LASER PROJECTION CONTRIBUTES TO THE LEARNING EXPERIENCE AT TILBURG UNIVERSITY
The improved projectors now in use at the university enhance the visual experience, bring an economic advantage due to savings on maintenance and offer an ecological benefit too, because they are more suitable for use in lecture theatres with natural light
How to create a cost efficient way of introducing projection within Higher Education that supports effective learning outcomes
Panasonic projectors are installed throughout the university to provide a high-quality projection of the lectures in order to increase the student's learning efficiency and to reduce the cost to the university
Laser projection allows Tilburg University to shine
Tilburg University aims to grow by strengthening its position as an outstanding specialist in scientific education. AV technology is really helping the university achieve this. The investment in laser projectors is increasing learning efficiency and cutting costs. Panasonic laser projectors already seem indispensable at Tilburg University (TiU). In the new building CUBE, Tilburg University integrated four PT-RZ21K projectors, 12 units of PT-RZ770 and six units of PT-RZ970. Professors and lecturers are now using these projectors exclusively. Meanwhile, the older projectors with lamps in the campus buildings are being gradually replaced. These 120 rooms will be equipped with Panasonic laser projectors, with 36 units of PT-RZ570 and four units of PT-RZ970 already in place.
Renovation with added value
This renovation goes beyond simply replacing the appliances, which was the original intention. The added value became clear once the potential of the new AV technology was understood better. The improved projectors now in use at the university enhance the visual experience, bring an economic advantage due to savings on maintenance and offer an ecological benefit too, because they are more suitable for use in lecture theatres with natural light. Finally, they allow innovation in education thanks to the combination of new AV technology with ICT. As a result, the course material can be presented in a more sophisticated way.
University teaching in Tilburg without the updated AV technology now seems unimaginable. Indeed, the technology is turning out to be crucial in achieving strategic objectives. The main reason for this is because it is helping to improve the experience of the course material. Thanks to laser projectors, video, infographics and images are no longer merely illustrative: they have become the norm in university teaching. Images are used to create a context which gives knowledge a value beyond just the informative. Such images allow professors and lecturers to inspire as well as inform.
Higher image quality
This is possible because the image quality of laser projectors is better than that of other projectors. This is not only because the projected images are sharper and more visible in large halls, but also because the distinctive multiscreen projection can combine images from different sources. Information can be communicated in a more varied, flexible and attractive manner. The gap between imagination and reality shrinks.
The result is that a learning environment develops in the lecture theatres in which students feel more involved in the material. Information, imagination and inspiration lead to insights that are less likely to be expressed with straightforward education. The result is greater student satisfaction, an area in which Tilburg University is and intends to remain at the forefront. TiU has now achieved the highest score for student satisfaction of any Dutch university for three consecutive years. The idea is that this outcome will also generate greater returns, such as more degrees and more students.
This innovative addition suits the University’s budget. The new projectors offer five economic benefits. Firstly, they require little maintenance, which means that they immediately save money on technical services. The second advantage is an increase in the rate of use of lecture theatres. Lecture theatres are hardly ever closed for maintenance. This is quite a change. In the past, lecture theatres were often inaccessible because lamps and other projector components needed replacing. Logistics bottlenecks are therefore a rare occurrence these days, and fewer alterations are required to the lecture timetable. The third economic advantage of the laser projectors is an increase in the net teaching time per lecture. Once the machine is turned on only six seconds are needed to become operational. With other projectors it could take up to a quarter of an hour before the appliance was ready for action. Laser projectors also allow buildings to be used flexibly. Thanks to the sharp images the information can be easily seen, even in a large room. Larger rooms are multi-purpose, because they can also be screened off and divided into several smaller rooms. The fifth benefit is the laser projectors’ reliability. They don’t break down, which increases the guarantee of continuity. This advantage increases as the role of AV extends across university education.
New teaching requirements
Despite all of this, these were not the main arguments for switching to advanced laser projectors. The demand for the innovative AV technology came from new teaching requirements. Lecture theatres and other classrooms must have access to natural light. This is tough to combine with projection, which tradionally works best in dim light and darkness. Panasonic laser projection, on the other hand, is daylight-proof, which meant that these laser projectors were the logical choice. TiU did not just want new appliances though. It realised that AV was outgrowing a pure support role. New generations of students experience image as a data medium that is at least as important as text. AV technology must therefore respond to the growing demand for visual education.
Importance of user-friendly appliances
The technological and educational modernisation of AV was not without risk. It was necessary for professors and lecturers to support the modern AV technology, and as this is a group that can be slow to get used to new technology, TiU insisted on the user-friendly aspect. With this in mind the AV department first set out to test ten Panasonic laser projectors. The university operates a single brand policy, which means that a single supplier is used for each department. A clear view of the benefits of Panasonic’s laser projectors was therefore essential before transferring to another AV partner.
During the test phase the laser projectors had no trouble in demonstrating their benefits. Almost unnoticed, the university’s education has been transformed. It now uses an AV technology based learning environment which inspires not only the students, but also the professors and lecturers.