared the risk by ordering equipment, even though it hadn't been officially signed off, so that we could keep on track," adds Palfreman.
The result was fantastic, Palfreman continues; Probrand navigated the tight installation deadlines to deliver a system that went live with no technical issues at all. "The feedback we've had has been nothing but positive. Including our academic staff, who see it as a great tool in continuing our Your Degree Your Way initiative."
“Probrand, Audiologic and Arden were in this together," he concludes. "We shared the same goals. That contributed to our success."

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