Illinois State University, located in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois, is the state’s first public university. Founded in 1857, the school boasts an enrollment of approximately 18,000 undergraduate and 2,300 graduate students. According to its mission statement, the University is committed to fostering a small-college atmosphere with large-university opportunities. It strives to promote the highest academic standards, while creating the most supportive and productive community possible. The University employs 3,560 people, including 1,224 departmental faculty.
Illinois State University has received numerous awards for its academic achievements as well as its campus life. It was named 78th in U.S News & WorldReports’ 2017 America’s best public national universities, based on academic quality and excellence. College Factual ranked the University the 22nd best college for the money, out of 1,200 schools, and included it among the country’s best universities for veterans. Illinois State University is also listed among the best schools for military by Military Advanced Education & Transition and Victory Media’s Military Friendly Schools. Bloomington-Normal regularly ranks in the top 50 college towns in America.
Illinois University wanted to find a digital A/V solution for its classrooms that would allow faculty to easily switch between different video sources in 320 classrooms. The University had added more technical systems in its classrooms beginning in 2009, but system incident rates increased, rather than decreased. Faculty had trouble using the systems. The University wanted to switch all of the classrooms to digital, but it wanted to ensure that the systems were easy to use, preventing even higher incident rates.
The Kramer custom integrator recommended the Kramer VP-728 9–Input ProScale® Presentation Scaler/Switcher, VP-730 Presentation Switcher/Scaler, and VP-773A 8–Input HDMI & HDBaseT ProScale Presentation Switcher/Scaler with 2K support and audio power amplifier. By installing one of these units in each of the classrooms, Illinois State was able to convert all 320 classrooms to digital capabilities with easy-to-use interfaces.
Kramer challenges were to convert all 320 rooms with the appropriate scaler/switcher, so that using the equipment would be seamless for the faculty, no matter where they were teaching.
The Kramer switchers have allowed the A/V specialists at Illinois State University to provide faculty with a standard set up and list of equipment for each classroom. “[Faculty] has the exact same set up [in each room] where they can go from room to room and know what’s going to be there, such as a computer, document camera and the like, and Kramer has the switching core. We put a standard user interface in and they know that if they press ‘computer’, the magic happens and the computer shows up on their projector, and they don’t have to think about it,” says Doug Smith, director, learning spaces and audio/visual technologies at Illinois State University.
While the number of rooms with technology has increased significantly since 2009, Smith says the incident rate has plummeted. “As we ramped up our responsibilities, the number of times we had to go in and revisit rooms just kept dropping,” says Smith. “The impact has been staggering.”
In addition, he says the Kramer solution has saved the University money. “The product is rock-solid, the [Kramer] support is rock-solid and [the solution] saves me money every time I turn around,” says Smith.