March first was a significant and eventful day for UM-Dearborn. The new Engineering Lab Building (ELB) opened its doors for classes for the first time since it closed for renovations two years ago. As with everything, COVID-19 delayed the opening by nine months. With the re-opening of ELB, Dearborn ITS worked diligently to improve and innovate the classroom technology offered to campus.
Home to UM-Dearborn’s College of Engineering and Computer Science, the ELB is now the showcase building on campus. With the renovation, the building contains six active learning classrooms and two active learning computer labs. The active learning classrooms are equipped for distance learning and lecture capture. The active learning rooms contain eight televisions that allow for group work and for screen sharing to the rest of the room. All told, there are 22 instructional classrooms and labs in the building that all contain, at a minimum, the new campus audiovisual standard.
The building renovation also brought an opportunity for new and innovative technology equipment. There are over one hundred large screen televisions (65-inch plus) installed throughout the building’s classrooms and labs. Many of the instructional spaces have multiple large televisions to provide students with unobstructed views to help keep students engaged. The engine dynamometer and ballistics laboratories utilize network cameras and televisions in their control rooms to help monitor the spaces from multiple angles. Digital sign televisions are installed at major junctions to provide important campus messages, location-specific way-finding, and campus emergency alerting.
The hallmark of technology in the building is a 16’ x 9’ video wall in the building’s atrium. This new video wall consists of an array of 144 LED panels combined to produce a bright sharp image visible throughout the atrium. The resolution of the video wall is 3840×2160, better known as 4K. The video wall is part of the ELB informal presentation and event space supported by Dearborn ITS. The atrium space allows for a simple lecture style setup as well as a full production setup utilizing audio and video mixers and a studio quality camera for high-end events. The atrium is also equipped with connection points for press feeds and additional equipment that our campus video production staff can bring in for larger scale events.
Richard Durant and Robert Simpson of Dearborn ITS contributed to this article.