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Mesa Community College Revamps Classroom Audio for Remote Learning

Arizona's Mesa Community College is renovating its classroom audio systems with a variety of solutions from conferencing, collaboration, and streaming technology provider ClearOne. The goal: to "enhance the flexibility and quality of remote learning experiences" for the institution's 20,000 students, according to a news announcement.

COVID-era shutdowns and funding provided both inspiration and opportunity for MCC to evaluate its existing classroom technologies and invest in a revamp, according to David Kollar, tech support specialist for Tech Services Media at the college. "As schools across the country searched for ways to deliver educational instruction to remote students, we had a strong sense that classroom technology had shifted from being a special feature to a basic requirement. Our team in the Media Department recognized that temporary school closures presented an opportunity to transform classrooms with new systems that deliver superior quality audio and video for remote learning," he recalled. "Based on colleagues' prior positive experiences with ClearOne audio and video products, we tested and eventually selected multiple ClearOne audio solutions to provide reliable, cost-effective audio capture and guarantee every remote learner can hear each word spoken in the classroom with outstanding clarity."

The project began in the spring of 2020 with a test of ClearOne's Collaborate Vera Pro CT beamforming in-ceiling microphone and Converge Huddle DSP mixer. After a positive response from college staff, MCC purchased 28 Huddle mixers to upgrade some of its existing room systems. By May 2023, the college plans to roll out ClearOne's Versa Pro CT solution in 200 rooms and the company's enterprise-grade Converge Pro 2 DSP solution in eight larger lecture halls. All told, about two-thirds of existing classrooms will benefit from the rollout.

ClearOne provided training for both technical and teaching staff to help optimize use of the new audio gear.

"With these investments in classroom technologies and the ability to support remote learners, Mesa Community College has positioned itself to be a leader in higher ed for years to come," commented ClearOne representative Jason Wiley. "Students of all disciplines can now enjoy crystal clear lectures and lessons wherever they choose, eliminating barriers for non-traditional students and enabling greater access to life-changing education."

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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