In Southern California, the University of California, Riverside (UC Riverside) is a major research institution and ranked among the top 15 best public universities in the nation. On UC Riverside’s 1,200-acre campus, the Exploration Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning (XCITE) provides a hub for faculty interaction, student engagement and campus collaboration. The XCITE program empowers UC Riverside’s educators to engage with cutting-edge tools and techniques to enhance learning in traditional and non-traditional classrooms. As part of this mission, XCITE has partnered with UC Riverside Professor of Physics Dr. Bahram Mobasher and the university’s Information Technology Solutions research computing team to create the Classroom of the Future Exploration Center. The centerpiece of the new space—made possible by a grant from NASA—is a 24-footwide, 5-foot-high (6x2) Clarity® Matrix® G3 LCD Video Wall System. Installed by Integrated Media Technologies, the video wall features ThinkHub interactive technology from visual collaboration software company T1V. Integrated Media Technologies, Inc. (IMT), AV systems integrator worked closely with UCR to fully understand and vet their applications, requirements, and budget. Once the decision had been made to move forward with the Planar and T1V solution, IMT coordinated and supported the complete implementation of the project.
Venturing into Data Visualization
With a total resolution of up to 11,520 x 2,160 pixels, the Clarity Matrix installation is known on campus as the High Visualization Wall and is used to support work involving big data, high-end computing and visualization. “We wanted to build something that generations of students would benefit from,” said Dr. Mobasher. “And we realized that data visualization was the next step. We can display and study images that span from galaxies to the human brain. This is what gets students interested in science and engineering.” According to XCITE Director Richard Edwards, the 24-foot-wide video wall allows them to display data that doesn’t fit into a square box and provides a platform that both instructors and students can use to help understand very complex topics. “We think the High Visualization Wall is a model of what classrooms will look like in the year 2030.”
The Clarity Matrix video wall with ThinkHub visual collaboration software allows up to 25 touch inputs at once. The display can be configured into three work zones or full screen. “We can have multiple people annotating on the video wall at the same time,” said Israel Fletes, senior director, Academic Innovations at UC Riverside. “They can work together as a group, learn from each other and collaborate. It’s an endless platform.” Josh Hartman, assistant professor of teaching, Chemistry Department at UC Riverside, said his main role at the university is chemistry education, which includes finding new ways to engage and help students overcome the barriers to learning. With the flexibility of the video wall and the collaborative software, they can “seamlessly integrate applications and different instructional styles to further the students’ understanding and interest in subject matter,” Hartman said. “We can meet students with the methods that work best for them.”